The C8 Corvette finally debuted last week. Though it had been speculated for over a year, Chevrolet finally did it. After over half a decade of mid-engined concepts, some that nearly reached production, the company has finally opted to move the engine. This represents a major departure and a step into the future for the Corvette brand. There are no driving reviews of the new car yet, but this is certain to be a world-class exotic, ready to compete with some of the best cars Europe has to offer.
The last Corvette was a very good car, and with the new layout, GM has raised the ceiling on America’s sports car. After pulling the cover off a few days ago, below are some initial reactions to what’s great about the new car, and a few items that disappoint.
10 Worst: The Available Color Pallet
Of the twelve colors available in the Corvette’s online configurator, 5 are white, black, or grey (not colors). There are also two reds, two blues, one yellow, one orange, and brown. Although this seems like a pretty good color spread, there is no green option, no matte option, and not a single option that is as exciting as the car itself.
A car that is stepping into the ranks of exotic needs at least a couple of paint colors to match. Purple, a bright green, or anything in the neon category should at least be a possibility. Maybe more options will be made available on higher performance (or electrified) versions of the C8.
9 Best: Moving Into the Future
By GM moving the engine to the rear, they risk upsetting Corvette traditionalists, even though the idea reaches back nearly as far as the car itself. That risk, however, has set up the Corvette to survive long after current Vette drivers have reluctantly surrendered their license at the request of their middle-aged children.
This is a bold step that gives the Corvette a chance to thrive as a younger generation of buyers finally reach the point where they can afford such a vehicle. Sometimes a brand needs to say goodbye to older buyers, and drum up some younger support. This may be the first time in decades younger buyers will be seriously considering a new Vette. Chevy has made something special and pushed the Stingray into this century.
8 Worst: We Still Have to Wait A While for The C8 to Hit the Streets
It seems like it has been years since we first started seeing mid-engined mules on the track and street but don’t expect to see production models on your local roads any time soon. Although this process has gone faster than the new NSX or Supra, with production slated to begin in December, the new C8 Stingray won’t be hitting showrooms until at least early 2020.
With the anticipation this car has built, even a few more months will feel like forever, and if the first shipments arrive in the dead of winter, many owners in colder states won’t get to enjoy their new ride for a few months more.
7 Best: It Still Looks Like a Corvette
Although drastic changes to the shape had to be made in order to accommodate the new location of the car’s running gear, the styling of the C8 still looks like an evolution of the car we have known. Many of the renders, mock-ups, and spy shots leading up to the reveal didn’t capture the close family resemblance.
People thought it would look too much like a Ferrari or any number of other current mid-engined offerings. Designers managed to fit many of the details of the current Vette into the new car's face, without making it look too busy or squished.
6 Worst: It May Be More Difficult to Work On
The tight packaging of the new mid-engined layout means it is likely to be much more difficult to work on, although not many new Corvette buyers are going to immediately start modifying and working on their own cars.
When these Vettes become more affordable and move into the used market a few years from now, some people who stretched to get one will likely face higher repair bills or much more difficult maintenance. Although it remains to be seen if this will be true, it seems likely, as current Corvette dealers will have to purchase new tools and also undergo training in order to sell and service the C8.
5 Best: This Blue Interior
Running through the C8 configurator, you will be pleasantly surprised at the number of options for the interior. When configured with the 3LT trim level there are 9 options for the interior color combo. Three are black, two red, two tan, and one grey; however, the best and most unique is two-tone blue.
Blue and green leather interior have been out of fashion for a while, but it is time they made a comeback. Some new Lincoln’s offer azul interiors, and now with the Corvette, hopefully, this resurgence of cool colored leather interiors continues. It is, at the very least, something that belongs in an exotic car, and with the new mid-engine layout, that is just right for the C8.
4 Worst: All these buttons
This long row of small, similarly shaped buttons is a nightmare. Sure, after a few months of driving, muscle memory might develop enough to turn on the seat heat without having to visually run down the column of a dozen or so options, but it’s going to be painful for a while.
This means time where the driver’s eyes won't be on the road. Not that buttons, in general, are bad. Simple, often used controls should not be tucked away in infotainment menus, but the layout should be more intuitively designed than one long strip of buttons, which also appear to be in a place where the passenger may accidentally interfere with them.
3 Best: Two Trunks
In at least the last three generations, the Corvette has been a reasonably practical sports car, with the option of a hatch which would hold a decent amount of stuff. With the change to the mid-engined layout, many people worried that practicality would go out the window.
The C8 has done the opposite, with GM promising the front trunk (frunk) will hold a carry-on sized bag, and the rear trunk (just trunk) will hold two golf bags, or the removable Targa top. Golf bags being the measure of space gives you an idea of who will be at the front of the line to purchase the first few Vettes to roll off the line. Boomers rejoice!
2 Worst: No Manual
The Corvette has always been America’s sports car, part of that has also always included crunching through the gears yourself, including long after modern automatics outpaced even the best drivers. People will bemoan that the C8 isn’t a true driver’s car anymore, but to keep pace with the exotics of the world, the manual transmission was going to have to go away someday.
With the percentage of cars being sold optioned with a row-your-own gearbox dwindling, it makes financial sense for GM to focus on one transmission, keeping costs down and pushing performance up. Manuals are more engaging for sure, but the C8 just graduated into an exotic vehicle. To catch up to the other mid-engined beasts, the Vette had to drop the third pedal.
1 Best: Price
The most amazing detail about the new Corvette is the MSRP. Chevrolet is promising the C8 will have a base price under 60 grand. While $60,000 is still nearly twice the price of the average new car sold in the United States, it is an absolute bargain when you think about the cars the new Vette will compete with.
The base model McLaren 570S starts at over three times what the cheapest Corvette will run, both are mid-engined V8 that rocket to 60 miles per hour in under three seconds. This new Vette punches way above its price! When initial hands-on reviews begin to roll out, people will definitely be talking about this as the value leader of modern sports cars.