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- Highs Killer-sweet powertrain, as grippy as a gecko, eye-catching design.
- Lows Decidedly un-luxe interior, heavy removable targa top, minimal in-cabin storage.
- Verdict Don't believe anyone who says you need to be filthy rich—or an AARP member—to own a sports car or even a supercar.
Forget the Chevrolet bow tie—the 2019 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray's performance puts it on a level with some of the best sports cars in the world. Some of that credibility is thanks to the growling 455-hp V-8 under the hood, which pairs with an excellent manual or automatic transmission. The other part belongs to its fantastic chassis that provides phenomenal ride and handling abilities. Along with its poster-worthy exterior design and legitimately affordable price, the Corvette has again won one of our 10Best Cars awards for 2019, meaning we think it's one of the best cars you can buy. While it enters world-beater status on the 650-hp Z06 and the 755-hp ZR1 versions—both reviewed separately—they cost considerably more and ride less comfortably. Those who want a track-ready Vette without emptying their wallet will appreciate the Grand Sport, which adds bodywork and chassis bits from the 2019 Chevrolet Corvette Z06. The 2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8 will switch to a mid-engined layout and will make its official debut on July 18, 2019. It will go on sale by the end of the year.
What's New for 2019?
The Corvette enters 2019 without any significant changes. The iconic sports car does add two new paint colors—Elkhart Lake Blue and Shadow Gray. The biggest news for Corvette fans is the return of the legendary ZR1 model, with flamboyant styling that matches its astonishing performance. It also nearly set a record lap time at our annual Lightning Lap.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
The Grand Sport coupe, a mind-body melding of the base-model Stingray and the rip-roaring Z06, is our preferred model. It's almost four inches wider than the standard Corvette, employs more aggressive gearing in the manual transmission for quicker acceleration, and includes a dry-sump lubrication system for improved engine reliability under track duress. We'd go light on the rest of the options since standard features include adaptive dampers, two-zone automatic climate control, and dual-mode exhaust. Opting for the eight-speed automatic transmission instead of the seven-speed manual adds $1725 to the cost of the car, but we'd stick with the more involving manual.
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Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Likes: Great V-8 sound, daily-drivable ride quality, Grand Sport provides incredible cornering grip.
Dislikes: Accidentally shifting into seventh gear when trying for fifth, Grand Sport tires generated a lot of road noise.
Eight growling cylinders and 455 restless ponies mean the Corvette is intoxicatingly fun to drive. The V-8's pervasive howl is enough to convince eager drivers that every stop sign is a set of drag-strip Christmas-tree lights. Things quiet down to a tolerable throb at highway speeds. A seven-speed manual is standard, while an eight-speed automatic is available. There's something truly special about cranking through gears in the manual on the way to the Corvette's sub-four-second zero-to-60-mph run—in the lower gears, your neck strains to hold your head up—but the eight-speed is smooth and even quicker in our tests, aiding the Vette in hitting 60 mph in a stunning 3.7 seconds.
We've called its chassis ludicrously capable and its V-8 glorious. The Corvette is brutally quick, handles brilliantly, and stops as if you've driven into wet cement. It's basically a supercar for a fraction of the price of a Ferrari, a McLaren, or a Lamborghini. The Grand Sport's adjustable magnetorheological dampers (optional on all other trims) provide an amazingly compliant and comfortable ride in Tour mode and lock the chassis down progressively in Sport and Track modes. All that grip would be wasted without competent steering, and the Corvette's quick, reactive helm doesn't disappoint. The heft of the steering dials up in Sport and Track modes, while Tour is set to be light enough for comfortable cruising. The Grand Sport further proved its everyday versatility during our 40,000-mile, long-term road test.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
If fuel economy is your primary concern, then you're shopping in the wrong class, pal. Despite working at a disadvantage with its big, naturally aspirated V-8, the Corvette uses advanced technologies and its relatively compact size to achieve passable EPA fuel-economy ratings—and truly impressive results of 27 mpg in our real-world fuel-economy test.
Interior, Infotainment, and Cargo
Likes: Low-slung seating position, desirable standard features, useful cargo storage.
Dislikes: Overwhelming smell of plastic, interior doesn't feel special.
Drivers in search of creature comforts such as 20-way adjustable seats and all-leather dashboards can certainly find them in this class. The Corvette's fittings are a little more modest than its competitors, but that's a perfectly acceptable compromise many will be willing to make for the bargain they're getting on the drivetrain.
Chevrolet's standard touchscreen is easy to use, quick to respond to commands, and loaded with features such as Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a 4G LTE mobile hotspot. The Corvette may be in a class of its own for mass-market sports cars, but the infotainment system's plastic buttons and large graphics look rather cartoonish next to the grown-up center-stack module of the Audi TT RS. Three USB ports—two inside the center console and the other hidden inside a cubby behind the sliding infotainment screen—should keep everyone happy.
Cargo capacity isn't the main concern for most buyers in this category, but the Corvette is a surprisingly good choice for sports-car shoppers who need to carry a lot of gear. Its cargo area is shallow but wide and accommodates as much luggage as the trunk of an M3 sedan. Stowage space inside the cabin is less impressive, but a hidden cubby adds interest and real usefulness.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
The Corvette hasn't been crash-tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. It doesn't offer even one of the driver-assistance features we report on; the car's greatest safety asset is its ability to zig out of danger with the quickness of a viper strike.
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Other carmakers in this set offer longer coverage periods than Chevrolet, but at least the first maintenance service is covered at no cost.
- Limited warranty covers 3 years or 36,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers 5 years or 60,000 miles
- Complimentary maintenance is covered for the first visit