The most American sports car is an Olympic-level athlete and supermodel in one.
– Cleveland, Ohio
It was fun to be a part of the Corvette Owner’s Club, if only for a week while I reviewed this 2016 Stingray model with Z51 Performance package. Everyone seemed to like me more when they thought I owned a Corvette. I got friendly waves from fellow owners as we passed each other on two-lane roads, and non-owners were always chatting me up or throwing thumbs-up from afar. Apparently, a Corvette is the anti-BMW in regards to what people think when they see you driving one.
The positive PR for your personal brand alone makes it worthy of consideration, but there’s so much more that’s good here. Seriously, my list of cons below is weak because there just aren’t many. The bottom line is you won’t be disappointed if you pull the trigger on a Corvette.
- The best part about the Corvette’s engine is turning it on and hearing the music of those eight American-made cylinders. My neighbors crossed fences when they heard it start up, and I always did it with the driver’s door open so I could hear, too. It’s also pretty amazing this old-school 6.2-liter V8 can give you 460 horsepower one minute and hit nearly 30 miles per gallon on the highway the next.
- Before my neighbors even heard the Vette’s exhaust, they saw the car parked in my driveway and ogled it inappropriately from afar. This seventh-generation design is the sports car America deserves and, despite looking angular from some perspectives, is actually more curvy and sensual when you look closely. This is especially true from behind the wheel where I was surprised to see the beautiful line of the hood flowing over the wheels and engine.
- I was worried about how comfortable the Corvette would be to drive on a daily basis, but it turned out alright thanks to the Mode Selector that offers Weather, Eco, Tour, Sport, and Track settings. I mostly used the middle three. Tour and Eco are basically the same except the latter more aggressively activates cylinder deactivation to save fuel. Both give the Corvette as comfortable a ride as possible (thanks to those trick Magnetic Ride Control dampers) considering its wide wheels and low-profile tires, as well as slows down the steering response. Sport mode brings out the Corvette’s true sports car character and was perfect on my favorite driving roads, while Track mode is – no joke – for the track only.
- I can’t abdicate my duty as an automotive journalist by not mentioning the Corvette’s interior: it’s not all that great. It’s fine, even good, but it’s no better than the best Mustang interior can be and not as good as the finest interiors from sports cars that hail from Germany. It’s not the materials, or even the fit and finish; my beef is mainly with the drab design and the fact there are bits that have been carried over from cheaper cars in the General Motors stable.
- This isn’t a con so much as a personal preference: I wouldn’t order the Z51 Performance Package and you should consider passing on it too if you don’t plan to drive this car on the track. It’s a great deal for an extra $5,000 and comes with impressive hardcore performance hardware for the money, none of which is that useful on the streets (unless you intend on breaking the law a lot) and some of which makes the car less comfortable to drive. The downside: you don’t get access to the excellent Magnetic Ride Control dampers, which add another $1,795 to the price, without first paying for the Z51 Performance Package. Boo.
Photos: John Neff / Motor1.com
Gallery: 2016 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Z51: Review