The Corvette is an American icon. When it first appeared in 1953 as a show car, it was met with so much enthusiasm that GM decided to make it into a production model, and it came out later that year. Seven generations later, and it’s still in production, and still loved as much as back then. While many will argue which is the best Vette ever made, I’d have to say without having ever driven another version besides the Corvette C6 ZR1, this is a great American sports car, hell, maybe even an American super car.
While it’s no Ferrari or Lamborghini, the C7 Corvette is well on it’s way to being a contender for bang for your buck. For a cool $51,000 you can be sitting in one. What does that $51,000 get you? I’m glad you asked.
You’re no longer looking at cheap, recycled parts, the same steering wheel as a Chevrolet Malibu, or decent performance. No, you’re looking at a very well crafted machine, filled with luxurious touches, and great overall performance. Looking over this car, GM took in every detail, from the soft touch leather dashboard, to the knobs that control the climate controls, everything feels well thought out, and well executed. The digital gauges add a very nice touch of the future to the cabin, but don’t worry, you still have some analog gauges there as well to even it all out. The seats are very comfortable as well. It didn’t take much to find a comfortable seating position, and while you’re pretty low to the ground, it didn’t feel like it.
Previous years exterior designs were never as controversial as this one. Some may think its too aggressive looking, but I think it looks just right. It has enough aggressiveness to have people take a double take when passing by, which is what the Corvette needed. Yeah, you see Corvettes a lot more than you’ll see Ferrari’s, which is partially the reason why previous generations get overlooked easily. But this one, you need to take a look at again, just to be like, “Wait, this is a Corvette? An American car company built something so exotic looking?” And exotic it is. Over the course of the 16 hours I had this car I had people stopping me, asking me questions about it, heck, some people were even pulling u-turns as the drove by just to get out and look the car over as it was parked on the side of the road.
Now, the performance parts. How can you go wrong with a 6.2 liter V8 pushing out 455 horsepower, 460 if you opt for the performance exhaust as in the car I had. Transmission choices are either a 6-speed automatic with paddle shifters, or a true enthusiasts transmission of a manual 7-speed with active rev-matching. Yes, thats correct, a 7-speed manual in a Corvette. While I’ll say that the 7-speed manual transmission in this car is pretty good, it did feel a tiny bit clunky, and many times I would find it hard to find the gear I was looking for. Trying to get from 2nd into 3rd I’d sometimes end up in 5th, and trying to go from 4th to 5th I’d sometimes end up in 7th, but most of the time, I’d end up somewhere in between. I’m sure with some more time in the car it would all become second nature to me, but it would take some time.
In the center of the car you will find a dial. On that dial you have some options. Weather, Eco, Tour, Sport, and Track. I kept it mainly in 2 modes, Tour and Sport. Tour mode is what I’d like to call your everyday mode. It’s comfortable, smooth, and just overall very pleasant. The exhaust isn’t too loud, unless you really get on it, the ride is very compliant and easy on the hind quarters. This is the kind of mode you use driving around your community neighborhood at the early hours, or if you’re on long road trip.
My favorite mode, however, was Sport. This gave the suspension a more aggressive feel, a little more jarring, but not unbearable. It also tightened up the steering feel and made the exhaust much more pronounced. This is the mode you’d drive in when you want to hear the roar of that LS3 engine, and when you want everyone else to hear it too.
No matter which mode you’re in, planting your foot into the floor will always give you a nice rush. Plant it hard enough and that back end likes to come loose like a wet noodle. Before you know it you’re hitting 60mph, which is claimed to be around 3.8 seconds. Keep that throttle pegged, and you hit triple digits in no time. The engine just begs to keep going, and hearing the noises that it’s emitting makes it very hard to pull that right foot back. But alas, unless you’re on a track you shouldn’t be hitting those speeds, but it sure is fun trying to get up there.
So is this new Corvette a true super car. Of course not. But it’s pretty damn close for what you’re paying for.