There is a lot you can learn about the success of a vehicle design in the market by simply driving the vehicle that you’re interested in learning about. One of the things that you simply need to do is to be aware of the reaction of other drivers when you’re behind the wheel of something new. (Of course, this requires that what you’re interested in learning about has been completely—or almost completely—finished, which may be too late.)
If they are oblivious to what you’re driving—and let’s face it, most people are more interested in what they’re doing behind the wheel of their own car (one hopes that it is driving, but too often it is driving and something else)—then it might not be so good for said vehicle.
But if they look and let you know they’re looking: That’s good.
Case in point was a drive down I-95 from Raleigh to Orlando as part of what Chevy is calling its #FindNewRoads program for the 2016 Camaro, which is meant to get the car in all the states of the Lower 48.
I had a BMW X6 roll up quickly behind me at one point, so I moved out of the left lane and into the right. Oddly, the X6 didn’t go blasting beyond me but pulled alongside and stayed there. I glanced over.
And got a point to the Camaro and got a thumbs-up.
Then he blasted by.
Next, it was a guy in a Hyundai Genesis 2.0T Coupe. Now it strikes me that about the only things that the Hyundai and Chevy have in common are two doors and powerful engines under the hood. I was in a car with a 3.6-liter V6, which is said to have the highest specific output of any car in its segment, 335 hp and 284 lb-ft. It also has cylinder deactivation, so I averaged 29.1 mpg over what was, admittedly, mainly highway driving, but a chunk of trying to find a parking place in Savannah.
Yet there it was: a thumbs-up.
I pulled into a gas station and when I came out of the station’s store I saw I guy who was walking around the back of the Camaro with a look of admiration on his face. On the other side of the island was a massive RV with Massachusetts plates. “That’s one good-looking machine,” he said.
One of the things that is clearly clicking at General Motors is design. This sixth-generation Camaro is a clear predecessor of gen five, but designer Hawsup Lee went beyond that and nailed what is its own design.
While this is still a muscle car in presence, it is one that is of our time, not a historic anomaly.
#FindNewRoads will clearly FindNewCustomers.