Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Fire up the... Chevrolet Camaro Convertible

CHEESEBURGERS. Bottles of Budweiser. Episodes of Friends. Some American ideas, whether you love them or loathe them, just cross the Atlantic well.

Yet American cars, with the notable exception of Jeep, are the exception to the rule; for some reason we Brits just haven't taken to them to our bosom. Now it's the latest Chevrolet Camaro that's oversexed, overpaid and over here, but don't be too quick to dismiss the latest iteration of a Stateside icon.

Sure, the Camaro looks like something that should be in the Transformers movies - which, funnily enough, it is - but you can't deny it's a handsome son of a gun, blending the sculpted good looks of a Hollywood hunk with the bright colours, stripes and shiny bits of metal you'd expect in a Marvel comic. It's a just a shame the interior, which has leather everything and lots of toys to play with, looks a bit cheap by comparision.

Yet the biggest drawback about the Camaro is that in this country it's flummoxed by that other most American of institutions, the drive-thru, because you can only buy the convertible I tested and its coupe sibling in left hand drive. If you're frightened of driving ‘left hookers' on Her Majesty's highways and byways then don't be put off, because it's easy enough to master, but I still reckon it'll severely limit the big, bold Camaro's appeal with buyers over here.

Which is a pity, because Chevrolet have cracked setting up the previously all American Camaro for European tastes - while it's not BMW sharp it's fun to drive in a lazy, laid-back sort of way, the £40,000 pricetag makes it bit of a bargain for a convertible of its size, and because the 400bhp V8 can shut down its cylinders to save fuel it's even vaguely economical to run.

The Camaro is good looking, practical, oodles of fun to potter around in, and - thanks to it being a V8 muscle car - cast iron cool to boot.

Get that steering wheel switched over, Chevrolet, and I reckon you've got a hit on your hands.

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