By on January 24, 2014

camaro-egg-door

My rental car got egged! This was a new one for me. It all began when …

I had to fly out for a one-day meeting in beautiful Silicon Valley, Northern California. I arrived the day before my meeting and showed up at Hertz, where I’d asked for a generic mid-sized car and they gave me… (drum roll please) a Jeep Liberty. Yawn. I wandered back to the “Gold Choice” area to see if I could do any better, but nothing seemed worth the bother. But right next door was the “Upgrades” section. As I stood there, staring at the Mercedes and Porsche, a helpful saleswoman came up and started fast talking me. Business or pleasure? Want something really fun? How about the Cayman? Yours for only an extra $300/day. Too much money? How about this Mercedes SLK convertible? Nice supercharger. Only an extra $150/day, such a deal!

What I really wanted was a Mazda MX-5 Miata. I was only staying one night, so I had just one small bag. The mid-60′s weather screamed convertible, and I wasn’t going to be doing anything fancier than driving 20 miles to my meeting. I ultimately zeroed in on this convertible Camaro. For $50/day extra, above the $100/day price I was already paying, it seemed reasonable. Something kinda fun, even if it is the base V6. Sure, let’s do it.

camaro-refuel

I’ve driven a bunch of GM rentals over the past few months, so I’m starting to know my way around the latest in GM parts bin engineering. The driver information screen in the gauge cluster shows up on all sorts of GM cars. The turn signal indicator has a twist knob and press button that lets you scroll through all the viewing options. (Grumble: a Buick Verano I rented last month was exactly the same as this Camaro, but a Chevy Equinox I also had last month lacked the turn-signal twist/press and instead had corresponding buttons non-intuitively located in the center stack below the cabin air controls.)

camaro-instruments+wheel

GM’s Bluetooth these days is relatively straightforward to set up and does all the latest A2DP music and album art. Watch out, though, if you’re on a limited data plan. The Camaro told my phone to start playing music, which then started chewing up my data plan via Pandora, even though I was listening to NPR on the FM radio. Still, GM specified decent speakers. For cars at this price point, it’s safely above average in sound quality.

camaro-radio

I mostly drove with the top down, and I’m pleased to report that the Camaro got something decidedly right: cabin heating. There’s a vent above your left knee that you can point anywhere, keeping you comfortable even at freeway speeds. This is far better than many of the older Mustang convertibles I’ve rented over the years, which would happily cook your feet without doing anything for the rest of you.

camaro-left-vent

I had few opportunities to floor it or otherwise exercise the engine, but I’d say the performance is about what you’d expect from the ubiquitous two-liter turbo fours that are all the rage in the European cars, and the Camaro’s engine runs on regular gas. Overall mileage in mostly freeway, relatively sedate driving, was an indicated 25.4mpg. In comparable driving with a modern turbo two liter, I’d expect more like 27-29mpg.

camaro-mileage

Too many GM cars these days still have tiny buttons that are hard to press, but the Camaro has two big, chunky knobs for cabin air and temperature. Nice! The buttons next to the screen have no tactile feel to them, though, so you can’t press them easily without looking. Bummer.

camaro-center-stack

As you can see, the trunk space, particularly with the top down, is limited. I can somehow hear Jeremy Clarkson intoning, “See this? It has room… for a bag.”

camaro-trunk

But what about that egging? Well, I spent the night at a friend’s house in Los Altos, a nice part of town. The Camaro was parked on the street. In the morning? Eggs. Probably half a dozen of them. Honestly, I’m a bit baffled. Does this represent a protest against the overweight excesses of GM engineering? Would they have left a Prius alone? Did I merely park in somebody’s favorite spot? Are we talking about Los Altos gang activity? Does Justin Bieber live around here? Were the eggs free range, and what’s the effect of high Omega-3 fatty acids on the clearcoat? Did they also stuff my tailpipe with Lululemon yoga pants and quinoa granola?

camaro-front

Parking on the mean streets of Los Altos.

The last thing I wanted was to have Hertz charge me a mint to clean up after Los Cholos Altos, so I took the Camaro promptly to a nearby car wash. To a man, everybody there was grossed out. Clearly, they’d dealt with this sort of sticky muck before. It ultimately took two passes through the machine (including a dude with a high pressure spray wand), but all the egg residue came off. When I returned it, I felt obligated to tell Hertz what happened. The lady noted that the car had an eggy smell (I didn’t smell a thing), but charged me the expected price and I was off for my flight home.

camaro-car-wash

Overall, you could buy a Camaro like this (as best I can tell, it’s a 1LT convertible plus the automatic transmission, although I think the frameless rear view mirror is an upgrade item) for $32,735 (MSRP). A base-level MX-5 Miata is $26,775. Curiously, if you take the top-of-the-line Miata (folding hard top “GT”) and add the “premium package”, you also end up facing an MSRP of exactly the same $32,735. If you need the token back seats, the Camaro is your winner. It’s also apparently a little bit faster in 0-60, but if you care about that, you’re spending the extra bucks and buying the V8 (or souping up a Miata, or buying a used S2000, or…). On the other hand, the Miata gets better mileage, is easier to maneuver and park in tight quarters, and has its own SCCA racing series if you’re so inclined. If Hertz gave me the choice, rental Miata vs. rental Camaro, at the same price, I’d have the Miata every time. If I were shopping for a toy car, along with the fantasy garage large enough to hold it and our daily drivers (sigh), then I’d almost certainly buy the Miata as well.

camaro-rear-mirror

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76 Comments on “Rental Car Review: 2014 Camaro Convertible...”


  • avatar
    mikey

    In certain light conditions, you would swear that the rear 1/4 and the door, were different colors.

    Mine has same problem.. I have a buddy at the Oshawa paint shop. GM has known about it since day one. It is an optical illusion, but it still doesn’t thrill me. As matter of fact, it sorta pi$$es me off.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    A Mustang fan no doubt

  • avatar
    mikey

    Does anybody really cross shop, a Miata vs a Camaro?

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      It seemed a little strange to me, too, but if you start with the requirements of “convertible” and “under $35K,” I guess you do. There’s only about 8 entries in the segment.

    • 0 avatar
      jocularity

      With a budget of $20k, I cross-shopped a newer Miata, an older c5 corvette, and an older Boxster. I went with the Miata hardtop and have really enjoyed its performance and personality. I decided against the corvette because it just wasn’t as quick handling. I decided against the Boxster due to maintenance expense concerns. So, I could imagine someone cross-shopping a Miata against a Camaro.

    • 0 avatar
      Kinosh

      My boss cross-shopped a Miata, Mustang, and Camaro.

      They’re out there.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      I sold my ’00 Camaro SS recently and bought an NC2 Miata.

    • 0 avatar
      TL

      Yes. When requirement #1 is convertible things can get odd because there just aren’t that many convertible models to choose from under $35k.

  • avatar
    brettc

    I think the only explanation is that the Biebs had too much sizzurp and ended up in Los Altos. He apparently always carries a dozen eggs because you never know.

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      Guys do us a favour, and don’t deport him just yet. At minus 20 an egg freezes like concrete.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        You want us to modify our cherished guarantee of a speedy trial? Not to worry – it doesn’t apply to appeals, so you’ll see the Biebs back in Summer of 2016 at the earliest. Besides, as an ex-con on parole, he’ll be banned from possessing eggs, I think.

        BTW – an extension cord and a hair dryer on low/medium will soften the egg enough to wipe it off with a wet cloth without damaging the paint/clear coat.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          “BTW – an extension cord and a hair dryer on low/medium will soften the egg enough to wipe it off with a wet cloth without damaging the paint/clear coat.”

          What a coincidence, that’s exactly how “The Biebs” gets his hair all poofy and standing straight up

          • 0 avatar
            sgeffe

            Hmmm..extension cord and hair dryer. I expected something ELSE which would put him out of ALL of our misery!

            Bwahahahaha!

  • avatar
    Andy

    I know it’s not 1992 any more, but $32K for a V6 with cloth seems a bit rich. That said, everyone raved about the 3.6 in the CTS when it was new. I’m sure it’s perfectly adequate. But it seems foolish not to get a coupe with the V8 and manual for about the same price.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I’m not surprised, convertibles were always $7-10,000 more than the base models (well at least the nicer ones).

    • 0 avatar
      bunkie

      Back in October I rented the exact same Camaro (right down to the color) in Long Beach for a weekend wedding.

      I have no doubt that it’s worth every penny. I loved the thing. The 3.6 is plenty of motor and it had this wonderful solid quality that I really liked. I also found the HVAC to be really great especially when the sun went down.

      It’s more practical than a Miata as the back seats can carry what won’t fit in the trunk.

      the best moment was in the middle lane of the 405 when a new Jag XF came up next to me and I got a thumbs-up from its driver followed by a symphony of auto-sound porn when he hit the gas and rocketed away.

    • 0 avatar
      jacob_coulter

      I agree though, $32k for a base V6 Camaro convertible sounds high to me as well, but it is a different market. I wonder how much more it really costs manufacturers to make a convertible or if it’s mostly just markup.

      Inflation sucks, you just sort of assume a base V6 Camaro convertible would be around $20k because that’s what they were in the 90′s.

  • avatar
    Avatar77

    Why exactly did the author feel obligated to tell Hertz that something happened that caused no permanent damage and he (at his own expense) washed off? Excessive honestly gets you nowhere with the likes of a rental car company. And I bet those two runs through the carwash left the Camaro cleaner than it had been since it arrived at Hertz, at least based on my experiences with rental car “cleanliness.”

    As for the car itself, I cannot stand the GM corporate steering wheel, particularly it’s cheap-o buttons.

    • 0 avatar

      The author wanted to write a TTAC article, with his real name, so there’s no point in hiding. If anything, this article demonstrates my commitment to not trying to screw Hertz.

      • 0 avatar
        redmondjp

        So let me be the first to thank you for your honesty! This is necessary for a civilized, free society.

        Just the other day I was in the parts store where they forgot to charge me for two spark plugs (they scanned the box of four but missed the two singles). I realized the error as I was about to leave the parking lot, and all of the employees’ jaws dropped when I came back in and said that they forgot to charge me for two spark plugs.

      • 0 avatar
        Detroit-Iron

        Having gotten away with some shenanigans in my youth I tend to return them in better shape than I received them now. That being said, my attitude towards disclosure with rental companies is the same as the police, anything you say can and will be used against you.

      • 0 avatar
        rpn453

        The last rental car I had (a Focus), I removed a rear tail light to get to a rock that was wedged under the rear bumper cover at the side, causing it to bulge there. I have no idea how a rock could even get in there. I also topped up the oil and coolant. But I’d never tell the rental car company that, and risk being blamed for something!

  • avatar
    NotFast

    I hope the owners manual doesn’t state “No automatic carwashes” for the Camaro, because you just broke that rule. Although I guess for a rental…. who cares.

  • avatar
    mjz

    Dried egg is a bitch to remove from a car’s finish. Been there, done that. Not fun.

  • avatar
    SC5door

    Were you completely out of fuel or is the gauge broken?

  • avatar
    E46M3_333

    Huge on the outside; tiny on the inside. High belt line with gun slit windows. Interior styling by Fisher Price. No thanks.
    .
    .

  • avatar
    thunderjet

    The rimless rear view mirror is the coolest thing. I wish more companies would do that.

    I’m still not a fan of this generation of Camaro. It’s just too big. Hopefully they shrink it down a bit for the next generation. I should note I own a 2012 Mustang V6 in grabber blue. I even think it’s too big. I haven’t seen the new Mustang in person yet but I hope it’s a bit smaller.

    • 0 avatar
      Wheeljack

      I actually think the rimless rear view mirrors look cheap and unfinished. My favorite mirror is the one in my ’06 Jeep Wrangler – compass/temp in the upper right corner and 2 map lights in the bottom.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      The new Mustang is a bit lower, a good bit wider and a tiny bit shorter.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      Just a nice big electrochromic mirror that I can see the entire width of the car without shifting in the seat, thanks..and none of those goofy-looking “smiley,” or “clown-faced” ones that look like someone’s mouth pressed up against a window! The review mirrors in Porsches are exhibit “A,” along with some other German makes.

      And please put a frame around the thing that I can grab — it looks like you’ll snap this one right off the post after a few adjustments!

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    So the GM V6 reminds you of a 4cyl turbo 4? I guess this bodes well for the new Mustang ecobost… :)

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I actually haven’t driven the 3.6 but everyone describes it as a “monster”. This gentlemen compares it to a high revving turbo four pot, which without heavy modification is nowhere near being a “monster”. So either the folks who say its a “monster” are out of touch or the author is showing some turbo love bias.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        I’m actually inclined to believe “bias”. I’ve sampled the 3.6 with all of the DI and VVT tricks in a 2012 W-body Impala with 6-speed. It was a fleet spec district vehicle.

        Here’s my take. Strong and torque-y. The 6-speed is a gem and holds the engine below 2000 rpm at 80-85mph. Even though the 3.6 revs high and has high rpm peak torque and horsepower the trans makes the power delivery much like the legendary old GM Small Block V8s.

      • 0 avatar

        Honestly, I’m not particularly impressed with either GM’s V6 or the typical turbo 2 liter. Both give you some oomph, but neither can be described these days as “screaming”.

    • 0 avatar
      Kevin Jaeger

      I was a little surprised at the comment on the engine. I recently had a GM rental with the 3.6 V6. While the car wasn’t my cup of tea I must say the engine was an impressive powerplant.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    While they both may offer convertibles, I argue Miata and Camaro are two different types of cars and don’t offer a direct comparison. Miata is almost a roadster, Camaro is some sort of sedan chopped personal luxury coupe.

    I’d also be curious to know if rear visibility is better/worse/same in the Camaro convertible vs the coupe.

    • 0 avatar

      I haven’t been in the Coupe, but rear visibility with the top down was reasonable, although the high trunk lid makes it impossible to back up into a tight space. The Camaro compensates for this with backup radar. In a Miata you’d just look back and see the rear of your car. Now, with the top up, visibility is atrocious, but then that’s true for most convertibles.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Thanks, I was curious to know if somehow top up GM increased visibility vs the coupe. But you’re right in saying most if not all convertibles have poor visibility with the tops up.

        Reminds me of the 93 Lebaron convertible (that wasn’t John Voight’s) I drove for awhile in 2004/5. It was sharp looking for a K-car, 3.0L, alloys, digital dash, leather. I miss it. Sebring’s just aren’t even close for me.

  • avatar
    George Herbert

    As a native Los Altan (though I now live elsewhere), I gotta say, a Camaro? Duuude…

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      It sounds like you might be able to offer “background” on the egg incident… What IS the attitude toward Camaros among egg-carrying Los Altans?

      • 0 avatar
        George Herbert

        I cannot personally attest to the attitude of egg-carrying Los Altans; egging was not the way I rolled. However, Camaros were largely a Mountain View and Sunnyvale phenomenon Back In The Day.

        The photos weren’t entirely clear where in town he was parked. Kinda looks like the area south of Downtown bordered by Foothill and El Monte. If that was it, it could well have been a rogue band of wine-bar inebriated octogenarian Mercedes drivers…

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    That interior looks like absolute crap. So many bad plastics and big gaps. :(

    • 0 avatar
      This Is Dawg

      The empty space in the gauge hoods is crazy bad looking, the center could easily be mistaken for a toy, and then out of nowhere, a sleek edgeless mirror? How did that get snuck in without 2 inch thick knobs jutting out of it?

      • 0 avatar
        TonyJZX

        its because the camaro interior has had continuous change since the beginning (continuous improvement if you’re a GM shill)

        to me it looks like they kept changing it to keep up with tastes but in the end, nothing looks right because too many people had a shot at it

        ie. the steering wheel is new, the mirror is new, the gps is new and they pull the gauges on the v6

        everything is discordant

  • avatar
    Buckshot

    This must be one of the ugliest cars you can buy.
    It looks like a flattened or crushed suv.

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      The looks of anything, or anybody, can be somewhat subjective. The Camaro would certainly fit into that category. So you don,t like the looks? That’s your call .. I like the looks of my Camaro. The “jelly bean”” look of the other 80 percent of the new cars, makes me want to barf.

  • avatar
    roadscholar

    Did they also stuff my tailpipe with Lululemon yoga pants and quinoa granola?

    Hahaha…..that cracked me up.

  • avatar
    86er

    “There’s a vent above your left knee that you can point anywhere, keeping you comfortable even at freeway speeds.”

    Return of the crotch vent?

  • avatar
    Luke42

    The egging was probably related to the Silicon Valley gentrification protests:
    http://blogs.kqed.org/newsfix/2013/12/20/eviction-protesters-oakland-san-francisco-target-silicon-valley-buses

    Only in California.

    It was initially targeted at the private shuttle buses provided for my colleagues and competitors in California. They get a free ride to work, which is really a way for tech emoloyers to squeeze a couple of hours of extra work out of tech workers.

    But, the protests aren’t really about that – it’s about a bunch of carpetbaggers who earn higher than average wages driving up rents in San Francisco, which makes life difficult for the “real San Franciscans”. It’s sort of the reverse of the reverse the White Flight that occurred in Chicago, and the current residents feel dis-empowered after a bunch of “there goes the neighborhood” incidents. Well-paid tech workers start moving in, and “there goes the neighborhood” – its only a matter of time until a coffee shop opens and people crowding around the tables writing mobile apps, or something. Also, this is California, so the obvious solution to every problem is to take to the streets.

    A flashy convertible driven by someone who obviously doesn’t live in the neighborhood might well be a target.

    I’m glad I don’t live in California, so I don’t really have to care about finding a solution… But I have to hear my co-workers grouse about it.

  • avatar
    69firebird

    That Dash.
    “Crazy clown-face wheel and gauge pack, with a 10 year old ATM screen and plastic pig-snout knobs.”
    Saweet!

  • avatar
    mikey

    @69 Firebird……..To each his own ,eh?

  • avatar
    jim brewer

    In the past, Camaro convertibles have had the absolute worst safety record of almost any car on the road as per IIHS, I bet you get clobbered on your insurance with a car like that.

  • avatar
    mikey

    Sometimes being an old guy pays off. For a 2011 2SS Camaro coupe my insurance went up 72 dollars a year, from a 2009 impala LTZ. My 2008 ,6 cyl Mustang convert ,was 90 dollars less than the 2000 Firebird rag top, it replaced .

    I will never figure out insurance company’s .

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      “I will never figure out insurance company’s .”

      Or, apparently, pluralization. Sorry Mikey, couldn’t resist!

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Insurance companies are mostly investment companies. The formulas for setting premiums probably factor in return on investment, stock price, executive bonuses and anticipated taxes as well as profit/loss projections, not just risk assessments. As those factors change, so do the quotes. If there’s a frost that damages the Florida orange crop, premiums seem to get adjusted nationwide, so you probably have to keep tabs on local regional events before getting a quote. It’s almost like a butterfly beating its wings in South America causing a blizzard in Minnesota.

      • 0 avatar
        WildcatMatt

        For auto insurance, companies are generally only able to set rates based on what happens in each state individually. Someone in Oregon isn’t going to see a change to their comprehensive premium due to hurricane Sandy, for example.

  • avatar
    rpn453

    So, uh, how did it drive?

    • 0 avatar

      If you’re asking about how it behaves at 9/10ths, understeer, communicative power steering, and all that, then I can’t help you. I rented it to drive to a business meeting, not a track meet. It drives like a big GM car with an automatic transmission. You floor it and it makes lots of growling noises and gets itself moving, but if that’s something you care about, you’re not buying a base V6 Camaro.

  • avatar
    3Deuce27

    Reg; “1LT convertible for $32,735 (MSRP). A base-level MX-5 Miata is $26,775.”

    The base level price of a 2014 MX-5 Miata is, $23,720*.

    The 2014 1LT Camaro Convertible is, $30,955*

    I haven’t as yet rented the Camaro convertible, but I have rented the Mustang many times, and it has never cost me more then about $250-$300.00 for five days whether in Florida or Vegas.

    My next rental will be the Camaro in Las Vegas in April for the Viva Las Vegas extravaganza. Curious to see if its top speed crossing the new bridge(Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge) at Boulder Dam, is also only 112mph, like the Mustang.

    http://www.vivalasvegas.net

  • avatar
    energetik9

    I tend frequent car rental places also with my job and I’m always looking for new cars to try. I’ve rented this car (both hard and soft top) about 4 different times over the past year and every time I am dissapointed. The interior controls, the outward visibility and the trunk are frustrating. The dash and the seating position are distracting. The guages should be easier to read and for a guy 6’3″, you shouldn’t feel like you are trying to look over the dash all the time. Mostly, I am always dissapointed at how it handles. It always strikes me as too numb and flat.

  • avatar
    bachewy

    Buuuut, the Camaro’s trunk is larger than the Miata. Headroom is the same, both too short for my tall arse. That’s why I went Mustang :)

  • avatar
    achevroletman

    The Camaro is still the hottest looking car on the road(even if I did not love the headlight and tailight changes for 14′). When you spot a Camaro in oncoming traffic you instantly recognize it from about 1/4 mile away-due to the Shark like front end-awe inspiring.Not necessary to reach for the touch controls surrounding the MyLink screen as most are accessible on the wheel via simple thumb touch. MSRP is MSRP wherever you are. 5***** Crash ratings on every test and rollover-no safer car on the road. 330 HP with the Dual Mode exhaust added definitely qualifies it as a monster, just ask Mustang and Challenger.Interior is supposed to look retro and it does.

  • avatar
    WildcatMatt

    Do you see what happens when you find a stranger in the Alps?

    * throws eggs *

    This is what happens, Larry!


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