- Excellent performance per dollar
- Iconic styling
- Potent engines across the range
- Interior design and materials are dated
- Lack of side curtain air bags
- In-town gas mileage is average at best
Balanced, comfortable, and very fast (or very, very fast), the 2013 Chevrolet Corvette promises to ring out the C6 generation with grace and aptitude as well as attitude.
The only 2013 Chevrolet Corvette model officially announced thus far is the Corvette 427 Convertible Collector Edition, a limited-production model that pairs the 7.0-liter (427 cubic inch) LS7 V-8 engine with the standard Corvette Convertible chassis. The 505-horsepower 427 Convertible is a celebration of the historic model of the same name, built in part to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Corvette.
The iconic design of the Corvette tends to remain largely unchanged across generations, though the addition of the Grand Sport models a few years ago brought the aggressive looks of the Z06 to a wider audience. The low-slung, wide-fendered, aggressive look of the Corvette speaks of speed and handling, and it lives up to the look. Inside, the styling is somewhat dated, but its simplicity appeals to many sports car buyers.
Also celebrating the 60th anniversary is a special 60th Anniversary Package, which will be available on all 2013 Corvette models, including the 427 Convertible. It includes an Arctic White paint color, Blue Diamond leather-wrapped interior with suede accents, and a blue top on Convertible models. Other additions with the package include a ZR1-style spoiler, unique badges, gray brake calipers, and "60th" logos inside and out. A special graphics package is also available.
Otherwise, we expect the 2013 Corvette range to carry forward largely unchanged, including the standard Coupe and Convertible, the Grand Sport models, and the Z06 and ZR1. All 2013 Corvettes will wear special 60th Anniversary badges on their exterior and on the instrument panel and sill plates. An all-new version of the Corvette is expected to arrive for the 2014 model year.
The standard Corvette Coupe and Convertible come with a 6.2-liter LS3 engine rated at 430 horsepower (or 436 horsepower with the optional dual-mode exhaust). The Grand Sport uses the same engine, but in manual-transmission models, gets an upgrade to dry-sump oiling. The Z06 gets the previously mentioned 505-horsepower LS7, while the ZR1 uses a supercharged version of the 6.2-liter V-8 called the LS9 for a whopping 638 horsepower. The base and Grand Sport models are available with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission; the Z06 and ZR1 are manual-only.
Performance is breathtaking in all Corvettes, reaching 60 mph in as little as 4.5 seconds, but the Z06 and ZR1 truly push the limits. The Z06's mighty engine and launch control rocket to 60 mph in just 3.9 seconds, while the supercharged ZR1 takes a scant 3.4 seconds. Both are capable of top speeds around 200 mph. But it's not all about straight-line speed with any Corvette; they all handle surprisingly well, with crisp and communicative steering, excellent brakes, and balanced behavior in the corners.
With all the emphasis on sporting performance, you might expect comfort to be compromised, but the Corvette range is surprisingly accommodating. Comfortable seats, ample shoulder and hip room, fair leg room despite the low position, and a generally well-laid-out cabin make for comfortable trips. Taller drivers may find a slight shortage of head room, however.
Though it's comfortable, the cabin isn't all that well-made in some respects. Upgrading to the available leather surface package is almost mandatory to avoid cheap plastics, and even then, the design and fit-and-finish are behind the times.
Crash testing is not a common occurrence at the upper end of the sports car spectrum, and the Corvette is no exception; it hasn't been put through the wringer by either the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Nevertheless, it comes with a good array of standard safety equipment, including front and side airbags, anti-lock brakes, and stability and traction control. Visibility can be compromised at times, however, due to the low-slung stature and smallish windows.
As for features, the Corvette is somewhere in the middle ground: not quite luxury, but not spartan either. With satellite radio, navigation, Bluetooth, a heads-up display, keyless entry, dual-zone climate control, push-button start, and a power driver's seat, it will meet most buyers' needs, but it won't wow with its luxurious or high-tech amenities.