|Positives: Remarkable levels of performance, awesome small block V8 engine, better-looking in the flesh than in photos, capacious cargo room, often mistaken for a McLaren.|
|Negatives: Some overstyling in back, strange climate control center console, difficult visibility, lacks aural pleasures at low speeds, no manual transmission.|
|Bottom Line: No car on earth performs this well for this kind of money. The mid-engined C8 is an affordable supercar that can hold its own against cars costing two to three times more. Aside from a cosseting cabin and weird climate controls, it's one of the world's best sports cars.|
We were surprised by how quick, easy, and exhilarating the Corvette is to drive. It never feels out of sorts, harsh, or overwhelming. Chevy has built a performance masterpiece for about the price of a Lexus. We only wish we could've tracked this beast.
Ride Quality: As you'd expect, the Corvette's ride is properly firm, but it still has great dampening properties even in Z51 trim.
Acceleration: The Corvette moves like a true supercar with 0-60 mph coming in a shocking 2.8 seconds. The car's first dual-clutch transmission fires of shifts quickly, and the Corvette just keeps pulling.
Braking: The performance brakes are powerful with excellent progression and pedal feel. These should prove to be great on the track. They don't help stop it shorter than the last Corvette, but the C8 is also heavier than the C7.
Steering: Steering is responsive and quick, but it lacks some feedback. The squarish steering wheel works nicely but takes some getting used to.
Handling: The Z51 package gives it pro capabilities which we could not exploit, but it cornered flat and exhibited great balance.
Our first priority in a sports car is performance rather than great tech, but the Corvette has to deliver because of its price point. The tech is solid, but it's impeded by the layout of the cabin.
Infotainment System: GM has finally gotten its infotainment system right, and the Corvette' screen is vivid and easy to navigate. Its screen is a bit too glossy and picks up a lot of reflections given its position on the dash.
Controls: The rotary infotaiment control knob actuates well and helps control the system easily while driving. The one aspect that confuses us is the location of the climate controls. It's fun to see it in a single linear arc on the center console, but it's not intuitive. Try figuring it out while you're doing 75 on the highway through traffic. Not fun. The push/pull gear selector switches are interesting. It saves on space, but we'd rather have something more traditional (like a stick shift!).
There probably isn't a teenage boy in our neighborhood who didn't stop to take a selfie. The Corvette looks better in person than in photos, and everyone wants to gawk at it. It's too bad some thought it was a McLaren due to the orange paint. This is the most attention a car can get for $80K. It's not a beautiful car, but it sure gets looks galore.
Front: We wish the front end were a bit more dramatic. Sure, the sweeping headlights look nice, but the hood and front haunches could be more pronounced.
Rear: The back end has a strong presence with its wide stance. Although we're happy to see the center-mounted pipes from the C7 gone, we would've like to see the new quad pipes in round silver versions instead of the black squarish ones. We miss the round taillights from the C6, too. At least the big spoiler adds some flair.
Profile: The C8 looks great from the side with its angular side intakes and great proportions.
Cabin: It really is the best Corvette interior to date, and the LT2 package makes it nicer. It's still a little convoluted for our tastes, but it's an improvement and matches the mid-engine exotic level of the Corvette. Too bad the LT3 package isn't present here with its two-tone leather interior.
The Corvette interior is a good place for 6-footers, surprisingly. Of course, getting in and out is a challenge, but what supercar isn't? You do have to make some compromises in terms of visibility with a mid-engined car, but it's worth the price.
Front Seats: Our optional GT sport bucket seats were perfectly bolstered and well-cushioned. The seating position is excellent.
Rear Seats: This is a two-seater only.
NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): The car is well made and feels solid. Highway speeds don't make it much noisier. In fact, we would've loved to get more of an aural engine sound at lower speeds.
Visibility: Front and side views are good, but side rear and rear are compromised due to the engine. No surprise here.
Climate: The heated and cooled seats work very well, and the climate system is potent. We had no trouble getting the cabin comfy quickly.
Our rating here isn't based on crash tests, which typically aren't conducted for cars of this price. The Corvette has decent optional safety features, thankfully.
IIHS Rating: Not tested.
NHTSA Rating: Not tested.
Standard Tech: The LT2 comes with Active Handling Stability Control, HD Rear Vision Camera, and Rear Park Assist
Optional Tech: Our tester came with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert and Side Blind Zone Alert.
You don't expect supercars to have much in the way of storage capacity, but the Corvette is remarkably good, especially in terms of cargo space. The cabin is on the parsimonious side when it comes to small item binnacles.
Storage Space: There's a cupholder compartment with a retractable door, a small armrest compartment and tiny door pockets. Don't bring along a Big Gulp or a lot of personal electronics.
Cargo Room: Total space in front and back is 12.6 cubic feet. While it's not as big as the C7's trunk, the frunk (front trunk) can hold a couple of grocery bags, and the rear trunk behind the engine can hold a couple of golf bags. Just don't put any perishables in the back because they'll wilt/melt in no time from the heat of that small block V8.
The Corvette is not a miser when it comes to fuel consumption. We were shocked to get double digits, but we didn't get to fully exploit its performance. A mix of highway driving and local driving gave us less than the EPA.
Observed: 10.6 mpg
Distance Driven: 78 miles
The LT2 Preferred Equipment Package provides the Bose Performance Series 14-Speaker Audio System that's specifically designed for the Corvette. The system is quite remarkable and also provides Advanced Staging Technology, Centerpoint, SurroundStage, and AudioPilot that adjusts automatically to the interior noise levels. It's one of the best systems we've ever heard, but the package costs $7,300.