No dollar-for-dollar match. Last year, Chevy finally caved to the demands of the late, great Zora Arkus-Duntov, who was the first person on record to push General Motors to build a mid-engine Corvette.
With the engine behind the seats, the C8 Corvette took on a whole new look that rivals European supercars. Plus, it has the performance to rival (and beat) some of these $100,000+ rigs. All this came wrapped up in a tidy, sub-$60,000 package, making it an insane value.
The 2021 Chevrolet Corvette is a carryover model, but it still dominates in dollar-for-dollar performance.
Best performance value, but it’s missing one big piece. With a 490-horsepower, 6.2-liter V8 engine nestled behind the seats, a perfectly tuned suspension, a wide stance, and a rapid-fire eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, the Chevy Corvette is nothing short of amazing on paper.
That on-paper awesomeness translates into real numbers too, with its three-second 0-60 mph time and incredible handling. Add the Z51 package, and the handling is even better thanks to stickier tires enhanced brakes, and more. Plus, the Z51 adds magnetic ride control for a more comfortable ride when you’re not carving up corners, and an extra 5 hp and 5 pound-feet of torque.
The Corvette’s performance is slightly behind the Nissan GT-R (565 hp and 2.7-second 0-60 mph time), but it starts from $115,335 including destination. When lined up with the more appropriately priced Porsche 718 Cayman, the value shines through. The 718 Cayman's base price rings in at $64,460, but it has just 300 hp and takes two seconds longer to hit 60 mph than the 'Vette.
With automatic transmissions now more advanced than ever, most buyers now opt for them, limiting the demand for manual transmissions. However, a small group of manual-loving car buyers still exists, and Chevy leaves them in the cold by not even offering an optional manual gearbox in the Corvette. Buyers seeking a manual have one place to look: the Porsche 718.
Stunning European looks, but that spoiler … With its shift to a mid-engine setup, the Corvette gained a shorter nose and larger rear end, giving it Italian supercar proportions. This puts it in a class of its own, especially considering its sub-$60,000 MSRP.
Chevy built on those proportions with sharp creases, dramatic angles, and all the other design cues of European muscle. Once you get around back, though, this stunning look diminishes a bit with the relatively large spoiler fixed to the backside. While a spoiler is fine, Chevy could have done a better job integrating it with the body, giving the 'Vette a smoother look.
Buyers looking for a cleaner look will find this in the Porsche 718 or Porsche 911.
Best Corvette interior ever, but skip the luggage. The Corvette has long been bashed for its subpar interior quality. The previous generation saw a dramatic upgrade in this area, and the C8 Corvette obliterates that trend.
It now boasts a driver-focused cabin with a sizable rising divider between the driver and passenger. It also features a squared steering wheel, a standard 8-inch infotainment system, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, supportive Milan leather seating, and a tight but comfortable seating arraignment.
While its interior comfort and performance may inspire a road trip, you’ll want to plan accordingly due to its limited luggage space. Between its frunk (front trunk) and the small cubby behind the engine, the Corvette has 12.6 cubic feet of cargo space.
Chevy claims the frunk can hold two carry-on bags and the rear cubby can fit two golf bags. This may give you enough room for a two-person weekend getaway. Anything longer, and you’ll want to ship your luggage to your destination.
While this may be tight, it’s certainly better than the 8.8 cubic feet in the GT-R or 4.6 in the Porsche 718.
Final thoughts. There’s very little anyone can say to sway the fact that the 2021 Chevy Corvette is the best performance value on the market. Add to that European design cues, an upscale interior, and loads of features, and it’s unbeatable dollar for dollar.
The Corvette isn’t without its flaws, though. First, Chevy did so much incredible work on its body but mucked it up with an out-of-place rear spoiler. With just a few extra thousand dollars, Chevy could have added an adaptive spoiler like the 718, 911, and Audi R8 have.
While it can outperform nearly anything in its class, the Corvette is a step slower than the GT-R, and there’s no option to add more power – yet. The Corvette Z06 is around the corner, and rumors peg it at over 600 hp from a high-revving 5.5-liter V8 and a mid-two-second 0-60 time. That’ll put the GT-R in its place, and rumors point toward a roughly $85,000 starting price, but this all remains unconfirmed at this point.
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