2013 Chevrolet Camaro SS 1LE

Chevrolet announced over the weekend pricing information for some of the 2013 Camaro’s performance trims. The 2013 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 convertible will start at $59,545, according to Autoblog, and Chevrolet says the 2013 Chevrolet Camaro SS 1LE will start at $36,135. Both prices exclude a $900 destination fee.

The Camaro ZL1 convertible offers 580 horsepower and is the direct competitor to the 650-horsepower 2013 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 convertible, a high-performance model of the Ford Mustang convertible. The Camaro ZL1 convertible will start at just $345 more than the Shelby GT500 convertible, making the choice between the two models more about brand loyalty and performance than price point.

The 2013 Chevrolet Camaro SS 1LE is a performance trim of the Camaro SS, and it combines elements of the SS and the top-of-the-line Camaro ZL1  to create a model that will compete most directly with the 2013 Mustang Boss 302. The 1LE adds a matte black hood and other trim pieces, an improved suspension and an upgraded transmission to the base SS, in addition to a flat-bottomed steering wheel and shifter knob, both covered in sueded microfiber, inspired by the ZL1. The 426-horsepower SS 1LE will only be available with a six-speed manual transmission. In order to get an automatic on your Camaro SS, you’ll have to sacrifice the 1LE package and 26 horsepower, compared with manual models.

Most reviewers’ discussion centers around how the Camaro SS 1LE will stand up when compared with the 444-horsepower Ford Mustang Boss 302. According to Autoblog, the Camaro’s chief engineer expects the SS 1LE to give the Boss 302’s even higher-performance Laguna Seca trim a run for its money. The standard Mustang Boss starts at $42,200, which is already $6,065 more than the Camaro SS 1LE, but the Boss 302 Laguna Seca package increases the price disparity to $13,060 after adding more performance-enhancing features like brake cooling ducts.   

Though that price difference seems to make the Camaro SS 1LE a clear choice over either model of the Mustang Boss, test drivers aren’t too certain. The SS 1LE has fewer horsepower than the Boss, though it offers 40 more pound-feet of torque. While driving the Camaro SS 1LE, Motor Trend says, “The engine felt plenty strong, but rowing through the gears doesn't feel quite as special and precise as in the Boss.”

Overall, most shoppers in the market for a muscle car already have their brand loyalties staked out for either the Camaro, Mustang or the Dodge Challenger. Additionally, the performance differences between the Camaro SS 1LE and the Mustang Boss 302 will probably not be very apparent to those who use these sports cars for commuting or daily driving. Still, a price difference of more than $6,000 could be enough to change some shoppers’ allegiance.

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