Turbocharged Rear-Wheel Drive Top Down Fun
Chevrolet is serious about giving drivers the
exact Camaro they want. Offering a coupe or convertible with four engine and
two transmission options. If you want, nay need, some sportiness infused
into your life, then look no further.
The fun part of 2021 Camaro shopping is that
for about $25,000 you can get into a sporty car with modern styling and
technology that harkens back to the 1960s. These are the engine choices that
all come with either the standard six-speed manual or 10-speed automatic
- 2.0L Turbo Four
- 275 horsepower (hp)
- 295 pound-feet (lb.-ft.) of torque
- $25,000 base price
- 3.6L V6
- 335 hp
- 284 lb.-ft. torque
- $27,095 base price
- 6.2L LT1 V8
- 455 hp
- 455 lb.-ft.
- $34,000 base price
- 6.2L LT4 Supercharged V8
- 650 hp
- 650 lb.-ft. torque
- $63,000 base price
What We Drove
Clean Fleet Report
spent a fun week in the 2021 Chevrolet Camaro RS convertible with the 2.0L
turbo four-cylinder and the six-speed manual transmission. The 275 hp and 295
lb.-ft. of torque were surprisingly more than adequate for impressive
acceleration and performance. The manual was very much up to the task of
powering the Camaro in every situation we encountered, with a 0-60 times
consistently around 5.4 seconds. We estimate the 10-speed automatic, with
paddle shifters, may be just a bit quicker.
The EPA rates the fuel economy
at 19 mpg city/29 highway/22 combined for the 2021 Camaro RS convertible with
the 2.0L turbo and the six-speed manual transmission. In 220 miles driving
throughout Southern California, Clean Fleet Report averaged 24.1 mpg.
However, with 160 of those miles freeway only and the cruise control set at 65
mph, we averaged 32.1 mpg. Fuel economy numbers reported by Clean Fleet
Report are non-scientific and represent the reviewer’s driving experience
using the dash gauge computer. Your numbers may differ.
Joy of Driving
The more we drove the Camaro
RS convertible, the more we came to appreciate it. The sport suspension with
stability and traction control were up to whatever we encountered, which in
SoCal means a whole lot of freeways that are either paved in quiet asphalt or
loud, grooved concrete. There are three driver selectable drive modes of Tour,
Sport and Mud/Snow. The last of those was never needed, as it was dry during
our time in the Camaro RS, which meant the top was down much of the time. We
spent our freeway miles in Tour to maximize fuel economy, and Sport at all
other times to, well, be sporty.
The Camaro’s throwback 1960s
design of front engine and rear wheel drive is what many driving purists seek
out. The acceleration was smooth with very minor turbo lag, where the most fun
was between 2,000 and 5,000 rpm while in third and fourth gear. The linear
acceleration kept pulling through the next shift, but never getting up-to the
7,000 rpm redline.The engine note in Sport is a pleasant snarl or
growl, but is unnoticeable when on the freeway. Downshifting through the gears
produces a satisfying rumble.
The performance suspension on
the Camaro RS is stiff, but not harsh. Nothing we encountered would be
considered bone jarring or even unpleasant. To the contrary, even SoCal’s
grooved concrete freeways were smoothed-out nicely. As noted, the more we drove
the Camaro RS, the more we liked it.
The Goodyear Eagle 245/40
all-season asymmetrical tires, mounted on 20-inch aluminum alloy wheels,
gripped well. We can only imagine the handling bump if it was shod with summer
tires. We never came close to the cornering limits during our week, with the
grip predictable and reliable when diving hard into tight corners or taking
high-speed sweepers. There was never a moment of surprise from tire slippage or
The Camaro RS came standard
with four-piston front and rear, vented disc brakes that were power-assisted,
part of the anti-lock brake system. Stopping is as important as accelerating,
and the performance brake set-up provided consistent short stops that did not
fade from heavy use.
The sixth generation Chevrolet
Camaro was introduced in 2016, and has received cosmetic enhancements since
then. The wide and low stance is enhanced by the long hood, LED head and
daytime running lights, a narrow grille and the famous Bow Tie emblem. When
closed, the convertible top stays true to the Camaro coupe’s look. When opened,
which is about a 20-second, one-button electric operation, reveals a very well-designed
convertible. The top can also be lowered remotely with the key fob.
Design-wise, there is no hint
removing the roof was an afterthought as the laid-back windshield, suspended in
air, has a great look. The small trunk lid has a crescent spoiler which sits
above the quad LED tail lights and the dual, chrome exhaust tips in the lower
Clean Fleet Report’s
Camaro had the RS and Redline Edition packages. The RS added LED tail lamps,
black Bow Tie badging, and the spoiler. The Redline Edition added 20-inch black
painted aluminum wheels with red stripe accents, and black emblems with red
For added zing, the 2021
Camaro now is available in two Wild Cherry design packages with black hash mark
stripes or a center black stripe, ground effects and 20-inch polished aluminum
The ventilated leather-trimmed seats were heated and
cooled, with the driver getting eight-way (with memory) power adjustments and
the passenger six-way power. The seats are supportive and do a good job holding
the occupants in place when cornering hard. The digital gauges are complete,
including a timer, and were complemented with a very helpful head-up display.
The interior accent lighting was soothing and the illuminated logoed sill
plates were a nice touch. The Redline Edition treatment on Clean Fleet
Report’s Camaro RS included added touches of graphics, red seat belts, red
knee pads on the center console, and carpeted and logoed floor mats.
The Bose sound system has six speakers and an eight-inch
high-definition color touch screen that housed the AM/FM/radio with SiriusXM,
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Controls for Bluetooth and the hands-free
telephone are found on the heated, suede-wrapped steering wheel that has a
squared-off bottom. If you like suede, the gear shift knob was so adorned,
which provided a nice feel and good grip when powering through the gears.
Activating the very handy and helpful OnStar system
is as simple as pushing a button. This connects you with a friendly General
Motors representative to make your driving experience safer and more enjoyable.
The most common requests are for directions, emergencies and general
assistance. This is one area where GM is the industry leader, and after the
introductory basic plan expires, it is well worth renewing for your passenger’s
and your peace of mind. For faster Internet speeds there was a 4G LTE Wi-Fi
Hotspot, which came with a limited period subscription.
The low roof and the high belt line meant the small windows don’t let in much light and created tight outward visibility. The Jet Black interior, while attractive, also added to the darkness. To aid in rear visibility, the rear view mirror can act as a high definition camera as well as a conventional mirror. The camera mode takes some getting used to, as the perspective is different, showing a wider view. I found it especially helpful when parking, a great feature for the limited rear visibility in the Camaro.
If you are thinking of sitting in the back seat, do
so for a short time as there isn’t much there there. The trunk opening is
small, but with the roof in place it accommodated four medium-size weekend
bags. With the top down, a couple of those bags will need to go in the back
The Camaro RS comes equipped with safety features
including eight airbags, cruise control, rear vision camera, electronic
stability and traction control, rear park alert and assist, lane change, blind
spot and forward collision alerts. The head-up display is a major safety
element that keeps the driver’s eyes on the road.
Convenience items include power windows with
one-touch up and down, keyless start and entry, passive entry system, power and
heated side mirrors, dual zone automatic climate control, a theft deterrent
system and a lockable glove box.
The 2021 Camaro convertible has not been tested by the US Government’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), but the coupe version received a 5 Stars, its highest overall safety rating. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) also has not tested the Camaro convertible, but it rated the Camaro coupe with an overall Good rating.
Pricing and Warranties
Clean Fleet Report’s
2021 Chevrolet Camaro RS convertible, with the 3LT package, had a base price of
$38,495. With $5,305 in options and packages, the MSRP came to $43,800. All
prices include the $995 destination
The 2021 Chevrolet Camaro comes with these warranties:
- Bumper-to-Bumper – Three years/36,000 miles
- Powertrain – Five years/60,000 miles
- Roadside Assistance – Five years/60,000 miles
- Corrosion – Six years/100,000 miles
- Maintenance – First visit or one year/12,000 miles
Chevrolet Camaro RS Convertible with the 2.0L Turbo and Six-Speed Manual
are five Camaro models for 2021: LS, LT, LT1, SS, and ZL1. Clean
Fleet Report’s first time getting to know this sports car was reviewing the
Camaro SS, powered by a 6.2L V8 that pumped-out 455 hp
and 455 lb-ft of torque through a 10-speed automatic with paddle shifters. This
time we slid behind the wheel of the 2021 Camaro RS convertible with the 2.0L
turbo and six-speed manual. Before thinking we missed the extra horsepower and
torque, think again.
Chevrolet has delivered some satisfying performance out
of the turbo four-cylinder, with a broad torque range that provides serious
pulling power, especially in third and fourth gears. Higher horsepower and
torque may seem what you always want in a sports car, but that doesn’t mean all
that power is usable at the wheels. What we noticed is the turbo four-cylinder
gave us more usable power at the rear wheels when on tight corners and mountain
Since we were not so interested in going fast in a
straight line, the smaller engine suited our needs just fine. However, we
remember fondly the feeling of raw power when opening-up the big V8 on the 2019
Camaro SS. Which model you buy all depends on your driving style. Hint: you
won’t go wrong either way. Convincing your local Chevrolet dealer sales
representative to let you drive the different models hard may be a challenge,
but it can’t hurt to ask.
Another consideration is where you will be
driving the Camaro RS convertible. I live at the beach in Southern California
where cruising Pacific Coast Highway is a time-tested ritual. Doing it in a
convertible is even more enjoyable. Because PCH is a very long series of stop
lights and traffic can get heavy, ordering your Camaro RS convertible with the
10-speed automatic with paddle shifters may make your drive more enjoyable, and
will save your left leg from needing to be dragged when getting out of the car.
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Story by John Faulkner. Photos by Lex Adams.
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Clean Fleet Report is loaned free test vehicles
from automakers to evaluate, typically for a week at a time. Our road tests are
based on this one-week drive of a new vehicle. Because of this we don’t address
issues such as long-term reliability or total cost of ownership. In addition,
we are often invited to manufacturer events highlighting new vehicles or
technology. As part of these events we may be offered free transportation,
lodging or meals. We do our best to present our unvarnished evaluations of
vehicles and news irrespective of these inducements.
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