When the 2019 Camaro arrived with a new face for the sixth-gen Camaro refresh, many critics (including us) bemoaned the changes made to the SS—especially with regard to the Bow Tie’s placement. No longer in the grille, it looked out of place in the middle of a gloss-black center grille bar. The all-black front created a gaping maw that not even a mother could love.
The Camaro Shock concept that debuted at the 2018 SEMA show indicated there was a much more elegant solution to the problem, and fans were not shy about letting GM know. In a rare mea culpa moment, the Camaro team moved the Bow Tie into the upper grille and changed the center grille bar to body color for the 2020 SS.
“Customers spoke, and we listened,” said Steve Majoros, director of Chevrolet passenger car and crossover marketing. “The overwhelmingly positive reaction to the Shock’s stylized design helped prompt its transition from concept to production.”
There’s more good news for V-8 Camaro fans than just the SS—the new LT1 package pairs the fascia of the turbo-four and V-6 Camaros with the 455-horsepower LT-1 V-8. (Think of it like the opposite of the third-gen Camaro’s Rally Sport option that dressed a V-6 Camaro up with V-8 looks.) The new LT1 package does use the Camaro SS’s vented hood, so it’s not a total sleeper, but it might surprise some to hear that V-8 rumble coming from what looks like a Camaro LS.
The 2020 Camaro LT1 will be the entry-level V-8 option, starting at $34,995 including destination, or about $800 less than the 375-horsepower Challenger R/T and undercutting the Mustang GT’s base price by about $1500. Cheap horsepower is a wonderful thing.
Other new-for-2020 Camaro news is that the 10-speed auto trickles down to the 335-horsepower V-6. A number of options previously reserved for 1LE and ZL1 will also be available on LT models, including Recaro seats, red seatbelts, rear spoiler, and red and orange brake calipers.
Despite the design criticisms of the frumpy-faced 2019 SS model, Camaro was the only sports car in its class to post an increase in sales during the first quarter of 2019, with sales up 2.5 percent compared to 2018. However, that’s all relative, because it’s still in third place on the pony car sales chart behind Mustang and Challenger, which both saw sales fall off early in 2019. Perhaps offering some variety and this more affordable V-8 will stir up the market and add fuel to the competitive fire that has been keeping the Big Three churning out better and better pony cars every year.