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2010 Chevrolet Camaro High Performance Sport Coupe

What was tested: 2010 Camaro 2LT.

Price as tested: $26,875

Options: RS Package ($1,500). Price as tested (including $850 destination charge): $29,225.

Pros: It's a modern-day muscle car with all the style, power and presence to make car lovers drool. It has a better interior than the Dodge Challenger and more refined handling than the Ford Mustang.

Cons: That gorgeous styling means you have to make some sacrifices for practicality, like a small trunk opening and reduced visibility in back.

Competitors: Ford Mustang, Dodge Charger, Dodge Challenger

In many ways, you can tell everything you need to know about the new Camaro just by looking at it. It's big. It's bad. It's American. It wants to steal your lunch money. But there's one thing you'd never expect: It actually handles well.

By now, you've probably heard all about the Camaro's second coming -- how it was brought back from the dead to prove that Americans can still build great muscle cars like back in the good ol' days. The new Camaro is such a stunning, scary-looking car that it would seem perfectly at home drag racing on the streets of Detroit in the 1960s.

Just like the Dodge Challenger and, in many ways, the Ford Mustang, the Camaro is a reincarnation of the classic American muscle car, complete with doors the size of surfboards, a freakishly long hood, and fenders as wide as Tennessee. It's also the best executed of all the American retro machines, with a nicer interior than the Challenger and more refined ride than the Mustang.

But can it haul? Oh, yeah. It can haul. Consider this: The base engine, a 3.6-liter V6 with direct injection, is available as an upgrade for the Cadillac CTS, but only if you're willing to pay $6,940 more for the privilege. But in the Camaro, that same 304-horsepower engine comes standard in the cheapest model for a total of $22,680. And that's just the starting point. If you want the true muscle-car experience, you can get a 426-horsepower V8 for just under $31,000. That's Corvette-like power for about $18,000 less than you'd pay for a base Vette. Any way you look at it, the Camaro is a performance bargain. None of that should be a surprise in a muscle car, though, because that's what they do. They go fast for cheap. But the way the Camaro handles is a real shocker.

Traditionally -- or perhaps stereotypically -- muscle cars only go fast in a straight line. You can stomp the gas on a drag strip and have a blast, but driving on a winding, curvy road is absolute torture in a big, heavy car. The Camaro, though, has a much firmer, more easily controlled suspension that can carve corners with precision. There's not a lot of body roll as it sticks to the pavement and transitions easily from side to side.

It's fast, looks great and handles beautifully. So what's not to like? There are really only a couple of downsides.

One is that the interior is not GM's best work. It's a step above the Challenger -- which isn't saying much -- but when you know General Motors can produce the kind of interior quality in the latest Chevy Malibu, the Camaro doesn't feel as nice. The styling is fantastic, with retro gauges and gorgeous lighting on the door trim at night, but the materials don't feel as good as they look.

The other problem is that this car's styling, while among the most head-turning on the road, doesn't do much for practicality. It's not easy to climb into the back seat; visibility is hampered by the wide C-pillars; the high doors make it uncomfortable to rest your arm; and the small trunk opening keeps you from loading big, bulky items into the cargo area. Those are the drawbacks of driving a car that looks this good.

As a modern-day muscle car, though, the Camaro is as good as it gets. It has the look, the ride, and -- most importantly -- the muscle.

Style: 10
Performance: 10
Price: 10
Handling: 9
Ride: 8
Comfort: 8
Quality: 7
Overall: 9