2014 Chevrolet Corvette

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.

2013 Hot Wheels Edition Chevrolet Camaro

When I was a little boy, I remember thinking to myself, “Gee, wouldn’t it be wonderful if I could shrink down in size so I could fit inside my Hot Wheels cars so I could drive them around and do the loop!” Well, since that is pretty much impossible, Chevrolet and Hot Wheels teamed up to bring us something us adults can actually fit into. For many, this is a dream come true, for others, its just another way to make some money from some suckers. While at first I was a little skeptical of this appearance only package upgrade, after driving around for a day, it brought me back to my childhood days. Now, you can get the package on any version of the Camaro, but if you want to have the most fun, I’d advise you to get it on the SS. For some pretext, I drove the original 2010 Camaro SS when it first reappeared back in 2009.
chevy-camaro-ss-2010While it was a vast improvement over the previous generation of Camaro, I felt a bunch of things lacking. The steering felt numb, the shifter was clunky, and you just felt generally unconnected to the ground and the car. While the car was plenty quick, I got bored of driving it just as quickly. It just didn’t feel like a driver’s car.

Fast forward to 2013, and with the addition of some new updated parts, I can say that the steering feel, shifter feel, and connectedness on this 2013 Hot Wheels Edition Camaro SS is much better. Overall feel for the road has increased, as well as responsiveness. Rather than feeling like I was just floating on the road, I can feel what lies beneath, and can get a better connection to the car. A nice added feature to 2013 is the dual-mode exhaust, which basically lets the Camaro be nice and quiet, until you really get on the gas, and what a wonderful sound does that make! It’s no wonder why people get into so much trouble in these types of cars, it begs to be opened up, and listened to.

One must be careful, however, as the rear end likes to break loose with any kind of overzealous right foot, even with traction control on. But if you want to leave a nice double solid black line, traction control can be defeated, and the burning of rubber can commence.

Now back to the dream as a kid driving a Hot Wheels car. Being in this car, and seeing the kind of attention it got surely felt good. The Kinetic Blue Metallic paint when properly polished up looks beautiful, and while its not Spectraflame, it sure does get the job done of standing out. This Hot Wheels car has their logo emblazoned all over the car. There are embroidered seats, aluminum door sills, and emblems everywhere to let you, and everyone else around you, know that you’re driving around in a Hot Wheels branded car. To make it even more complete, they gave this edition a nice classic Hot Wheels feature, Redline wheels, albeit subtle Redlines, that really only true Hot Wheels fans will notice and appreciate. Oh, and there’s one more thing, Hot Wheels even put into production a 1/64th scale mainline diecast car replicating the real life sized Hot Wheels Camaro, which you see in the photos.

So, is this a car for the masses? No. Will it appeal to everyone? No. Would I buy one with my own money? Sure, if I had plenty of it. It could be a great heirloom to pass onto future generations of Hot Wheels collectors. But beyond that special feeling that you are driving a true to life Hot Wheels, this is nothing more than a gussied up Camaro, which I’m sure one day, maybe, will become a collectible.

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