2013 Chevrolet Corvette Review

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Nelson Ireson Nelson Ireson Senior Editor
April 13, 2012

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.

Review continues below

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.

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2013 Chevrolet Corvette

Styling

The dated interior still can't take away the Corvette's iconic flair, especially with the new 427 Convertible and 60th Anniversary package available.

With three different body types and a total of five variants, the 2013 Chevrolet Corvette offers a strong sports car proposition to a wide range of buyers.

A new 427 Convertible joins the 2013 Chevy Corvette range, but the rest of the line carries forward essentially unchanged. A new 60th Anniversary package is the only addition, bringing with it special badges and plaques to mark the 60th year of the Corvette.

Both base model Corvettes (Coupe and Convertible) offer the same iconic styling aside from their different tops: flared fenders; a strong, low-slung stance; a long hood; and the iconic essence of Corvette. The Z06, ZR1, Grand Sport, and 427 Convertible models all get slightly more dramatic takes on the body work, with more aggressively flared fenders and vinyl graphics packages available.

Inside, the Corvette is a simple affair, with muted colors and smooth surfaces--perhaps too simple, and too plain, especially in the plastic-heavy standard trim. The optional leather upgrade package provides a much-needed quality boost, improving the look as well, though the Corvette still falls short of luxury status.

The ZR1, which sits at the pinnacle of the Corvette range, adds even more aggressive exterior details, plus a see-through hood panel that gives a glimpse of the supercharged LS9 V-8. Inside, the ZR1 gets unique badging and the best interior options available in the Corvette range.

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2013 Chevrolet Corvette

Performance

Incredible performance and even more impressive value make the 2013 Chevrolet Corvette one of the best buys in the sports car segment.

Even in base form the Corvette is an impressively fast, confident sports car. Moving up the range just adds to the capability, both on the road and on the track, though it adds price as well.

The Corvette range includes three V-8 engines in total: a 6.2-liter LS3 in the base and Grand Sport models, rated at 430 horsepower (or 436 with the dual-mode exhaust upgrade); a 7.0-liter LS7 V-8 good for 505 horsepower in the Z06 and 427 Convertible; and a 6.2-liter supercharged LS9 in the ZR1, rated at a massive 638 horsepower.

They're all quick: the base and Grand Sport models get to 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds, while the Z06 takes just 3.9 seconds, the ZR1 3.4 seconds, and the 427 Convertible 3.8 seconds.

All Corvette models handle very well, their low height and wide track width making them surprisingly capable in the corners. The Grand Sport offers upgraded handling and braking, with a few track-oriented upgrades as well. The Z06 takes the Corvette to the next level, with a lighter chassis and even more advanced suspension, while the ZR1 is the ultimate Corvette, with all of the Z06's advanced suspension plus its own unique improvements.

Base and Grand Sport Corvettes are available with either six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmissions, while Z06, ZR1, and 427 Convertible models are manual-only.

8

2013 Chevrolet Corvette

Comfort & Quality

Though the look is less than fresh and the materials less than impressive, the cabin of the 2013 Corvette is still comfortable and functional.

Despite its low height and small cabin, the Corvette is a surprisingly comfortable car--once you're in. The low height and the somewhat tight door opening on hardtop models can make entry and exit a bit tough for some.

The seats are very comfortable, well-padded and bolstered, neither too soft nor too firm. The position puts occupants' legs out front, rather than folded below, but it's actually well-suited to long trips.

There's more cargo area than you might expect as well, with the rear glass (on coupe models) lifting to reveal a wide, flat load deck, though height is limited. In convertibles, there are cubbies behind the seats to add to the trunk's capacity.

Noise levels are not luxury-sedan low, but are well within acceptable limits, especially considering the performance nature of the Corvette. The only sound that's likely to intrude on the cabin with any force is that of the engine, and it's at least part of the reason anyone buys a Corvette in the first place.

Overall build quality is good, though fit and finish sometimes come up short of what you might expect given the Corvette's price--until you remember that the money went into the car's performance more than its semi-luxury accommodations.

8

2013 Chevrolet Corvette

Safety

Fantastic handling, very good braking, and a strong set of standard safety equipment lend a sense of confidence and security to the 2013 Corvette.

The 2013 Chevrolet Corvette hasn't been crash-tested by either the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) or the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)--but then, neither have most other high-end sports cars.

All Corvettes come with anti-lock brakes, Active Handling stability control and traction control, dual front and side airbags, immensely capable brakes, and agile handling--all the better to help avoid an accident in the first place.

One issue we've found with the Corvette, though not everyone will mind, is visibility. Rearward visibility through the hatch and forward visibility over the long hood and flared fenders can make it hard to place the car in close quarters or see nearby obstacles. Another potential drawback for some is the lack of side-curtain airbags.

9

2013 Chevrolet Corvette

Features

Lacking some truly high-tech options, the 2013 Corvette nevertheless offers a wide range of features and upgrades that will suit most buyers.

Though the 2013 Chevrolet Corvette lacks some of the highest-tech offerings found in competitive luxury sports cars, it acquits itself well with standard equipment and offers enough upgrade and optional equipment to suit most buyers.

Spanning more than $60,000 between the base Corvette and the ZR1, the Corvette range varies widely, but all include a six-month OnStar telematics subscription; an MP3/CD stereo; satellite radio; dual-zone automatic climate control; keyless entry; push-button start; leather seats; steering wheel audio controls; a six-way power driver's seat; and auxiliary audio input.

Optional extras include a heads-up instrument display that projects information onto a virtual display above the hood; Bluetooth; heated seats; a leather interior package; power passenger seat; and an array of interior and exterior appearance options. Navigation is also available, but it's a DVD-based system and offers a small, low-resolution display that make it only marginally useful.

The head-up display is standard equipment on ZR1, Z06, and 427 Convertible models, and continues to be a somewhat unique feature in the segment, despite having been available on Corvettes for years now.

7

2013 Chevrolet Corvette

Fuel Economy

Despite being a potent, powerful sports car (or supercar) the 2013 Corvette can be surprisingly fuel efficient, too.

Big V-8s and 200-mph top speeds don't typically lend themselves to fuel efficiency, but on the highway, the 2013 Chevrolet Corvette can get impressive gas mileage.

Around town, no Corvette is all that efficient, however: the base, convertible, and Grand Sport models rate 16 mpg city and 26 mpg highway; the Z06 falls to 15/24 mpg; and the ZR1 rates 14/21 mpg. The 427 Convertible hasn't yet been rated.

Our editors note that while the EPA's figures are good guidelines, observed fuel economy on the highway can easily exceed the estimated ratings in real-world use, often climbing near 30 mpg.

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May 14, 2015
2013 Chevrolet Corvette 2-Door Convertible 427 w/1SB

AWESOME car!!!!

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I use this car as a daily driver in the summer months and it's great. It's a Z06 in every way except it's a convertible. If you love the C6 body and want the big 7 liter naturally aspirated V8 in a... + More »
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April 20, 2015
For 2013 Chevrolet Corvette

It's a Corvette, what else is there to say?

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I got one of the last C6 Corvettes produced, thinking that the last any generation is the best. I've owned and driven Corvettes from the first generation to the C6 and this one tops them all. The newest issue... + More »
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April 19, 2015
For 2013 Chevrolet Corvette

It;s been a long time since I have driven a car that makes me smile

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Powerful, handles well on smooth roads and never fails to make me smile. There is too much Cowl shake over rough roads, with a little loss of control. That would be my only disparaging remark. Otherwise, I... + More »
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Styling 9.0
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Comfort & Quality 8.0
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