The 7th-generation Corvette came onto the scene in 2014 wearing all new bodywork, and a promise to be a world-class sports car. Many enthusiasts balked at the new design, which included a different style for the taillights. But what people who downplay the new car fail to realize is how awesome the new Stingray is. It’s one of the best cars, and best values, on sale today.
(Full Disclosure: For the Hespen Rally to promote bile duct cancer awareness I asked for a car to participate in. Chevrolet sent me a Corvette. I had been wanting to have one in for review for awhile, and it was an awesome four days.)
It’s difficult to drive a convertible on a nice sunny day and not say anything bad about it. I’m aware of that going into this review. My time with the car was almost entirely sunny, but when they called for rain, it all disappeared before arriving at my house. It’s almost like the car could control the weather.
Corvette Stingray Engine and Transmission
Powering the 2016 Corvette Stingray Convertible is a 6.2L LT1 V8 engine making 460 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque. That’s 5 more than what you normally get because our test car was equipped with the Multi-Mode Performance Exhaust.
The standard transmission for the Corvette is a 7-speed manual transmission with active rev-matching. We’ve driven a Corvette with that transmission before, and were quite happy with it.
However, in this Corvette was GM’s new performance 8-speed automatic. According to the boffins at GM, the transmission in this car will execute a gearshift faster than Porsche’s famous PDK dual-clutch. Based on how quickly it’d shift at full-throttle, we have no reason not to believe GM’s claim.
The transmission is great. It’s programming is intelligent. It’s smooth in town, but aggressively shifts when it needs to. The only downside is the paddle operation.
Like many cars with automatic transmissions these days, the Corvette Stingray has two steering-wheel mounted paddles to select up a gear or down a gear. In a car like the Charger Scat Pack we reviewed recently, there is very little time between pulling the paddle and the car executing the gear change. In the Corvette, there is more lag than we’d like from asking for a gear and getting that gear.
That’s not to say the transmission is slow; when it changes it changes quickly. It just takes a bit longer than we’d like to register that the driver wants the gear change.
What would we buy? Well the enthusiast in us would opt for the manual transmission, but if you went for the automatic there are worse ways to spend your money.
Corvette Stingray Exterior
The car looks fantastic. If you look at it and you don’t think so, you’re wrong. It’s just that simple. It’s low to the ground, has an aerodynamic shape and sharp edges. It looks like it was designed in a wind tunnel, because it was. Even the quad tailpipes look great in person.
Also, it looks great as a convertible. It’s difficult for many convertibles to look as good with the top up as it does down, but the Corvette Stingray is one of those. As an added bonus, you can operate the top from the key fob, or while the vehicle is in motion up to 30 miles per hour.
Since our review unit didn’t have the Z51 package, it’s missing some of the aero bits from the performance version. But it still looks great.
Corvette Stingray Interior
This is the best Corvette interior ever. We didn’t have the optional Competition Seats, and we were perfectly comfortable. The seats are powered and the bolstering can still be adjusted. They are heated and cooled, and have a memory function.
The rest of the interior is leather-clad and looks great. Controls are easy to reach for the driver, and there’s even a separate control near the passenger-side air vents to control the passenger temperature and heated and cooled seat functions.
One of the coolest interior features is the fold down navigation screen. Simply press a button and the screen drops down to reveal a cubby holder big enough to store things securely. There’s even a USB port in there. It’s a James Bond-type feature, and we love it.
Now, is the interior worth the asking price of the car with the 3LT package? Yes, we think so. We’ve been in nicer interiors for the price, but we aren’t in cars that have nearly the same level of performance as the Corvette Stingray has.
As for the Competition Seats, we’ve been in and driven Corvettes them. They are also heated and cooled, power adjustable, and have side-bolster adjustability. We were comfortable in those as well, so pick the seats you like.
Corvette Stingray Performance
Chevrolet claims the Corvette Stingray, with the 8-speed automatic, will do the run to 60 miles per hour in less than 4 seconds. We believe them. While the car only has 460 horsepower (remember, we live in a world where Dodge makes a 707 horsepower sedan), the Corvette is light and puts the power down well. You can thank the sticky Michelins our test car had.
The suspension rides nice, if a bit on the soft side. Since we didn’t have the Z51 performance package, our review unit didn’t have the MagneRide magnetorheological ride control dampers that you can get with the Z51. For an everyday cruiser, not having MagneRide is fine. If you are going to hit the canyon roads or the race track, you should go for the Z51 with MagneRide.
The Z51 adds dry-sump lubrication to the engine, which is good for the track. The MagneRide dampers are super cool, being just as soft on the daily commute as the standard setup (perhaps even more comfortable), but stiffening up quickly for the performance drive.
The stock setup is fine, just if you want more goodness, the upgrades are worth the price of admission.
Corvette Stingray Fuel Economy
It’s a sports car, who cares about… HOLY CRAP 31 MPG!! The EPA window sticker fuel economy numbers for our review Stingray convertible were 16 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway, for a combined score of 20 mpg. But here’s the thing, we drove over 100 miles in varying types of traffic in Eco mode, and had over 31 mpg indicated. We also know drivers with the 7-speed manual who frequently see fuel economy numbers in the 30s.
Yes friends, you can buy a sports car with near-supercar performance that has the same fuel economy as many mid-size sedans. You can have your proverbial cake and eat it, too.
Corvette Stingray Reliability
It should be noted that there have been a few hiccups with the Corvette since launch, with Car and Driver‘s long-term tester needing a replacement engine. We aren’t concerned about the long-term reliability of the car, but it is something worth mentioning.
In our driving the only hiccups we had were related to the MyLink infotainment system, which was a little slower to respond than we’d like to commands. But everything worked as it was supposed.
Additionally, after some spirited driving, the transmission tunnel was noticeable warm. We didn’t notice it under normal driving, but since we sit so close to it, you could feel the head radiating from it. That being said, the Corvette is designed to run at high temperatures without issues, so we aren’t worried.
Corvette Stingray Price and Options
Considering this car has Porsche 911 levels of performance, it’s a pretty good bargain. But it still ain’t cheap. To get into our test car, you need $73,455. The Stingray convertible starts at $59,400 and has some great standard features.
To get to our as-tested price, you need a few options;
- 3LT Preferred Equipment Group – Navigation, Performance Data Recorder, Power Seats with Memory, Color Head-Up Display (which is FANTASTIC), Curb-View Cameras (a must): $9,745
- 8-Speed Paddle Shift Automatic Transmission: $1,725
- Exhaust, Multi-Mode Performance (also a must): $1,195
- Sueded Microfiber Seat: $395
- Destination and Delivery: $995
Where I live, that is as much as a house. But compared to the competition, this car is a steal.
Corvette Stingray Final Verdict
This is a car you can live with everyday. It’s great in the sun. It’s great in the rain. It’s great driving to the grocery store (though with the convertible, you don’t have a lot of trunk space). It’s great driving through the canyons.
Buy this car. You won’t regret it.
- Great looks.
- Great performance.
- Comfortable and easy to live with.
- Great technology.
- Stellar fuel economy for a sports car.
- MyLink slow to respond to commands.
- Transmission not as quick to respond to paddle shift requests.