Chevrolet Corvette Review
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In 1953, the Chevrolet Corvette was the first all-American sports car built by an American car manufacturer. Since that time it has gone on to become an icon of the “American muscle car.” Previously known for it’s engineering simplicity and focus on sheer brute engine performance, since its redesign in 2005, the Corvette has found a new balance between style and performance. Now easier to drive, greatly refined, with better handling, and more powerful than its previous versions, the Chevrolet Corvette is now more than ever a world-class sports car, and an excellent choice for its price.
See also the main fact sheet for the Chevrolet Corvette.
High Points (C6)
- High performance Suspension but comfortable to drive
- Handling is more refined than previous models,especially the ZR1 trim
- Improved interior
- Outstanding performance for its price
- Heritage and charisma
- Fun,classic oversteer
High Points (C5)
- Value for money
High Points (C1)
- Affordable price for a supercar
- Straight line performance
- Sportier than Ford Thunderbird
- Interior design
Low Points (C6)
- Some will find its size ponderous in tight turns (Kelley Blue Book)
- Steering isn't as intimate as some competitor's (Edmunds.com)
- Audio system looks cheap (The Car Connection)
- Idling engine noise and vibration is very noisy (Cars.com)
- Air conditioning is weak
- Too wide for European roads
- Reliability issues
- Glass engine cover on ZR1 trim is controversial
Low Points (C5)
Low Points (C1)
Performance and Handling
Whether cruising down the highway or pushing your limits on a race track, the current Corvette is much easier to drive than the old one. Indeed, the pre-2005 models feel dated by comparison. The C6 rides nicer, handles better and generates more grip. When driven hard, it's more forgiving than the old C5. It inspires more confidence than the old one.
The low, throaty roar of the LS3 V8 in the standard Corvette coupe and Convertible sounds great, and that sound is accompanied by truly thrilling acceleration. The LS3 V8 displaces 6.0 liters (364 cubic inches) and generates 400 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque. The standard Corvettes can accelerate from 0-60 mph in 4.0 seconds and cover the standing quarter-mile in 12.5 seconds. There's lots of torque at all engine speeds.
The new six-speed automatic and the six-speed manual are each appealing in their own right, so choosing between them comes down to priorities and personal preference. The manual is now a much more viable option as a daily driver than it was on the previous generation. It shifts easier and the clutch is easier to operate smoothly. Still, the automatic is best for commuting in stop-and-go traffic, and it gives up little to the manual in performance. Either one is a good choice.
The new Corvette is more agile and easier to toss around than the previous-generation model, benefits of its lighter weight, trimmer proportions and refined suspension. Though based on the C5 architecture, the basic structure has been extensively revised for the C6. Chassis engineers were able to reduce weight substantially, helping offset weight gains from larger wheels and tires, bigger brakes, sound-deadening measures and interior features. The coupe weighs a trim 3,179 pounds.
On the road, the C6 feels more refined. It's quieter, smoother and tighter, with less cowl shake than before. We liked the standard suspension and would not hesitate to order a Corvette so equipped. Ride quality of the C6 is firm but quite pleasant, not harsh. It offers great handling, even on a racing circuit.
The brakes are smooth and progressive, and easy to modulate. The C6 is very stable under hard braking and the car doesn't get unsettled when braking and turning at the same time. The brakes are bigger than before. New ducting front and rear helps keep them cool, but you have to lie down on the ground to see it. The Z51 gets bigger brake rotors to reduce fade with repeated hard braking.
The Z06 is the most powerful production Corvette ever, boasting 505 horsepower. Its new LS7 V8 displaces 7.0 liters, or 427 cubic inches. While the LS7 generates big block torque (470 pound-feet), it's actually a small block V8, so it's lighter and much more compact than the original 427s. However, it's still an overhead-valve engine, and in certain respects it has more in common with a heavy-duty Silverado pickup than a Ferrari. Yet the LS7 is impressively tuned and highly refined. The Z06 features a host of racing technologies that enhance durability, including dry sump engine lubrication and separate cooling systems for the oil, power steering, rear axle and six-speed manual transmission.
The springs and shocks in the Z06 suspension are about 15 percent stiffer than those with the optional Z51 performance suspension for the standard Corvette. The cross-drilled brake rotors are larger, with high-performance six-piston calipers in front and four-piston calipers in the rear. The Z06 has a fixed roof, rather than a removable panel like the standard coupe, for a bit more overall structural stiffness. Its frame is made entirely of lightweight aluminum and magnesium, rather than high-strength steel, and its fenders are lightweight carbon fiber rather than fiberglass. As a result, the Z06 is substantially lighter than the standard Corvette coupe, even though its engine, transmission and other super high-performance components are substantially heavier.
With the new 2008 C6 Z06 rocketing from 0-60 in 3.5 seconds (Motor Trend), it is 0.1 of a second slower than the much-revered Porsche 911 GT2, faster than the Ferrari F430 by 0.5 of a second, and also faster than the Lamborghini Gallardo by 0.5 seconds. The Corvette C6 Z06 laps the Nürburgring Nordschleife in a blithering 7:42.9 minutes, putting it ahead of many prestigious cars in Europe such as the Porsche 996 GT3 RS (MOTOR Magazine), Lamborghini Murcielago (Autocar Magazine 02), Pagani Zonda C12 S, Aston Martin V8 Vantage N24, Gemballa Porsche GTR 600, Mercedes CLK 63 AMG Black Series, McLaren F1, (Estimated lap time from a video available at www.pistonheads.tv), Porsche 997 GT3 RS, Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera, Porsche 996 GT2, Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano, and the Mercedes CLK DTM AMG. Keep in mind that all of these exorbitantly priced cars are either twice or more expensive than the Corvette C6 Z06. The only car can match the Corvette C6 Z06 in both performance and price is the Nissan GTR R35. This is a topic hotly debated within car enthusiasts.
The Chevrolet Corvette comes standard with the following features:
- Driver and passenger front and airbags
- Tire Pressure Monitor System
- Anti-lock brakes (ABS)
- Traction control
Driver and passenger, side-impact airbags are standard on the convertible but optional on the ZO6 and base models.
Reliability and Maintenance
GM vehicles registered in the U.S.A. are covered for 3 years/36,000 miles. The complete vehicle is covered, including tires, towing to your nearest Chevrolet dealership and cosmetic corrosion resulting from defects. Repairs will be made to correct any vehicle defect, and most warranty repairs will be made at no charge. In addition, rust-through corrosion will be covered for 6 years/100,000 miles and powertrain will be covered for 5 years/100,000 miles.
Interior and Comforts
Inside the 2006 Corvette is a relatively small steering wheel, measuring just 9.4 inches in diameter. The new wheel looks less like something that belongs in a Suburban and more like one that belongs in a sports car, even a Ferrari. Yet it still feels good in the hands, and it affords a good view of the instruments.
There's no need to take the key out of your pocket to unlock the Corvette or start its engine. Simply walk up and pull the door handle. Sensors detect your key and unlock the door. Climb in, buckle up, and press the starter button.
The cockpit no longer looks like an upgraded Camaro inside. The cabin features premium soft surfaces, nice grain in the materials and elegant tailoring. The dashboard is finished in a soft material that feels rich to the touch. Real metal accents are used, but they don't generate glare. The electronics displays serve the driver without getting in the way.
The seats are comfortable and easier to adjust than those in past Corvettes. Sitting in the Corvette still evokes that feeling of sitting deep down in a massive machine, but there's more headroom than ever, and the windshield doesn't seem as close to the driver's face. Hefty side bolstering on the optional sport seats, even more so with those in the Z06, makes it more difficult to slide in, but the bolsters squeeze around the thighs and torso and hold the driver like Velcro.
The instruments are big analog gauges that are easy to read at a glance. The Z06 gets a unique cluster with more gauges. The Corvette is, thankfully, devoid of a lot of digital readouts. One exception is the head-up display, which projects speed, rpm and even g-forces onto the windshield, a handy and entertaining feature.
The Convertible's five-layer fabric top is available in four colors, and it features an option not offered in a Corvette since 1962: power operation. The power top operates with a single-button control and completes its cycle in 18 seconds. An easy-to-operate manual top is standard.
The Convertible looks good with the top up, and it looks terrific with the top down, with body-color trim that gives it the racy appearance of an open-cockpit Le Mans prototype. Naturally, the convertible gives up some cargo capacity. It offers 10.5 cubic feet of storage with the top up, which isn't bad for a roadster, and just 5.1 with the top down. The coupe offers 22.4 cubic feet of trunk space, more than most sports cars.
The exposed headlights usually draw the first comments. Since the early 1960s, Corvettes used hideaway headlamps to complement their sleek designs, but advances in optics and lighting technology now enable designers to achieve those goals with exposed headlights. From an engineering standpoint, the new headlamps are better than the old hideaways: They are lighter, which means less weight hanging out over the front wheels.
The C6 is fully 5 inches shorter than the C5 (3 inches shorter in front, 2 inches shorter in the rear), and the standard models are one inch narrower. Smaller size and lighter weight improve agility. The C6 also cuts a tighter profile, and it does all that without eliminating usable interior space.
The C6 body work is smoother aerodynamically and generates less lift in front than the C5, which results in better grip and increased stability at high speeds. The sculpted fenders, sharp creases that sweep dramatically up to the planed rear deck and other aspects of the design call to mind race cars as well as jet fighters. The narrower rear end is the biggest improvement from a styling standpoint, offering more pleasing proportions. The four jeweled taillights make the new Corvette look like an F18 taking off in full afterburner mode.
The headlights are only one part of Chevrolet's efforts to trim weight from the front of the Corvette. Rather than being attached directly behind the engine, the transmission is mounted behind the seats and connected to the differential. In the Z06, this quest for front-rear balance extends to the weight of the battery, which is relocated from under the hood to the rear cargo area. The Z06 is distinguished from other 2006 Corvettes by lots of subtle appearance tweaks, starting with the roof. The Z06 roof is fixed rather than removable, to add an extra element of structural stiffness for track driving.
In front, the Z06 has a wider, lower grille and a separate, unique air scoop above the bumper to shove more intake air under the hood. Its fenders are wider front and rear to cover massively wide tires and rims (the rear wheels are fully 12 inches wide, or two inches wider than those on the standard Vette). In back, the Z06 spoiler is slightly more prominent, and its exhaust outlets are wider, too. There are also several Z06 body and chassis changes that aren't apparent to the eye. The Z06 frame is made entirely of hydro-formed aluminum (the standard Vettes have steel rails), with a magnesium engine cradle, and its fenders are formed from ultra-light carbon fiber. As a result, and despite a much heavier engine and drivetrain, the Z06 weighs 50 pounds less than a standard Corvette coupe.
Styles and Options
The Chevrolet Corvette is available as a coupe, convertible, or ZO6 coupe.
Have the same trim level coming standard with:
- 400-hp LS2 6.0L aluminum-block V8 engine
- Short-throw six-speed manual transmission
- Removable roof panel
- Active Handling System
- Oil life monitoring system
- 18" x 8.5" front and 19" x 10.0" rear, five-spoke Painted Aluminum wheels
- Goodyear Eagle F1 245/40ZR-18 front & 285/35ZR-19 rear tires
- Keyless Access with Push-Button Start
- Leather seating surfaces
The race performance version of the Corvette adding:
- 505-hp LS7 7.0L V8 engine
- Polished stainless exhaust steel tips
- Aluminum frame
- Z06 exhaust system
- 18" x 9.5" front and 19" x 12.0" rear, ten-spoke painted aluminum wheels
- Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar 275/35ZR-18 front & 325/30ZR-19 rear tires
- Head-Up Display
- Perforated leather seating surfaces
- Dodge Viper: side-by-side comparison
- Chrysler Crossfire SRT-6: side-by-side comparison
- Mercedes-Benz SLK350: side-by-side comparison
- Mercedes-Benz SLK55 AMG: side-by-side comparison
- Porsche Boxster S: side-by-side comparison
- Porsche 911: side-by-side comparison
- BMW M3: side-by-side comparison
WikiCars Contributor Favorites
- C3 Corvette Registry - Model years 1968-1982
- 35thRegistry.com - C4 1988 35th Anniversary Edition Registry
- Carweekly.co.uk - Lance Armstrong drives Corvette
- Muscle Car Facts - A year by year account of one of Corvette
- Motorera.com - Year-by-year history
- CorvetteGuys.com - Corvette parts and accessories
- Fastcoolcars.com - 1988 Callaway Sledgehammer Corvette at 254mph
Chevrolet Manufacturer Sites
- Chevrolet Corvette - Official US Site
- Corvettemuseum.com - National Corvette Museum (Bowling Green, Ky)
- CorvetteForum.com - An independent Corvette enthusiast site and club
- AUTIV: 1957 Chevrolet Corvette SS - History of the 1957 Corvette SS, an experimental Corvette race car built by Chevrolet engineers
- Zercustoms.com - 2006 Chevrolet Corvette Z06
- MotorCity - C4 Corvette Facts