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Used Chevy Camaro

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Dark Blue 2016 Used Chevy Camaro angled left

For over half a century the Chevy Camaro has provided drivers with affordable performance. Not only is this fun pony car at home pushing the limits on the track or drag strip, but unlike most pure sports cars, it also offers enough seats and cargo space to make for a surprisingly practical daily driver. While a new Camaro is within reach of many buyers, a used Chevy Camaro can provide incredible value for the money as well as being a fun sports car. First launched all the way back in 1966 as a competitor to the then-new Ford Mustang, the original Chevy Camaro set the pattern that all future generations of the car would follow. With two doors, four seats, rear-wheel drive, and a powerful V8 engine, the Camaro is a timeless blend of performance and practicality.

However, despite its introducing all the key components that have since made the Chevy Camaro an automotive icon, the first-generation Camaro was a rushed design that was only on the market for five years, making it the shortest-lived of any Camaro generation. It was succeeded for the 1970 model year by the all-new second-generation Camaro, which was more of a dedicated sports car. This new design offered a much more capable platform to build on, and production spanned twelve years, only ending after the 1981 model year and making the third-generation the longest-lived Camaro. While the classic styling of these two Camaro generations makes them beautiful and iconic cars, unless you are interested in a classic car project, it is best if you steer clear of first and second-generation Camaros should you come across one.

The third generation of the Chevy Camaro finally arrived for the 1982 model year and lasted until the 1992 model year. This car marked a fairly radical departure from the first two generations. After all, with the twelve-year run of the second generation, the Camaro effectively skipped a decade and was catapulted straight from the late 1960s into the early 1980s. This large step forward in automotive technology saw Chevy replace the ornate classic lines of the second generation with simple flat sheet metal in the third generation. The standard coupe layout of the older cars was also discarded in favor of an arguably more practical liftback design with a massive rear window. The new car also broke with Camaro tradition by offering the option of a four-cylinder engine as well as the classic six-cylinder and eight-cylinder options. However, the four-cylinder was rightly unpopular and vanished after the 1985 model year. But despite the early misstep with the smaller engine, the third-generation Camaro was a real step forward for the car, and if you can handle the spartan interior and relatively low performance by standards, then a used third-generation Camaro can still be a fun car even today. Still, it should be remembered that even the youngest cars of this generation are now nearly thirty years old and are rapidly becoming collector’s vehicles. Not only will a used third-generation Camaro likely require considerable attention to keep running, but prices are now starting to go up, making them less of a bargain.

The fourth-generation Chevy Camaro ran from 1993 to 2002 and shared the same general look and layout as the third-generation cars. However, the new generation brought major improvements in power and handling. When first introduced, the fourth generation cars came with either a 160 horsepower V6 or a 275 horsepower V8. This was already a noticeable boost over the 140 horsepower V6 or 240 horsepower V8 of the previous generation, but the fourth generation Camaro engine options continued to improve over its production run. By the time it was phased out, the car had come with either a 200 horsepower V6 or a 310 horsepower V8. These are not bad numbers even by today’s standards, and great deals can be found on used fourth-generation Camaros. However, it must be remembered that these are still an early 1990’s design, so do not expect a comfortable interior or modern technology.

From 2002 to 2009, Chevy paused Camaro production. This is particularly unfortunate to us today as those missing model years would have now been high value used cars for drivers who want modern features but who can live without the latest technology. When Chevy unveiled the fifth-generation Camaro for the 2010 model year, the car had been considerably redesigned. Instead of the simple sheet metal and large rear glass of the third and fourth generations, the fifth-generation Camaro was an aggressive boxy design with a trunk. However, with the change in looks also came significant improvements in both performance and comfort. The new 312 horsepower V6 engine competed with the fourth generation V8, while the new V8 offered an impressive 426 horsepower. The 2012 model year even improved the base engine further, with a new 323 horsepower V6. Overall, a used fifth-generation Camaro makes for the best value you can find, occasionally costing less than fourth or even third-generation cars despite its superior performance and much more modern features.

However, if you want the highest performance you can get from a used Camaro, then look for a sixth-generation car. Introduced for the 2016 model year, this is the current generation and builds on the pattern established with the fifth-generation Camaro. With 455 horsepower on tap, a used V8 sixth-generation Camaro makes for a great buy that easily rivals older Corvettes for performance. And on top of this, the new car also sports sleeker looks and a plethora of modern features. However, in addition to the sixth generation’s V8 and V6 options, Chevy repeated the experiment of the third generation Camaro and also offers a 275 horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine. And while this is actually as much power as an early fourth-generation V8, it is a questionable choice for a modern performance vehicle. Still, no matter which generation or engine you chose, buying a used Camaro is a great way to get yourself a classic American car that is both affordable and extremely fun.

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