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Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Vs. Dodge SRT Viper: Compare Cars

2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06
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2015 Chevrolet Corvette
2015 Dodge Viper SRT
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2015 Dodge Viper SRT
By Nelson Ireson
Senior Editor

If you feel the need for American speed, and demand a voluptuous, standalone sports-car shape to match, there are two options that stand out from the pack: the Chevy Corvette Stingray and the Dodge SRT Viper.

Yes, there are plenty of very fast muscle cars that would like to contend with these two, but when it comes to track-carving capability and sheer on-road prowess, the heavier, lazier muscle cars -- even the 2015 Dodge Challenger Hellcat, which comes close, we'll admit -- can't compete with these purpose-built super sports cars.

But how do you choose between them? The Corvette Stingray offers 455 horsepower, and brilliant handling, for starting price around $55,000. The SRT Viper is much more powerful at 640 horsepower, and it remains much more expensive, at its $86k starting price for 2015 -- although that's $15k lower than just last year, as part of one of the most significant downward price adjustments seen this model year.

The price and the power aren't the only differences between the Viper and the Stingray, however.

The Viper is bred from genes that fall much closer to the racing branch of the tree than the Corvette's. That comes across in its on-track performance, which is brilliant, but also tricky. With 645 horsepower on tap from its 8.4-liter V-10 engine, even the new advanced performance-oriented traction and stability controls can't always keep up. There's massive grip and stopping power, but there's also a tendency to twitch and squirm at the limit that can be unnerving at speeds well over 100 mph.

As for the Corvette, with 455 horsepower (or 460 hp with the performance exhaust), it feels more inherently balanced in power-to-chassis comfort, on real-world roads, and mates very well with either the seven-speed manual gearbox or new eight-speed automatic.

On the street, the Viper's race-bred genes come through too, though in a more unwelcome way. The cockpit is immensely refined from previous versions of the Viper, with quality materials and attractive, modern design -- but it's also loud, low, and riding on a stiffly sprung chassis. Viper GTS models get an adaptive suspension that helps balance the street ride quality, but still tends toward the firm over the

2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Convertible

2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Convertible

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The Corvette's street-first approach makes it a much quieter and more comfortable daily driver, and the updates for the seventh generation of the car push it firmly into the luxury class it has long sought to join. A cleanly laid-out and well-upholstered interior, even in base models, is nearly the equal of the Vipers, and on equal footing when optioned up with available trim and equipment upgrades. With the optional magneto-rheological (MR) dampers, the ride quality ranges from comfortable to track-ready at the touch of a button.

Otherwise, the cabins of the Viper and Stingray are very similar: two low-slung, well-bolstered sport bucket seats offer good head, shoulder, and leg room, by sports car standards. The driving position for both cars is similar, and each even offers enough cargo area for a long weekend jaunt for two.

Performance is surprisingly close in some regards, despite the 185-horsepower difference. The Viper hits 60 mph from a stop in the low-three-second range, while the Corvette gets there in 3.8 seconds. That's a few more ticks of the stop watch, but in the real world, both are blindingly quick. Top speed for the Stingray clocks in at 190 mph, while it's 206 mph for the Viper.

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray at Ron Fellows Performance Driving School

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray at Ron Fellows Performance Driving School

Enlarge Photo
Despite the Corvette's more street-oriented design thesis, the car is quite capable on track, especially when fitted with the available Z51 package, which upgrades the suspension and electronic control unit tuning.

On the styling front, the Viper is perhaps the more audacious of the two, though that could come down to individual preference; the Viper's lines are more curvaceous and organic, while the Corvette Stingray's look is sharp, edgy, and slightly futuristic.

Gas mileage is one major point of contrast. The SRT Viper's monstrous horsepower output comes at a cost, with EPA ratings of just 12 mpg city and 19 mpg highway for a combined 15 mpg. The Chevy Corvette Stingray is much more efficient, at 17 mpg city, 29 mpg highway and 21 mpg combined with the seven-speed manual transmission, or 16/29 (and 20 combined) with the eight-speed auto.

For a deeper dive into what makes each of these super-performance sports cars tick, see our by-the-numbers comparison below, and click the model names to read the full reviews.
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