Chevrolet Corvette review

Our Rating: 
4
4.0/5.0
By Auto Express Test TeamComments

The Chevrolet Corvette is an American icon, and this all-new version plays on its past by reviving the Stingray name

For: 
Low price, interior gadgets, Exhaust noise
Against: 
LHD only, brash image, fiddly seven-speed manual

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The Chevrolet Corvette was always designed as the supercar for the people, so despite packing a thunderous 460bhp V8 and outrageous styling, this new model costs around a quarter of the price of a Ferrari F12 Berlinetta.

A removable roof panel means you can take advantage of any breaks in the cloud and hear the quad exhausts in full song. Like the new Porsche 911, a seven-speed manual is fitted as standard with a satisfying mechanical action, while all UK cars get a Z51 performance pack as standard that adds an aero package, upgraded suspension and an electronically-controlled limited slip differential.

Two-stage adaptive dampers mean the Corvette can deal with track work as well as bumpy roads.

Our choice: Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

Styling

4.5

You don’t buy a car like this unless you like to be noticed, so the Corvette Stingray is unashamedly brash to look at. It retains similar proportions to its predecessor, with a long bonnet stretching out in front of the driver, a low and wide stance and short rear overhang, but the details are all new.

Every surface with enough space features a slash, vent or a razor sharp crease, while at the rear four comically-large exhaust pipes protrude from a huge rear diffuser.

The interior isn’t quite as dramatic, but the build quality is a major improvement over its predecessors. A swooping dashboard envelops the driver and provides a grab handle for passengers to cling onto, while the wide sports seats are comfortable on long trips.

There are a number of clever touches in the cabin, too, including a screen that slides down to reveal a secret compartment for your phone and other valuables. 

Driving

4.3

Unlike some European supercars that are too harsh to be driven everyday, the Corvette is just at home on long motorway trips as it is pulverizing a B-road into submission; slot it into seventh gear, and the Corvette’s 460bhp 6.2-litre V8 ticks over at just 1,500rpm at 70mph.

Toggle your way through the various driving modes, which tweak the throttle, suspension, steering weight, exhaust volume and behaviour of the electronic differential, and the Corvette comes alive, with a savage turn of pace. The sound from the four trumpet-like exhausts is epic on full throttle, and a removable roof panel let’s you enjoy the sound in all its glory.

The steering is sharp, although we’d prefer a little more weight to inspire confidence at higher speeds, while the gear lever slots around neatly. However, with seven ratios, finding the right gear when you concentrating on the road ahead isn’t always so straightforward.

If you’re feeling brave the traction control can be switched off completely, letting you pull flamboyant tail slides wherever the track allows. All UK cars come with a Z51 performance pack as standard; this adds bigger brakes, an aero pack and firmer suspension for even more control in the corners. 

Reliability

4

American V8s might not be as sophisticated as their European counter parts, but they are built to last. The large cubic capacity and lack of a turbocharger mean the 6.2-litre V8 is relatively unstressed, and will stand up to hard driving and high mileages.

The interior has received a complete overhaul too, replacing the cheap brittle plastics with a combination of leather, aluminium, carbon-fibre and soft-touch plastics – it’s still no match for a Porsche 911 or an Audi R8 but it should wear well if the Corvette is regularly used.

Practicality

3.5

You don’t buy a 460bhp, rear-wheel drive, two-seater coupe for its practicality, but the Corvette isn’t nearly as snug as you might think. The dashboard swoops around and envelops the driver, but you never feel cramped, while there are two small cubbies in the central armrest.

The wide boot provides a surprising 424-litre of space – 100-litres more than the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta and plenty for a couple of sets of golf clubs. It also features nets for keeping your shopping bags from smashing against the sides if you’re feeling lively on the way back from the supermarket.

Chevrolet Corvette Stingray UK pan

The removable roof panel lifts out when you unclip three latches, and slots neatly into the boot, or you can leave it at home. 

Running Costs

2.8

If you think that the Corvette Stingray’s low price tag will be the end of the big bills, think again. Running a Corvette won’t quite cost as much as something more exotic – like a Lamborghini or Ferrari for instance – but it won’t be far off.

The 460bhp 6.2-litre V8 for example has quite a thirst – returning 26mpg and 253g/km on the official combined cycle. However, flex your right foot and in the real world that economy figure will tumble to the high teens. And it’s not just the cost of servicing and fuel that will hurt your wallet - perishable components like tyres and brake pads will be need frequent replacing, especially if you take your Corvette on track. 

Disqus - noscript

Curious as to how you avoided mentioning the elephant in the room, namely the F-type :)

The review states the the 7 Speed Manual slots into gears neatly with a satisfying mechanical action but in the 'Against' you criticise it? The fact the car comes with a manual is a godsend especially in the current climate where all high performance cars come with auto's. And the styling is what sets it apart from your run of the mill Porsche or M3 etc.

If I was in the market for that kind of car the Corvette would be where my money would go.

Also, AE counts "brash image" as an against, which is ridiculous, missing the point very badly. The point of a car like the Corvette is to be brash, that's a plus point.

And there is nothing wrong with the running costs, if you are buying a 6.2 litre V8 then your priority is not economy. How many 6.2 litre V8s have much better fuel economy than 26MPG?

Objective? Not on AutoExpress.

Last updated: 12 Mar, 2014
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