Looking for an outstanding example of bang-for-the-buck performance? Check out this 2014 Chevy Camaro SS equipped with the 1LE Package. Designed to demonstrate equal talent on the street and on the track, the Camaro SS 1LE is equipped with numerous upgrades designed to set it apart from other versions of the car, and starts at a remarkably reasonable $37,850, including a $995 destination charge.
A 2014 Chevrolet Camaro SS 1LE is very easy to identify. It has a matte-black hood and big 20-inch gloss-black wheels, along with a matte-black front splitter and a unique matte-black rear spoiler. The Brembo 4-piston brake calipers are painted red, and Chevy installs standard P285/35ZR20 Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar summer performance tires. Unseen are the car’s long list of performance-oriented hardware upgrades, discussed on the pages that follow.
The thing to remember about a 2014 Camaro is that the base price is quite low, starting at just $24,550. Therefore, the quality of the interior materials reflects that price point. Still, the standard cloth upholstery, the headliner material, and the switchgear looks and feels good, even if much of the plastic is disappointingly hard and glossy.
This particular Camaro SS 1LE is equipped with optional Recaro performance seats, a new option for 2014 that costs $1,995. It’s worth the upgrade, because these heavily bolstered seats are comfortable on the highway and hold the driver in place when exploring maximum tire adhesion. Seat back slots allow for installation of a 5-point harness, just in case you’re planning a track attack.
The Camaro’s rear seat lacks room for heads, legs, and feet, so don’t plan to carry adults back there. The seat itself, though, is comfortable, and folds down to expand cargo carrying capability.
Thanks to 11.3 cu.-ft. of cargo space, the Camaro’s trunk is bigger than expected. However, the liftover height is tall, the opening is small, and the trunk isn’t deep, so careful planning is necessary when taking this car on a trip. Note the irksome reversing lights, which illuminated whenever I locked or unlocked the car and which often tricked people seeking parking spaces in crowded lots. They eventually extinguish, but not before irritating other people.
A 6.2-liter V-8 engine is standard for the 2014 Camaro 1LE, generating 426 horsepower at 5,900 rpm and 420 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,600 rpm. The only transmission is a close-ratio 6-speed manual gearbox with a short-throw shifter, one that is equipped with an air-to-liquid cooling system and a 3.91 final drive ratio. Note the enormous front strut tower brace.
Every 2014 Camaro SS is equipped with a traction system that includes Performance Launch Control, a stability control system with a Competitive/Sport mode, and Brembo braking components with 4-piston calipers. The Camaro SS 1LE Package adds a revised suspension with monotube rear dampers, thicker stabilizer bars, and a strut tower cross-brace, along with Camaro ZL1 wheel bearings, toe links, rear shock mounts, and fuel pump.
Consumer Reports and J.D. Power disagree about many aspects of the Chevy Camaro. The former says reliability is not expected to be good, yet owners love their cars anyway. The latter says reliability and quality are high, but owners don’t find their cars very appealing.
There’s no disputing the fact that the 2014 Camaro is a safe car, at least by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) standards. In crash testing, the Camaro earns a 5-star rating in every single individual assessment, a rare achievement no matter the type of vehicle.
A 2014 Camaro might prove relatively safe if you wreck it, but Chevy’s not helping buyers to avoid a collision. A reversing camera and rear parking assist sensors are optional rather than standard, and this car really needs them. It could also use a blind-spot information system, which is unavailable no matter how much money you’re willing to spend on upgrades.
The Camaro 1LE Package is offered on the standard SS model and what Chevrolet refers to as a 2SS model. No, that doesn’t mean you get double the performance. Instead, the Camaro 2SS features leather, heated front seats, a Boston Acoustics premium sound system, a reversing camera, and rear parking assist sensors. Additionally, the 2SS version gets a heads-up display, a color driver information display, a retro-themed auxiliary gauge pack, a universal programmable garage door opener, heated auto-dimming exterior mirrors, and a frameless auto-dimming inside mirror.
All 2014 Camaro models, except for the base Camaro LS, have Chevrolet MyLink technology as standard equipment. MyLink includes a USB connection, Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free calling, and the ability to stream music from a paired smartphone. It also provides access to Pandora and Stitcher internet radio, but if you want to play a CD in a Camaro with MyLink, you are out of luck.
The optional navigation system costs $795, and offers a number of ways to find and program a destination. Maps are shown in 2-D or 3-D and display real-time traffic information. You can even set it up to show speed limits, as if you care.
One day, I got into the Camaro and the “80’s on 8” satellite radio station was playing this song. I was in high school when Van Halen reached its zenith with “1984,” and this particular track is absolutely, 100% perfect for driving a big, powerful Camaro.
The 2014 Chevy Camaro SS faces few direct competitors. You can get a Dodge Challenger R/T, or you can get a Ford Mustang GT.
Lots of people dismiss the Chevy Camaro as a big, dumb, American car that can only go fast in a straight line. Clearly, they’ve never driven a Camaro SS with the 1LE Package. It might not appeal to everyone, but it possesses far more talent than might otherwise be surmised.
Chevrolet provided the 2014 Camaro SS for this photo gallery
2014 Chevrolet Camaro SS 1LE photos by Christian Wardlaw
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