Chevrolet is a foreign object to Australians who’ve known Holden as their General Motors brand. But, that has changed. Holden Special Vehicles now converts the Chevrolet Silverado HD for local consumption, and more importantly, the 2018 Chevrolet Camaro SS.
After years of speculation and rumors, Australians can finally buy a V8-powered, rear-wheel-drive car from Holden. Sort of. HSV handles all of the conversion work and sales, so it’s hardly a replacement for the locally built Holden VF Commodore. With the car officially launched down under, local media has gotten its first crack at the American pony car on local roads, with the steering wheel placed on their right side.
Car Advice describes the Camaro SS as sharper than imagined, and a formidable opponent to the Ford Mustang. Ford, however, builds the Mustang in right-hand drive from the factory. It also makes the car about $20,000 AUD cheaper than the specially converted Camaro. But, the Camaro has exclusivity on its side.
Only about 550 Camaros will be converted for Australia this year, but production will ramp up slightly over the coming years. There’s no chance the Chevy will outsell the Mustang with those numbers, but the extra $20,000 is perhaps worth it, per the review.
Materials appeared better than the Mustang to our reviewer, and again, the Camaro surprised with sharp driving dynamics and loads more torque than the Mustang. Both cars make 455 horsepower, but the Camaro’s 6.2-liter LT1 V8 engine also makes 455 pound-feet of torque.
Buyers will quickly notice the same shortcomings Americans have known for years with the Camaro, though. Despite a well-put-together interior, it’s still difficult to see out of. And HSV hasn’t moved he arm rest and center console over from left-hand drive, so there’s really no place for a driver to put his or her arm aside from the cup holder area.
Overall, the Camaro should receive a warm welcome in Australia. It’s not the local hero the Commodore has been, but it’s likely a welcome addition nonetheless.