- Striking exterior design
- Great V-8 power and torque
- Efficient for its performance level
- 8-speed auto matches dual-clutch competition
- Supercar-level performance in Z06
- Still a thirsty V-8 sports car around town
- Why no turbo V-6?
- Body vents distract from lines
- Extreme function over form in Z06 aerodynamics
The 2016 Chevrolet Corvette's exceptional performance, style, comfort, and features, as well as its choice of high-power engines and body styles, adds up to an impressive sports car and grand tourer in one—and a car that won't break the bank.
America's sports car continues into 2016 with a choice of four models—two engines, each available in coupe and convertible bodies. From a base Stingray to a supercar-baiting Z06 convertible, you’ll find the Corvette range to offer some of the very best bang for the buck in the industry.
The seventh-generation Vette's styling has gone in a new direction while taking advantage of familiar themes, both inside and out. Sharp lines, crisp angles, and vents aplenty give a definite supercar air to the design that matches the car’s performance. It’s wide, low, and looks fast even when standing still. Inside, the Stingray’s design is much improved over the previous generation of the Corvette, with a refreshing and surprisingly luxurious look. The Z06 adds to the Stingray's exterior and interior design with wider fenders, an array of aerodynamic add-ons, and a performance-themed cabin treatment.
Under the hood of the Chevy Corvette Stingray is the latest performance small-block, a 6.2-liter LT1 V-8 generating 455 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. The Z06 ups the ante with a supercharged LT4 V-8 displacing 6.2 liters and related to the LT1 that's rated at 650 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque. A 7-speed manual is standard with both engines, offering an automatic rev-matching downshift function that was enhanced for 2015. Another addition last year was an all-new, in-house-designed and built 8-speed automatic with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters.
And the 2016 Corvettes continue to spit out eye-popping performance numbers. The Stingray's 455-hp V-8 offers plenty of push to accelerate the car, hitting 60 mph in just 3.8 seconds with the manual—or 3.7 seconds with the 8-speed automatic. Quarter-mile times are a mere 11.9 seconds with the automatic or 12.0 with the 7-speed manual. Whether tackling the straights or the curves, the Stingray offers ample performance, with surprising grip, nimble reflexes, and a great deal of communication through the seat, pedals, and steering wheel, all of which inspires driver confidence. A Z51 package is available to further enhance the Stingray’s performance, with modified aero, lighter wheels, and bigger brakes among its features. In Z06 trim, the manual car can click off 3.2-second 0-60 mph runs, while the automatic is even quicker, clocking in at an astounding 2.95 seconds.
The 'Vette's Performance Traction Management system keeps the car balanced and easy to control even near the limit with Track mode (and the Race sub-mode) engaged. The Stingray can be a bit harder to control with all of the aids off, though it still exhibits remarkable poise and balance. In fact, the Corvette Stingray can realistically run with sports cars costing twice its price.
The interior of the 2016 Corvette carries forward the substantial upgrades made for the C7's 2014 debut. Improved materials, more modern design, and significant new technology such as the Drive Mode Selector and latest-generation Chevy MyLink infotainment help bring the Corvette on par with European and Japanese offerings in the highly competitive, but relatively low-volume super sports car segment.
All Corvette trims get a fully wrapped interior, where every surface is covered with premium, soft-touch materials. Available materials, depending on the trim level, include Napa leather, aluminum, carbon fiber, and micro-suede. Customers also have two seating choices: a regular GT seat and a Competition Sport seat with more aggressive side bolstering for greater support on the track.
Even during longer driving sessions, the Corvette's new GT seats are comfortable and supportive, despite the low-slung nature of the cabin. The available Competition Sport seats are extra-supportive, although they may not be to the liking of folks with all body types—a trial fitting is recommended before placing an order. Leg and head room are good even for those over six feet tall, and, as with the last Corvette, there's plenty of room for a weekend's travel in the rear hatch or the convertible's trunk.
Thanks to a well-designed aluminum body structure, the Stingray and Z06 convertibles avoid the dreaded cowl shake that often accompanies a coupe that's had its roof sawed off. These drop-top models manage to offer the same level of ride-and-handling prowess as their coupe counterparts since the C7 was designed as an open-top roadster from the start. And the automatic soft-top arrangement, which will operate at speeds of up to 30 mph, is tight-fitting and doesn't block too much visibility when it's up.
Neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS have crash-tested the Chevy Corvette in recent years, but a rigid chassis, a full complement of airbags, plus stability and traction control, and the Corvette's innate grip and handling should make it relatively secure in emergency situations.
For 2016, both Stingray and Z06 coupes and convertibles receive several feature enhancements, additional options, and available design packages to keep things fresh. New exterior colors include Corvette Racing Yellow and Long Beach Red Metallic, which replace Velocity Yellow and Crystal Red from the previous model year. The three design packages are the Spice Red, Twilight Blue, and Jet Black Suede, each with an interior in the hue denoted by their name along with many unique exterior details like painted trim, stripes, wheels, and different top colors for convertibles. The latches on convertible trunks and coupe hatches all get a power-cinching feature to pull them down, steering wheels get a flat-bottom design, and a new front curb-view camera will be available. Chevy is also offering Magnetic Ride Control on Stingrays without the Z51 package and will include the Z51 wheels and rear spoiler on those cars. The Z06 will be offered in a limited-run C7.R Edition package, painted Corvette Racing Yellow and trimmed to resemble the brand's eponymous race cars; 500 will be built in a mix of coupes and convertibles.
The 2016 Corvette Stingray continues on with its solid-for-a-sports-car fuel economy, scoring 17 mpg city, 29 highway, 21 combined with the 7-speed manual; the paddle-shift 8-speed automatic is nearly as efficient, rated at 16/29/20 mpg according to GM. The Z06 is understandably less efficient, at 15/22/18 mpg with the stick, and 13/21/16 mpg with the 8-speed auto. Both transmissions have wide ratio spreads and tall top gears for greater highway mileage, and cylinder-deactivation technology also helps conserve fuel in low-load situations.