- Sharp new style still honors the lineage
- Powerful engines
- Good gas mileage for a high-performance sports car
- Much-improved interior and features
- Balanced handling
- Still not a green machine
- Where's the turbo V-6 option?
- Numerous body vents only available in black
The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray sets a new benchmark for value among well-equipped, comfortable, high-performance sports cars.
The all-new, seventh-generation 2014 Chevrolet Corvette has an edgy new design that's still instantly recognizable as a Corvette, plus a new engine line, and the promise of even better handling and performance thanks to weight reduction, improvements to the chassis, and more.
What does it all add up to? That the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Coupe and Convertible might just have the right stuff for sports car fans all around the world.
At the heart of the 2014 Corvette Stingray is a new LT1 V-8 engine. While it displaces the same 6.2 liters as the previous base Corvette’s LS3, the LT1 is lighter, more powerful, and more fuel efficient. Rated at 455 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque, the 2014 Corvette Stingray is about 5 percent more potent than the last car--but it's lighter, too.
In fact, when fitted with an available Z51 Performance Package, which adds a host of upgrades, Chevy boasts its latest 'Vette can accelerate from 0-60 in just 3.8 seconds and achieve more than 1 g in cornering grip. For comparison, that’s almost quick as the previous C6’s Z06 trim.
The Z51 Performance Package is designed for track enthusiasts and includes an electronic limited-slip differential, dry-sump oiling system, plus integral brake, differential and transmission cooling, as well as a unique aero package that’s said to further improve high-speed stability.
In practice, the Z51 package seriously sharpens the Stingrays already nimble reflexes, as well as giving it the cooling capacity to handle hard use on a hot summer day at the track. Adding the optional magneto-rheological (MR) dampers gives the Stingray a more mellow street ride while preserving the flat, firm handling you want when driving hard.
Balanced and easy to control even near the limit even with the Performance Traction Management system engaged in Track mode (and Race sub-mode), the Stingray can be a bit harder to control with all of the aids off, though it still exhibits remarkable traction and balance. In fact, the Corvette Stingray can realistically run with sports cars costing twice its price.
The interior of the 2014 Corvette Stingray has also been substantially upgraded from the C6. Improved materials, more modern design, and significant upgrades to 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. 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 area.
If you're accustomed to the idea of 'cowl shake' yet the Corvette Stingray Convertible intrigues you, be prepared to be pleasantly surprised. These drop-top models manage to offer exactly the same level of ride-and-handling prowess as their Coupe counterparts. Since the C7 was designed as an open-top roadster initially, you don't give up any structural integrity. 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.
The 2014 Corvette Stingray is also more fuel efficient than the previous model, scoring 17 mpg city, 29 mpg highway, and 21 mpg combined with the seven-speed manual transmission; the paddle-shift six-speed automatic loses 1 mpg on each score. The new seven-speed manual transmission adds a taller cruising gear for greater highway mileage, and cylinder-deactivation technology also helps.
Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (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.
2014 Chevrolet Corvette
Sharp and edgy, the new Stingray takes Corvette themes into the 21st century.
It's hard to take the Corvette in small bites; it works best on an all-or-nothing viewing. Each individual element could be seen as alternately too plain or too over-the-top. But combining them, you get the long, low hood, steeply swept windshield, and bluff rear end that has come to define the Corvette's proportions. At every surface there's a confluence of smooth curves and sharp creases, of planes that intersect and warp. It's a high-tech, almost exotic design theme that somehow still transmits the car's classic DNA.
Inside, the 2014 Stingray's look has been upgraded as much as its feel. No longer the plastic DIY-kit cabin of the previous Corvette, the Stingray's interior is fully wrapped, even in its most basic form, and can grow into true luxury-level accommodations in its higher trims. Driver-focused and simple with a high-tech touch, the shape of the center stack and instrument panel make it clear that the Corvette Stingray is all about performance--but not at the cost of modern conveniences.
2014 Chevrolet Corvette
If this is the base Corvette, we're not sure we need a Z06--this is a seriously fast, fun-to-drive car.
If there's a better performance value than the Corvette Stingray Z51 for less than $55,000 delivered, we don't know what it is.
At a base of 455 horsepower (or 460 hp with the performance exhaust option), the 6.2-liter LT1 V-8 is a brilliant, willing engine. It sounds as good as it goes, and it mates very well with the new seven-speed manual transmission. The six-speed automatic (with shift paddles) also performs admirably, though enthusiasts will opt to row their own gears.
All of that power, plus an electronically-actuated rear differential (in Z51 package cars) helps the Stingray rocket to 60 mph in as little as 3.8 seconds, per Chevy. Top speed hasn't been tested yet, but it's expected to crest 180 mph.
This Corvette, perhaps more than any before it, is about much more than speed, however. With the new e-diff, the stiffer, lighter chassis of the seventh-generation car, and the addition of Chevy's latest Performance Traction Management system, the Stingray is bred for performance--that is, speed in the curves as well as the straights. It delivers, with flat cornering, over 1 g of lateral grip, and surprisingly accurate (if slightly numb) electric power steering.
The result of the C7 Corvette's influx of new components and tunes is a sports car that becomes greater than the mere sum of its parts. There's an experience to driving the new Corvette, just as there should be with every long-running, history-rich sports car family.
And speaking of the Corvette family, it's important to remember this is likely the slowest Corvette of the seventh generation. As with the sixth-generation car, higher-performance models are expected along the lines of the Z06 and ZR1--both of which added significant amounts of power and sharper setups than the base Corvette.
At the end of the day, the Corvette runs with cars that cost twice its price--or more--without coming up too short in other areas. It's the benchmark for value in the super-performance sports car segment.
One final note: If you're considering a Corvette Convertible, don't be afraid of compromised performance. In fact, don't be afraid of stepping up to the track-ready Z51. That's because the C7 Corvette was engineered as a roadster to begin with, so you won't be sacrificing any structural integrity.
2014 Chevrolet Corvette
Comfort & Quality
Every weakness of the C6 Corvette's interior has become a strength for the 2014 Stingray.
Owners had many legitimate beefs with the sixth-generation Chevy Corvette, but fortunately, they've been fixed for round seven.
The interior, once a rather chintzy agglomeration of plastic and (optionally) mid-quality leather, replete with flat, none-too-comfortable seats, is new. The new materials are very good, with soft-touch surfaces at almost all interface points, and the style is sharp and modern without being annoyingly avant garde.
Sport seats are standard, and they're surprisingly comfortable despite holding occupants in place well. Upgraded seats with more race-inspired form and function will become available closer to the start of Corvette production.
For the driver, there's a highly adjustable seat and a tilting/telescoping steering wheel to acquire a comfortable driving position. In manual-transmission models, the shifter falls right where you'd expect it to, at a comfortable height. The steering wheel itself is comfortable and fairly small in diameter, making room in the Corvette's snug-but-not-tight cabin. Hip, head, and leg room are all good enough even for those a bit over six feet tall (and a bit over the 200-pound mark).
As for space for your things, the 2014 Stingray has that, too. In the cabin, there are a few cubbies and boxes for smaller items; even the nav screen has a James Bond-esque hidden compartment behind it with a plug-in jack for your phone. The real magic of the Corvette, as before, is how it makes use of its large, flat cargo area under the rear hatch. It holds a surprising amount of luggage or other cargo, and makes the Corvette a rather practical option for a two-door, two-seat sports car.
As for the tight-fitting automatic top, it requires no additional lock at the top of the windshield, and you can raise or lower the top at speeds of up to 30 mph—not that you'd want to, but we appreciate how it's not so finicky.
Wind buffeting isn't as great as in some touring convertibles, but it's not bad either. A dealer-installed windblocker makes a meaningful improvement.
2014 Chevrolet Corvette
Not yet tested by the IIHS and NHTSA, the Corvette nonetheless offers a strong set of standard safety features.
The 2014 Stingray comes standard with frontal and side-impact driver and passenger air bags, daytime running lights, six months of OnStar support, a backup camera, and steering wheel infotainment controls. An optional head-up display (HUD) relays instrument panel information to a projection on the windshield.
2014 Chevrolet Corvette
Even base-model 2014 Corvette Stingrays are well-equipped, but there are a number of upgrades for the luxury- or technology-minded.
Base models include dual-zone automatic climate control with air filtration system; an 8-inch color touch screen panel for infotainment control; SiriusXM Satellite Radio; Bluetooth streaming audio; USB and SD car inputs; auxiliary input jack; auxiliary power outlet; cruise control; keyless entry and push-button start; a rearview camera; and a leather-wrapped three-spoke steering wheel.
Optional upgrades include: 2LT and 3LT interior packages, which add color and material upgrades to the upholstery; an available Bose 10-speaker audio system; SiriusXM with HD Radio; a custom luggage set; memory-function eight-way power adjustable seats; satellite navigation; upgraded competition sport bucket seats; a sueded microfiber-wrapped steering wheel; and many aesthetic and comfort options.
Performance upgrades include the Z51 package, a $2,800 option that adds upgraded brakes and dampers, stiffer springs and anti-roll bars, a dry sump oil system, unique wheels, an electronic limited-slip differential, and upgraded cooling for the differential and transmission, plus an aerodynamic package. Magneto-rheological (MR) dampers are also available with the Magnetic Selective Ride Control option, adding a range of drive modes for different use/surface conditions.
Those who wish to have the full Corvette experience can even opt for delivery at the National Corvette Museum across from the plant in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
2014 Chevrolet Corvette
It's no hybrid, but considering its performance, the 2014 Corvette Stingray is one of the greenest cars available.
If you're familiar with the last-generation Corvette, you know it can get surprisingly good fuel economy thanks to plenty of available torque and tall gearing. The new LT1-powered manual-transmission Corvette Stingray does even better, scoring 17 mpg city and 29 mpg highway (30 mpg with the built-in "Eco" mode) for 21 mpg combined; the automatic scores 16/28 mpg for 20 mpg combined.
While those figures won't win any Prius-loving hearts, they are shockingly good in light of the 455-horsepower output of the standard Stingray. In fact, it's likely the most efficient car on the market in terms of mpg-per-horsepower.