Chevrolet Corvette Test Drive

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We’ve all seen it before. There isn’t anything really new about the current model.
An all new one is due next year, so the 2012 Corvette looks very familiar.
I do like the design, even though I think it is time for the Corvette to stand out more. Way more.
And from what I’ve seen so far, the next one will probably look like an evolution of the current design.Again…

Even though it’s been out for years, it does get looks. Which I was surprised.
The only think I really didn’t like was the optional dark wheels on my test car. ( I would save the $350)

The interior is also familiar, of course.
Many people seem to hate it. I think it is just fine.
Everything feels solid and well put together, the leather dash is a nice touch. And the Carbon fiber finish on the console looks fine.
It doesn’t look like a Porsche or an Audi R8, that’s for sure. But it is also much cheaper.
The trunk space is fine for a sports car. Except when you use it to store the removable roof panel.
After that there is only a small space behind the seats available for storage.
But that roof panel is well worth it. It really turns the car into a convertible in just about a minute.


-Ride and steering.
The ride is actually very comfortable. Even when you switch it to the “sport” mode.
Which doesn’t seem to firm things up that much.
You do seat very low, of course, and the view from the big hood up front can be quite daunting for those of us used to smaller sporty cars. But that’s a big part of the Corvette personality, I think.

The steering feels great. Actually lighter than you would expect. And very accurate.

I just wish the steering wheel itself didn’t remind me of the $24000 Pontiac Solstice it came from…

With 430hp from a giant 6.2 Liter V8 engine, there is pretty much always a lot of power.
Something most people will never use on a daily basis.
I know this will seem like blasphemy just mentioning it, but a smaller engine might do just fine. This is 2012 after all.
You can get great performance and kick in the pants feel with a smaller more modern powertrain.
But I guess the Corvette isn’t about that…
The car is rated at 16/26MPG.
I got between 16 and 18 in the City. Which is actually really good. Comparable or better than most V6s would get.
And a hair over 27 on the highway.

The 6 speed manual is easy and fun to operate. Except when it forces you to go from 1st to 3rd every time you rev the engine a little.
Which is a pain.I have to say.
Manuals are for people who don’t like a car to tell them when to change gear, so I really don’t see the point of that annoying feature.
Which I also experienced in the V8 Camaro.


The Corvette is a fun car to drive, there is no doubt about that.
Even my daily driving, going to work, running errands brought a smile on my face every time. And I didn’t ned to go fast to have a good time.
I just think it needs a more striking design. Maybe something retro.
These early ones from the 50’s and 60’s were so amazing looking. (Watch the one Mike Hammer drives in “Kiss Me Deadly”)

The Corvette starts at just under $50 000, but mine was about $63 000.
The new Porsche 911 starts at $80 000.

So the Corvette could be seen as a great value. But it’s personality isn’t for everyone.

Conversation 11 comments

  1. The wheels made the car look very plain and emphasize the lack of chrome. It is a very plain looking sports car.

  2. That "lets forget about a few gears" and force you to shift into third or fourth is called CAGS. The whole reason its there is to get better gas mileage from the factory by forcing a shift into economy gears as soon as possible so they can publish better numbers for CAFE reasons as so it doesn't fall under the gas guzzler tax. It's the same reason why there are a bunch of econoboxes built to offset one gas guzzler.

  3. Vince, How were the seats? Everyone complains about the lack of lateral support. These seats look a little different from the earlier "current" model I've seen.

  4. How does it make you shift from 1st to 3rd?

    I've always liked the exterior style of this Corvette. The interior used to be unacceptable. They've improved it dramatically, but it's time for a new one.

  5. Very fair review, Vince, and I agree with everything you said. As a Vette owner, I really love them all. But like you, I feel it is time for more dramatic styling.

  6. I agree with you. I rented a c5 back in 2000 for three days and was impressed with the ride (much more refined than the 740 volvo I had), roominess, and most of all the engine. Back then it was only pushing 350 hp, but I told my friend I'd better not buy one lest I end up in jail the next day. So much power! Equally impressive was how smooth the engine was at idle, like a lexus v8.

    Most importantly tho, I'm with you: I don't understand why every single magazine writer/editor bags it for cheap interior and bad seats. Quality was, again, much better than what my volvo had to offer.

    Only hiccup was the rear really likes to skip (straights, turns…if I ran over a leaf, it would skip) even at legal speeds, and the fuel guage kept saying empty even though it wasn't. Not a big deal really. People who say the vette is not reliable haven't had the dis-pleasure of owning Merc's C class or anything from VW. Rattles? Nope, which is impressive for a rental (not hertz btw, was from an independent, 6sp manual and all).

    I haven't driven a C6, but I imagine it's even better. People should drive this excellent piece of engineering before commenting. I test drove a 2007 997 gt3 last month, and the body did not feel as stiff (or as I remember it).

  7. A car I have never wished to own or test drive. I do not know why. May be because, when I was young I could not afford it and now that I am getting older, I do not wish to join the midlife crisis crowd….

  8. Vince, in regards to the transmisson, can you clarify what you mean when you say it "forces" you into 3rd from 1st? Is there a mechanical block that physically blocks out the ability to shift into 2nd or that 1st and 2nd are really close to one another?

    – FusioptimaSX

  9. Corvettes should have better quality interiors with premium switches and distinctive steering wheels than using parts bin components from cheaper models.

  10. I believe the 1 to 3 skip shift is a CAFE thing. When just puttering around town, a computer locks out the 2nd gear gate and you go from 1 to 3rd gear. I believe it used to be a 1 to 4 skip shift. When driving aggressively, the computer allows you to go through all the gears. I thought I read somewhere that you could get an ecu reflash to get rid of the skip shift (aftermarket) but I'm not sure. I wonder if the next 7 speed manual will have skipshift? I hope not.

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