Friday, September 13, 2013

The 2014 Corvette Stingray is Not a Subcompact. It is, However, Awesome.

2014 Corvette Stingray at dusk

No, the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray is not a subcompact. The EPA doesn't classify it as such. And no, I'm not trying to prove a point about classification of a car. I drove a pre-production prototype Corvette Stingray, at the NWAPA Run to the Sun event, and it was awesome.

My dad and his brother (my uncle) both own Corvettes. My dad has a '06; my uncle has a '66 (a 427 convertible, no less). Needless to say, I was looking forward to telling both of them about this ride. However, I figured I'd share my thoughts with ya'll, too. Why not?

2014 Corvette Stingray Interior
The new Corvette is remarkable to say the least. The interior is much improved from the C6. It's comfortable but more modern and has better material quality. Like many new vehicles, the dashboard is an LCD display. It it showcases a digital "analog" tach (e.g. a display of a tachometer), which moves very fluidly. The advantage to these LCD displays is that they can be configured to the driver's liking. You can move things around, change colors, etc. It's neat. I also enjoyed the carbon fiber trim. Enough about that. How does it drive?

Chevrolet Corvette Stingray C7

The 455 horsepower C7 takes all the things you liked about the C6, and takes it to a truly world-class realm. The exhaust note still unmistakably shouts, "AMERICA!" but does so in a way that doesn't sound like, "hold my beer and watch this shit!" That's not to say previous iterations sounded like you cut the mufflers off your Chevy conversion van, but the new Vette's sound is more refined. And, under full giddy-up, it sounds fantastic. Although the car I drove was an automatic, the throttle response was fantastic. This thing hauls ass and sounds amazing doing it. There's a slight burble from the exhaust; some pops and crackles, too. It sounds the way my dad wants his C6 to sound. The car's acceleration is almost violent. Passing power borders on ridiculous. But unlike some other high-powered vehicles, it never feels like it's too much; it never feels too unrefined. Let's put it this way: The SRT Viper might be a sledgehammer, the Mercedes SL63 might be a scalpel. The Corvette falls into a fantastic mix of the two. Brute power, but just enough refinement. By the way, in Eco mode (yes, the Corvette has an Eco mode), this car will get 28 MPG on the highway. That's pretty good. My 200 hp 1998 Honda Prelude never gave me close to 28 MPG even when traveling downhill with a tailwind and being towed by a Prius.

Unfortunately I didn't get to throw it around too many corners; my part of the drive route was on a two-lane road that opened up into a passing lane up a hill. The car does ride surprisingly well on the highway and doesn't beat you up over rough pavement. I'm certain it handles excellently, however.

Chevrolet Corvette Stingray rear 3/4 from McKenzie Pass, Oregon

Honestly, no disrespect to the earlier Corvettes, but the C7 should make many people forget about the stereotypes associated with the Corvette (and its owners). This is a world-class vehicle that can take on the best for about half the cost of many supercars (This version was about $72,500 USD). I can only imagine what the Z06 and ZR1 variants will be like because the standard Corvette Stingray is stunning. May you all get the chance to drive one; it's a phenomenal vehicle ... even if it's not a subcompact.

1 comment:

Killchain said...

You're right.
Sometimes Detroit can make a great car.