America's most enduring sports car, the 2018 Chevrolet Corvette enters its 65th year of production with no intention of settling down. Glorious performance and envious attention are guaranteed to anyone who takes one home.
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2018 Chevrolet Corvette Overview
What's New for 2018
The base Corvette Stingray gains larger tires and standard HD radio. A commemorative Carbon 65 Edition trim package debuts on Grand Sport and Z06 models. An all-new Corvette is allegedly in the works for 2019.
Choosing Your Chevrolet Corvette
Available as two-seat coupe or convertible, the rear-drive Corvette starts out with a 6.2-liter V8 engine that delivers 455 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque. That's enough to take it from zero to 60 mph in as little as 3.7 seconds.
A seven-speed manual transmission with automatic rev-matching comes standard, and an eight-speed automatic with paddle shifters is available for $1,750. With either transmission, the Corvette is EPA-rated at 19 miles per gallon in combined city and highway driving. The Corvette Grand Sport uses this engine, as well.
The line-topping Z06 model carries a supercharged 6.2-liter that makes an astonishing 650 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque. The EPA rates the Z06 at 18 mpg combined with the manual, and 16 mpg combined with the automatic.
The Corvette's deep model lineup consists of the base Stingray, track-oriented Grand Sport, and supercharged Z06. Each comes in three trim levels:
The Z51 Performance Package ($5,000) is optional on all three Stingray trims and adds a limited-slip rear differential with cooler, a dry-sump engine oiling system (to prevent engine oil starvation during high-g track driving), larger brakes, more aggressive suspension tuning, and a sport exhaust system that adds five hp and five lb-ft of torque. Magnetic ride control ($1,795) is also a worthwhile performance option. Competition bucket seats, complete with lightweight magnesium frames, are available for $1,995. Note that the 3LT's performance data recorder is available on the other trims as a standalone $1,795 option.
If performance isn't as important as looks, though, it's worth mentioning the huge array of available aesthetic tweaks. There are 12 total stripe packages with prices ranging from $500 for a small hood stripe to $950 for a more traditional pair of twin Cunningham-like stripes. Painted brake calipers (in red or yellow) are available, as are colored seat belts. And as usual, the Corvette has a huge range of dealer-installed accessories to consider.
Think of the Corvette Grand Sport as a Z06 without the supercharged V8. It's a track weapon, lighter and harder than a standard Corvette Stingray, but without demanding an insane premium for its performance. But despite its much more serious attitude, it retains the same basic packaging as the Stingray.
The Z07 Performance Package ($7,995) tacks on magnetic ride control, carbon-ceramic brakes, and upgraded tires. Exclusive to the Grand Sport is a Heritage Package ($795) featuring fender hash marks and a center stripe (both in your choice of six colors), plus aluminum hash marks and signature floormats for the interior. Other options are shared with the Stingray.
The big daddy. With 650 horsepower, the Corvette Z06 sits at the top of the heap, offering supercar-like performance without reaching into six figures.
The Z07 Performance Package continues as an option on the Z06, along with the competition seats and large selection of appearance items.
The Carbon 65 Edition ($15,000) carries carbon fiber trim throughout and exclusive Ceramic Matrix Gray paint. Available on the Grand Sport 3LT and Z06 3LZ, this package will be limited to 650 numbered installations.
The Corvette can perform well beyond the nerve of most drivers, not to mention any conceivable speed limit. Unless you intend to hit the track regularly, your options budget will be better spent on conveniences than performance upgrades, as temping as they may be.
2018 Chevrolet Corvette Review
The Chevrolet Corvette is a timeless classic with modern touches. It's an affordable sports car with a recognizable style, fun-to-drive characteristics, and available as a hardtop coupe or as a soft-top convertible.
Chevrolet offers the 2018 Corvette in four trims: Stingray, Stingray Z51, Gran Sport, and Z06. Our “best value” pick is the Stingray Z51 Coupe. This model comes with high-intensity discharge (HID) headlights, power-heated and adjustable side mirrors, aluminum wheels set within 19-inch performance tires (20-inch tires on the rear), Chevrolet MyLink with an 8.0-inch color screen, a nine-speaker Bose audio system, navigation, and a rearview camera.
This model’s Z51 Performance Package brings in upgraded brakes, a performance suspension, performance gear ratios, a dual-mode performance exhaust, an electronic limited slip differential, transmission and rear differential cooling features, and an aero package with a rear spoiler.
- Model: 2018 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Z51 coupe
- Engine: 6.2-liter V8 engine
- Output: 460 hp/465 lb-ft
- Transmission: Seven-speed manual
- Drivetrain: Rear-wheel drive
- MPG: 16 city/25 highway
- Options: Wing-Style Spoiler with Wicker Package ($1,100, body-color wing rear spoiler, wicker bill), Competition Sport Bucket Seats ($1,955), the bucket seats also require choosing the Jet Black interior color with leather seats with suede microfiber inserts ($695) and a a suede microfiber-wrapped steering wheel ($0)
- Base Price: $56,590 (including a $1,095 destination charge)
- Best Value Price:$64,280
The Corvette offers a pair of 6.2-liter V8 engines. One is naturally aspirated, the other has a supercharger.
The standard engine makes 460 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque. Chevrolet pairs this engine with a seven-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic transmission. This model makes an EPA-estimated 16 miles per gallon in the city and 25 mpg on the highway. The supercharged V8 makes an even 650 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque. It offers the same transmission pairings. Fuel economy comes in at 13 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway for models equipped with the automatic transmission.
No matter how equipped, we found all Corvettes deliver hardcore performance. Quick work of the manual transmission powers the Corvette from zero to 60 mph in just 3.8 seconds, one-tenth of a second slower than the automatic. We found the electric assist power steering accurate with a pleasant amount of feedback. The clutch is soft with seamless uptake. You’ll attack turns with confidence and leave with precision.
The sleek style of the Corvette underscores why this is America’s only true sports car. Sure, you can include the Ford GT if you want, but the Corvette is attainable, while the GT is not. As for the Dodge Viper, it’s no longer built.
The Corvette’s race car lines have evolved nicely over the years and the hatchback body style provides a surprisingly roomy place to store your luggage. Every square inch of the Corvette’s body screams “speed,” something the ‘Vette confirms on the road.
Getting in and out of the Corvette takes effort, but once inside you’ll find the seats very comfortable, even with the base seats. The Z51 comes with upgraded bucket seats, offering improved comfort and support. We found the interior sharp and modern with high-quality materials throughout. Yet, it doesn’t match the fit and finish of Porsche, although its multiple storage areas including the nifty hidden storage compartment behind the center console are pluses we like.
The Best and Worst Things
The available Performance Data and Video Recorder ($1,669) didn’t make our cut of recommended options, but it's something you’ll want if you like to record video and lap times. Not everything about the Corvette is ideal, however. We think an available twin-turbo V6 is a natural complement that has yet to find its way into this model. Precisely tuned, it should match the power of the V8, while delivering improved fuel economy.
Right For? Wrong For?
Corvette enthusiasts, as 65 years of Corvette culture is all over this model. It remains the epitome of what Americans expect, a low-cost option to Ferrari and other European models.
The individual looking for advanced safety features, as these are not offered with the Corvette: lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, and automatic emergency braking. Furthermore, the Corvette has never been crash tested.
The Bottom Line
Make no mistake, the Chevy Corvette is in a league of its own, at least among American-designed models. Its reasonably low starting price makes it attainable, something few competitors can claim. If you want a supercar, the Z06 has what you want.
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