2020 Chevrolet Corvette Impresses In First Reviews

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Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

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, Automotive Editor - February 25, 2020

Everyone’s been waiting for Chevrolet to introduce a mid-engine Corvette for decades. Chevy finally answered the call with the 2020 C8 Corvette, moving the American sports car to a mid-engine layout and giving it a complete overhaul in the design department. All of the changes were made to make the C8 Corvette more of a performance vehicle, while simultaneously moving the nameplate upstream. Laudable goals, but have they worked? The first set of reviews are in for the 2020 Corvette and things certainly look good.

The move to a mid-engine layout was completed in the name of performance – the Corvette is a high-performance sports car, after all. One of the pros that all outlets noted with placing the engine in the middle of the car are much better performance. In a straight line, Chevy’s quoting a time of 2.9 seconds. Edmunds got a time of 3.2 seconds in its independent testing, but that’s still plenty quick, and much quicker than a similarly equipped C7 Corvette.

With a 50:50 weight distribution, braking is good, too. Under heavy braking, outlets noted that the C8 Corvette remained straight and brought the sports car down from high speeds with little drama. But both Car & Driver and Edmunds noted that the C7 Corvette was better at braking. In Edmunds’ testing, the C8 Corvette managed to stop from 60 mph in 105 feet. The 2019 Corvette was able to make the same stop in just 95 feet.

Handling and stability have drastically improved for the C8 Corvette over previous generations. MotorAuthority claims that the new Corvette turns into corners crisply, while still making it easy for drivers to catch the rear end if the vehicle beings to slide. The previous C7 Corvette was trickier to manage at the limit. Edmunds managed to get a figure of 1.09 g in corners, which is a number that’s in line with more expensive vehicles.

Chevrolet Corvette

On the road, the C8 Corvette impresses for an entirely different reason: comfort. The previous generation of the sports car was nearly as capable on the track, but the V8 Corvette makes a giant leap forward when it comes to on-road comfort. The majority of reviews were conducted in Corvettes that had Chevy’s MagneRide adaptive suspension. With the optional suspension package, the C8 Corvette, reportedly, has one of the nicest rides in its class.

Aiding the new Corvette in comfort is its improved NVH levels and toned-down exhaust system. Despite having a 6.2-liter V8, multiple outlets all claimed that the new Corvette doesn’t make the same aural sounds as the out-going model. The heavily revised interior also results in a sports car that is much, much nicer to drive than ever before.

The majority of reviews all commented on just how much nicer the C8 Corvette is over every Corvette before it. The materials and fit and finish are all on par with pricier options on the market now. So far, these are plenty of pros for an all-new version of America’s sports cars. But it’s certainly not a perfect model.

Reviewers claimed that the sportiest Competition Sport seats were uncomfortable. MotorAuthority claimed the seats needed more bolstering and wider bottoms. There’s some good news there, as Chevy offers two other seats for the sports car. Another issue with the interior is the long line of controls that separates the two seats. Outlets noted that the arrangement is difficult to use and unsightly.

The interior design and layout of the new Corvette are very driver-oriented. That, predominantly, is a good thing, as the vehicle is a sports car. But it could make passengers feel alienated as they have limited access to the touchscreen or any of the buttons on the central panel.

Furthermore, moving the engine to the middle of the sports car has resulted in massive blind spots when drivers are attempting to look behind the vehicle. Chevy does offer a camera-based rearview mirror that helps a little, but visibility out of the sports car still isn’t that good.

Lastly, reviewers all bemoaned Chevrolet’s decision to not offer a manual transmission on the Corvette. For the majority of its life, the Corvette had a manual option for consumers wanting a purer experience from the car. But that’s not the case for the C8 Corvette, as it’s automatic only. The good news is that the dual-clutch automatic transmission is fantastic.

Overall, reviews of the C8 Corvette all paint the sports car in a good light. 2020 marks the largest transformation in the Corvette’s 67-year history, which isn’t an easy thing to pull off. But Chevy did it. With a base price that sneaks in under $60,000, the C8 Corvette is a stonking good deal.

To get a vehicle with similar performance as the C8 Corvette, you’ll have to move well upstream. The Porsche 911, Porsche 718 Cayman, Mercedes-AMG GT, Acura NSX, and Audi R8 are all viable competitors to the C8 Corvette. But the majority of those cost more and aren’t nearly as well rounded as the new Corvette. The C8 Corvette clearly continues a trend that was set by previous generations – be a value-packed sports car that hits well above its weight class – but the weight class has gone even more upstream with the latest model.

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, Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

Follow On: Twitter

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