2010 Chevrolet Corvette Review

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Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Deputy Editor
September 8, 2009

Stupendously fast yet amazingly practical, the 2010 Chevrolet Corvette is the supercar you can live with.

TheCarConnection.com has driven most of the Corvette range to report on editors’ firsthand impressions here in this review. TheCarConnection.com’s team also researched other reviews to bring you highlights so that you can have the most information possible on this iconic American sports car.

Chevrolet was always going to have a tough time improving on its Corvette line. Last year we saw the introduction of the mighty ZR1 supercar and a price cut for the base convertible; for the 2010 model year, the automaker brings out the big guns.

First and foremost is the introduction of a new Grand Sport model, which returns for 2010 with wide-body styling and race-bred suspension; it's available in either coupe or convertible body styles. The other major introduction is a new Launch Control system that comes standard on all manual ‘Vettes and can make even the most amateur of drivers look like a pro at the traffic light.

We've tested the system on the road and track and find it to be truly impressive—no reservations, no qualifications. The new system modulates engine torque 100 times per second and is designed to give drivers optimal traction during full-throttle starts. In addition to the availability of the Launch Control system, the 2010 ZR1 gets what Chevy calls “Performance Traction Management” (PTM) technology, which holds a predetermined engine speed while the driver pushes the throttle to the floor. That allows the driver to quickly release the clutch, and the system modulates engine torque for the best traction during track driving.

Review continues below

But it’s not just performance aspects that get our tick of approval for 2010. Side airbags now come standard on all models, as well as a range of updated colors, including the return of Torch Red.

Across the entire 2010 Chevrolet Corvette lineup, styling remains much the same as the previous year. After all, the Corvette is one of the sexiest cars on the road today, so there’s no point mucking with the winning formula. The Z06 and ZR1 continue with their more muscular bodywork to cover the wider tires on those models, and the ZR1 still features a clear plastic window, which doesn't add much excitement, according to the styling gurus at TheCarConnection.com.

The Grand Sport adds a new dimension, essentially replacing the Corvette's previous Z51 package and bringing a greater degree of handling performance. Benefiting from wide-body styling, the Grand Sport also gets a Z06-style front splitter and rear spoiler, new brake ducts, and unique 18-inch wheels with 275mm tires up front and 19-inch wheels shod with 325mm rubber in the rear.

All Corvettes are pure performance inside, with a cockpit-inspired interior dominated by a large hooded gauge cluster, a high center console, and the usual dull GM plastics. An optional feature is the crossed-flags logo embroidery for seats, as well as a new cashmere trim for the Z06 and ZR1.

While the interior can be a little drab in appearance, once you floor the throttle all is forgotten as genuine excitement pours from each and every 2010 Chevrolet Corvette powertrain.

The base Corvette gets a potent 430-horsepower LS3 V-8 that displaces 6.2 liters and is good for a 0-60-mph run in just 4.1 seconds with the manual or 4.3 seconds with the automatic. An optional two-mode exhaust system (also available on the Grand Sport) brings a power rating increase to 436 horses and 428 pound-feet of torque. As the revs climb, the sound from these pipes is intense. While manual drivers get the new Launch Control system for 2010, customers picking the self-shifter will welcome a revised six-speed automatic paddle shift control that includes a “push and hold” feature to make returning to automatic mode simpler.

Sitting between the base Corvette and the sexy Z06 is the new Grand Sport. Powered by the same 430-horsepower and 424 pound-feet of torque LS3 V-8, the 2010 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport also gets wider wheels and tires, revised shocks, a new stabilizer bar and spring specifications, and new gearing. The equipment enables cornering capability of up to 1.0 g, as well as a 0.2-second improvement in 0-60-mph acceleration versus the standard LS3-powered models.

Grand Sport coupe models equipped with the manual transmission are outfitted for racetrack competition, too, with a dry-sump oiling system, a differential cooler, and a rear-mounted battery. The manual transmission also comes with specific gear ratios, while automatic models get a modified rear-axle ratio. The Grand Sport also gets Z06-spec brakes that include 13.4-inch rotors with six-piston calipers up front and four-piston calipers in back.

Next in line is the Z06, which brings Corvette owners into supercar territory thanks to its 7.0-liter LS7 V-8 that’s capable of sending the car from 0-60 mph in just 3.7 seconds and see it reach a top speed of 198 mph. The 2010 version retains the 106-inch wheelbase of other Corvette models, as well as the short-long arm suspension and transverse spring design, but rides on all-new wheels, tires, and brakes, as well as its own rear spring and roll stabilizer. Peak output remains at 505 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque. Buyers opting for the top-end 3LZ package now get powered sports seats for both driver and passenger.

Thanks to the mammoth amount of torque from either the base LS3 engine or the race-bred LS7, the 2010 Chevy Corvette is enjoyable to drive with the optional automatic but really comes alive with the manual, even though the shift action tends to be overly deliberate and notchy.

Sitting at the top of the ladder is the granddaddy of all Corvettes, the world-beating ZR1 supercar. Still packing a hand-built, supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 with 638 horsepower and 604 pound-feet of torque on tap, the ZR1 will rocket to 60 mph in only 3.4 seconds and blast through the quarter-mile in 11.3 seconds and with a 131-mph trap speed.

The ride of the current six-generation Corvette is vastly superior to previous versions that could best be described as agricultural by comparison. Even the 2010 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 (with its ultra-wide tires) rides well thanks to new tire technology and magnetic ride control. The available levels of performance combined with the compliant ride and overall refinement make these cars all the more special. For the right person, they can be daily transportation. When driven modestly on the highway, fuel economy can reach as high as 30 mpg.

In terms of comfort and quality, the 2010 Corvette has made great strides since the launch of the six-generation in 2005 and the slight update last year. Fit and finish, both inside and out, is solid, though the choice of trim and materials can leave you desiring something a little more premium. The seats are comfortable and provide good support, even on long drives, and during the several hundred miles we've spent behind the wheel, there was barely a squeak or rattle to detect.

For a sports car, visibility in the Corvette is quite good. Additionally, the rear storage provides a surprising amount of room with 22.4 cubic feet of cargo volume in the 2010 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe and a respectable 11 cubic feet of storage in the rear of the Convertible. The drop-top models use a layered fabric roof that isolates the cabin well from wet and cold but lets in a lot of road noise.

Safety is another strong point for the Corvette range. A four-channel ABS system is standard, as are stability and traction control and now front and side airbags as well. Unfortunately, the 2010 model still lacks side curtain airbags, which are usually standard on cars in the same price range as the Corvette.

The 2010 Chevrolet Corvette gets to tap into GM's deep well of tech features. High-end audio and voice-activated navigation systems are available, along with a growing list of services from GM's OnStar. In recognition of the reality of cell phones and other mobile communication devices, GM is now offering Bluetooth connectivity. An optional Bose audio system or an in-dash six-disc changer is available, while steering-wheel-mounted audio controls are standard on all models. One last highlight is that the Corvette, despite its supercar credentials, still comes with proper cup holders.

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2010 Chevrolet Corvette

Styling

The 2010 Chevrolet Corvette looks good in any trim level, but its interior still doesn’t have what it takes to match the sexy exterior.

The Chevrolet Corvette is American sports car legend, and the latest C6 model only improves on the remarkable credentials of past generations. The C6 features much edgier styling than the C5 it replaces, as well as an improved interior.

The 2010 Chevrolet Corvette lineup has been expanded with the introduction of the 2010 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport Coupe and Convertible. According to reviewers at Edmunds, the "2010 Chevrolet Corvette is available as a two-seat Coupe or Convertible," while available "trim levels include the standard Corvette, Grand Sport, Z06 and ZR1." Both the base Chevrolet Corvette and new Grand Sport is available with the Convertible body style, and Edmunds notes that the base Coupe "is actually more of a targa, as it comes with a removable body-color roof panel," offering the security of a fixed roof and the convenience of open-air driving when the sun is out. Cars.com says that "many familiar styling cues highlight the latest Corvette, but the current generation is the first one since 1962 with fixed headlights."

Every model in the 2010 Chevrolet Corvette lineup just screams "speed," and while reviews read by TheCarConnection.com contain lots of love for the base Corvette’s styling, some reviewers feel that GM hasn’t distinguished the more expensive variants enough. Edmunds says that the 2010 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 and Z06 models "look too much like the standard Corvette," though the body panels differ in their construction. ConsumerGuide reports that the ZR1 incorporates "lightweight carbon-fiber on the hood, roof panel, roof bow, front fascia splitter, and rocker moldings," but despite the change in materials, the overall styling is quite similar to the base Corvette. Motor Trend contends it doesn’t help now that “the Grand Sport allows buyers of a base Corvette the ability to enjoy the killer wide-body stance and presence of a Z06 in a less extreme package.” Cars.com notes that the major differences between the Z06 and the regular Chevrolet Corvette are "wheel-opening extensions at the front and rear and a front splitter," which play a large part in explaining why "the Z06 is three inches wider than other Corvettes." The 2010 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 also features what Jalopnik reviewers call a "tacky Lexan hood window" that lets curious onlookers get a glimpse of the supercharger’s intercooler system, though many reviewers question its styling appeal.

While the older Corvettes leave much to be desired when it comes to interior styling, designers of the latest C6 sixth-generation model attempt to address many of the common criticisms. The 2010 Chevrolet Corvette is certainly improved, but the design, whose basic form first appeared in 2005, is starting to show its age. Cars.com loves how "the dashboard carries on the Corvette’s dual-cockpit theme with a two-tone split.” Kelley Blue Book raves about the "clean, uncluttered interior." Others, such as Edmunds, even call the interior "quite plain," but ConsumerGuide gives the Chevrolet Corvette high marks for its "clear gauges with mostly logical controls." The only major criticism concerns the 2010 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1, which has a base interior that's "cheap and nasty," according to Jalopnik. One styling touch that carries over from the fifth-generation Corvette is an optional heads-up display, which ConsumerGuide says "is quite useful" and "shows vehicle and engine speeds" without requiring drivers to take their eyes off the road.

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2010 Chevrolet Corvette

Performance

Few other cars on the planet offer the daily drivability and absolute performance of the 2010 Chevrolet Corvette.

For 2010, the Chevrolet Corvette offers something new for performance fans: Launch Control. Motor Trend raves that it is “incredibly easy to use” and ideal for “anyone who occasionally faces a situation when it just won't do to flub the launch.” Jalopnik notes that GM assures using the Launch Control will “never void the warranty” and “works pretty well too.”

The 2010 Chevrolet Corvette has very high power ratings for the price. Edmunds reviewers say even the base Chevrolet Corvette Coupe and Convertible "feature a 6.2-liter V-8 that makes an impressive 430 horsepower and 424 pound-feet of torque," while "the optional dual-mode exhaust adds another 6 horsepower and 4 pound-feet." Moving up the ladder to the sportier Chevrolet Corvette Z06, Cars.com reports that an "LS7 V-8 engine that generates 505 horsepower at 6,300 rpm and 470 pounds-feet of torque at 4,800 rpm" rests under the hood. Also available once again is the 2010 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1, which Edmunds says boasts "an otherworldly 638 horsepower and 604 pound-feet of torque" courtesy of its 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 engine. Reviews read by TheCarConnection.com show that all the available engines are incredibly potent, and ConsumerGuide rates even the base Chevrolet Corvette a 10 out of 10 for acceleration. ConsumerGuide also declares that those "base Corvettes are plenty quick by any measure, with strong power from a stop and during highway passing and merging." Kelley Blue Book remarks that the base "6.2-liter V-8 delivers abundant power throughout its speed range," and impressions of the Z06 and ZR1’s engines are even better. Edmunds reports that while the "base Coupe [goes] from zero to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds," a Chevrolet Corvette "Z06 will knock that down to 3.9 seconds." ConsumerGuide reviewers are stunned to find that the 2010 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 "will do 0-60 in a scorching 3.4 seconds," which ranks it among the quickest cars in the world.

Not only is the big, supercharged engine in the ZR1 powerful, but it’s a smooth operator as well. Jalopnik gushes that "it feels like something that belongs in a big German luxury car," since "it makes driving effortless."

The 2010 Chevrolet Corvette lineup features two different transmission options, both updated for 2010. While manual models get the new Launch Control system, customers picking the self-shifter get a revised six-speed automatic paddle shift control that includes a “push and hold” feature to make returning to automatic mode simpler. Edmunds reviewers state that "all 2010 Chevrolet Corvettes have a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, while a six-speed paddle-shifted automatic is a no-cost option for the base Coupe and Convertible." Reviews of the manual transmission of both transmissions are glowing, with Jalopnik claiming that "a twin-disc clutch leads to easy pedal throw" on manual-transmission versions, "while a precise gate makes finding gears simple." Sadly, the same can't be said for the automatic. ConsumerGuide warns that “the automatic shifts smoothly, but downshifts often require a deep stab of the throttle." However, ConsumerGuide points out that "manual shifting via the steering-wheel paddles helps."

Despite the abundant power that the 2010 Chevrolet Corvette delivers, fuel economy is surprisingly high. The EPA estimates that base Chevrolet Corvettes will get 16 mpg city and 26 mpg highway with the manual transmission, while the automatic drops each of those numbers by 1 mpg. The Chevrolet Corvette Z06 also gets 15 mpg city and 24 mpg on the highway, while the 2010 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 boasts 14 mpg in the city and 20 mpg on the highway. ConsumerGuide finds that "these figures are impressive given Corvette’s power."

Chevrolet Corvettes have always been able to go fast in a straight line, but the latest generation is also a very capable handler. Motor Trend reports that "three suspension choices allow drivers to choose the setup that best suits their driving style," while "the optional Magnetic Selective Ride Control suspension features magnetic rheological shock absorbers able to detect road surfaces and adjust the damping rates to those surfaces almost instantly for optimal ride control." The result, says Edmunds, is that "on a deserted twisty road, the driver will likely run out of talent before the Corvette runs out of capability." Regarding the 2010 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1, Jalopnik claims that "despite all the headline numbers, this car isn’t about power, it’s about handling." The power available in the 2010 Chevrolet Corvette can get drivers into trouble in a hurry if there’s no easy way to harness it, though fortunately Edmunds reviewers claim "the brakes are strong and fade-free and there’s massive grip from the tires."

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2010 Chevrolet Corvette

Comfort & Quality

The interior isn’t perfect or especially refined, though the 2010 Chevrolet Corvette’s ride is reasonably comfortable. And with this kind of performance, owners are less likely to nitpick.

The 2010 Chevrolet Corvette is comfortable enough, even for daily use, but some reviewers feel that the interior quality doesn’t match the sexy look presented by the exterior—especially considering the Corvette starts at $45,000 and tops out at more than $100,000.

Cars.com states that the Chevrolet Corvette is a "two-seater" sports car that offers decent levels of driver and passenger comfort. ConsumerGuide says "headroom and legroom are adequate, and the seats are comfortable," and the larger-than-average dimensions of the car ensures that the "the cockpit is wider than in most sports cars." Kelley Blue Book adds that "the Corvette’s seats are surprisingly supportive yet not so snug as to cinch the driver in place," and other reviews read by TheCarConnection.com support that opinion.

Sports cars aren’t typically recognized for their generous storage, but TheCarConnection.com’s experts are pleased to find a functional space in the rear. ConsumerGuide reviewers agree, declaring that cargo room is "great for a sports car, especially in the coupe," and they mention "the convertible has small storage cubbies located behind the rear seats." Edmunds also asserts that the 2010 Chevrolet Corvette’s "remarkable cargo capacity (22 cubic feet in coupes and 11 cubes in the convertible)" helps to "make the Vette a sports car that’s easy to live with on a day-to-day basis." Even Chevrolet’s $100,000 supercar—the 2010 ZR1—can fit an impressive amount of stuff in the back thanks to the fact that it boasts a very similar body to the base coupe.

Buyers who are upgrading from the C5 Corvette will be surprised by the greatly improved interior quality on the 2010 Chevrolet Corvette. Edmunds declares, "Chevrolet has made big strides in terms of interior fit and finish since the debut of the current-generation Corvette," but if you "poke around a bit…you’ll find some flimsy plastic panels." ConsumerGuide, however, claims that "the interior is a mix of grained plastic and nicely textured leather." Reviews read by TheCarConnection.com indicate that the interior materials are acceptable, with the possible exception of the range-topping 2010 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1. On the top-end Chevrolet Corvette, one Jalopnik reviewer deems the standard interior "cheap and nasty," while "the 3ZR upgraded interior package" transforms the interior "into luxurious bass boat territory with more embroidered ZR1 and Corvette logos than my fragile mind could comprehend." Edmunds says that "overall, the interior is a step or two behind the class leaders," but on the positive side the build quality is generally good.

The ride is also commendable for such a capable vehicle, with ConsumerGuide finding that "base models with the standard suspension ride surprisingly well" and "convertibles have impressively little structural shake and body quiver." If you put the suspension "in the touring mode [Corvette] soaks up road harshness like a large luxury sedan," according to Kelley Blue Book.

Certain loud noises, such as the growl of a V-8 engine, are welcome in a sports car, and reviews show that the unwelcome noises are mostly kept to a manageable level in the 2010 Chevrolet Corvette. ConsumerGuide points out that the "engines are always heard" and the 2010 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1’s mill "produces a distinct roar under hard throttle, with just a touch of supercharger whine thrown in for good measure." As for wind and road noise, Edmunds says that both "can occasionally be a bit intrusive, but it’s nothing out of the norm for this type of car." Kelley Blue Book also mentions that “the Corvette's cabin can still be noisy at highway speeds.”

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2010 Chevrolet Corvette

Safety

Although official crash-test results don’t exist for the 2010 Chevrolet Corvette, the introduction of standard side airbags only helps improve safety.

It’s no surprise that the 2010 Chevrolet Corvette hasn’t been crash-tested by either NHTSA or the IIHS given its $47,000-plus price tag for even the most basic coupe. However, that doesn’t mean the 2010 Chevrolet Corvette is lacking in safety, as it comes with a couple of critical features that should boost driver confidence.

The Chevrolet Corvette lineup comes with standard "antilock disc brakes," according to Edmunds reviewers, along with "a superb stability control system known as Active Handling." For 2010, Motor Trend notes that "revisions are also incorporated to the hardware and software of the anti-locking braking, traction control, and Magnetic Ride Control systems." In addition to those electronic systems, ConsumerGuide reports that "dual front and side airbags" come standard on all 2010 Chevrolet Corvettes. ConsumerGuide also points out that the 2010 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 and Z06 models get "uprated brakes."

The 2010 Chevrolet Corvette boasts all the safety features you could expect on a high-end sports car, but reviews read by TheCarConnection.com show that a couple of issues remain. One major safety flaw manifests itself from the driver's seat. ConsumerGuide reviewers are disappointed to discover that "thick roof pillars hamper visibility to all corners" on 2010 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1, Z06, and coupe base models, though that problem is understandably minimized on the Chevrolet Corvette convertible with the top down. The 2010 Chevrolet Corvette also lacks curtain airbags, which are standard on many cars in this price range.

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2010 Chevrolet Corvette

Features

The 2010 Chevrolet Corvette offers some of the best bang for your buck, but when traffic builds, it also provides the latest in high-tech features to play with.

The 2010 Chevrolet Corvette lineup boasts a generous features list, both standard and optional, which makes the value argument of the iconic sports car even harder to beat.

The standard features list on the 2010 Chevrolet Corvette lineup is a long one, and according to Cars.com, it includes "a CD player with MP3 capability …... XM Satellite Radio," and "an audio input jack." Kelley Blue Book remarks that the 2010 Chevrolet Corvette boasts "an interior filled with more creature comforts than some luxury cars" and notes that some of the other standard features are "xenon headlamps" and a "Driver Information Center," along with "keyless access with push-button starter, leather seats, [and] six-way power driver’s seat." For those who prefer to keep two hands on the wheel, Motor Trend reports that "steering-wheel audio controls are standard across the board." The base 2010 Chevrolet Corvette comes with just about every one of the standard features on the higher-end models, but ConsumerGuide does note that 2010 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 and Z06 variants offer a standard "head-up instrument display."

The Chevrolet Corvette has made a name for itself as the best-value sports car in America, but for those who can afford to stretch the budget, Chevrolet offers a wide range of options packages. ConsumerGuide reviewers report that the base vehicle offers 2LT, 3LT, and 4LT "Preferred Equipment Group" options, while the Z06 is available with 2LZ and 3LZ options, and the 2010 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 gets a 3ZR package. Those packages include a whole host of interior upgrades; Edmunds says that "the 2LT Package adds Bluetooth and upgraded leather seating," along with "a power-operated top" for the convertible. Moving up to the 3LT package brings "a head-up display, a power telescoping steering column with manual tilting, [and] heated front seats," while the Chevrolet Corvette "4LT is very similar to the 3LT but includes an exclusive two-tone leather trim," according to Edmunds. The options packages on the 2010 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 are quite similar to those found on the base model. For the 2010 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1, Jalopnik comments that the 3ZR "upgraded interior package" does a good job "in moving the interior from cheap and nasty into luxurious bass boat territory."

If picking options seems more like a chore to you than a necessity, TheCarConnection.com discovers that the 2010 Chevrolet Corvette has a number of stand-alone options that should excite most. Kelley Blue Book says the most noteworthy of these options are a "transparent roof panel and polished alloy wheels," and "Turn-by-Turn and DVD navigation."

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April 17, 2015
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Z06 Corvette I Bought New

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I love this beast. It will out run most cars on the road today. It's powerful. But docile too. The only thing is the clutch. It failed twice in 13k miles. The last time was just prior to warranty expiring... + More »
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