- 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 2017 Chevrolet Corvette antes up stunning performance and great features; we're mixed on its boy-racer looks.
The Chevrolet Corvette returns for the 2017 model year doing what it does best—raising hell, taking names, doing it all without too high a price tag.
This year, a new Grand Sport model slots in between the naturally aspirated Stingray and the supercharged Z06, taking the former's drivetrain and twinning it with the latter's handling bits for a track-ready daily driver that splits the lineup down the middle. Otherwise, it's a carryover year for the 'Vette, both in coupe and convertible form.
The Corvette earns a score of 7.8 out of 10, thanks to its extreme performance and an extremely thorough set of features. It loses points, not surprisingly, for comfort and gas mileage. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Chevy Corvette styling and performance
The latest Corvette hasn't met a slit, scoop, or duct it doesn't like. All the sharp lines, crisp angles, and vents give it that supercar air, but we'll confess to getting a little tired in the eyeballs after staring too long. At least it says what it does, in so many lines and surfaces: 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, though base versions are still a little basic. The high-end looks that can be applied, should be applied—they make a world of difference in the 'Vette's cabin. 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 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque, or 5 hp more in performance trim. The Grand Sport adopts that powertrain, while the Z06 ups the ante with a supercharged LT4 V-8 displacing 6.2 liters 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. The Corvette can also be fitted with a quick-shifting, in-house-designed and built 8-speed automatic with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters.
All Corvettes spit out eye-popping performance. The Stingray's 455-hp V-8 can knock off 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. Grand Sports are tweaked to be a couple of ticks quicker. 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. Both it and the Grand Sport offer a Z07 handling packaged, bundled with carbon-ceramic brakes, that turn those cars into beastly, controllable track specialists.
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 'Vette can be a bit harder to control with all of the aids off, though it still exhibits remarkable poise and balance. Realistically, it can run with sports cars costing twice its price.
The Corvette's fuel economy isn't the huge win it used to be. The EPA has tightened up its formulas, and the best a Corvette can do now is 19 mpg on the combined cycle, despite transmissions with tall top gears and cylinder-deactivation technology.
Corvette comfort, safety, and features
The interior of the Corvette sports more room for two than some drivers might expect. All seats, even the base ones, are supportive and grippy, though the sport-bucket option for track-intended cars is well worth it. Leg and head room are good even for those over 6 feet tall, and, as with the last Corvette, there's ample storage space inside and under the hatchback. The 'Vette with a roof can carry a couple of roll-aboard bags, no apologies; convertibles don't lose much in translation in terms of performance, and their automatic soft-top can lower or raise itself at speeds of up to 30 mph.
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.
All Corvettes have power features, Bluetooth, a rearview camera, and a fully wrapped interior for a more premium look than in years past. Keep spending, and the Corvette gets much better interior trim—nappa leather, aluminum, carbon fiber, and micro-suede. The killer app it offers is primed for track days: a performance data recorder keeps video tabs on how you're doing, complete with lap times—or can be used as a valet-security device that grabs the the most recent video clips in case the car is involved in an accident.
2017 Chevrolet Corvette
The Corvette is rife with catchy styling hooks—but there are a lot of them, and the interior isn't as striking.
The Chevy Corvette hasn't had much in the way of styling continuity in its seven generations. In the last few, the proportions have been more or less constant, but the C7 is a wild, extroverted scoop addict far removed from the sleekly surfaced C6 it just replaced.
While some may see the newest shape as a break with tradition, there's no denying that it is attention-getting and well-liked by those passing and giving it honks and thumbs-up. Few cars have such long histories or are as instantly recognizable in all their forms as the Corvette—and few cars get the approval of other drivers as easily.
We give it an 8 for styling. The exterior shape is arresting—though not to everyone's taste—but the interior is just above average. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
There are a lot of details on the latest 'Vette, and they have to be viewed together to be understood. Taken as a whole, you get the long, low hood, steeply swept windshield, and bluff rear end that has come to define the Corvette's proportions. Each is a confluence of smooth curves and sharp creases, planes that intersect and warp. It's a high-tech—almost exotic—design theme that somehow still transmits the car's classic DNA. It's also incredibly busy in anything other than black, and while that's appropriately frightening to some other sports cars, it puts the Corvette at a disadvantage for buyers that want a shape sure to be as appealing in 20 years as it is today. At the price point the Corvette now approaches, timelessness is a virtue.
The C7 Corvette's interior look has also been upgraded. Gone is the plasticky kit-car-like cabin of the previous model; the Stingray and Z06's interiors are fully wrapped, even in their most basic forms, and can grow into true luxury accommodations in the higher trim levels.
The shape of the center stack and instrument panel is driver-focused and simple, but with a high-tech touch that makes it clear that the Corvette Stingray is all about performance. A carbon-fiber instrument panel surround looks like it comes from a six-figure supercar; suede and rich leather trim and upholstery are available, with deep colors that speak of designer influence. We still think Porsche's 718 has a better basic interior, but the Corvette has closed lots of trim gaps here.
2017 Chevrolet Corvette
The Corvette remains an incredible performance bargain; the Z06 is a benchmark at twice the price.
The Chevrolet Corvette is an incredible performance bargain, whether it's a Stingray with the Z51 handling package, the Z07-equipped Grand Sport, or the Z06 with the Z07 upgrades. It's an amazing bundle of unfathomable power and grip, one that tips our performance ratings scale at a perfect 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
In base form, the Corvette Stingray throws off enough naturally aspirated power to erase the four-second mark. The LT1—GM's 6.2-liter V-8—turns out 455 horsepower (or 460 hp with the performance exhaust option), making all the right noises along the way, mating up willingly with a slick-shifting 7-speed manual or an 8-speed automatic. The V-8 has 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 seconds with the 7-speed manual.
The Corvette Grand Sport sharpens that blade into a track-ready street car. It mates the Stingray drivetrain to a wider rear end that can accommodate high-performance tires, and adds an aerodynamics package. It's good for 0-60 mph times of 3.6 seconds and a quarter-mile time of 11.8 seconds at 118 mph, hauled down from speed by big Brembo brakes. (Read more about the Corvette Grand Sport in our first drive.) Add in the Z07 package for about $8,000, and the Grand Sport gains Michelin Pilot Super Sport Cup 2 tires, carbon-ceramic brakes, Magnetic Selective Ride Control dampers, and a more aggressive aero package.
The Z06, of course, stomps all comers with a supercharged 6.2-liter LT4 good for 650 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque. With the manual, it can click off 3.2-second 0-60 mph runs, while the automatic is even quicker, clocking in at an astounding 2.95 seconds.
GM says their 8-speed automatic with shift paddles shifts quick enough to beat Porsche’s PDK by 80 milliseconds. We'll say that it's remarkable either clicking its paddles manually or letting the computer figure out which gear is best. it doesn’t feel in any way slower than the manual, which gives potential Corvette buyers their only real quandary when waltzing through the online configurator.
All of that power, plus an electronically actuated rear differential (in Z51 cars and the Z06) mates impressively with the new aluminum-intensive chassis and suspension setup, particularly when configured with the adjustable dampers.
Add to that Chevy's latest Performance Traction Management system, and the Corvette is bred for performance. Flat cornering, over 1g of lateral grip, and surprisingly accurate and feedback-laden electric power steering combine to yield truly addictive driving traits for the enthusiast. It's simply astonishing how well this Corvette drives, even in comparison to its direct predecessor. There's an experience to driving the new Corvette, just as there should be with every long-running, history-rich sports car family. The C7 runs with cars that cost twice its price or more, while mostly hiding its cost-savings in other areas.
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 or crazy Z06. The C7 Corvette was engineered as a roadster to begin with, so you won't be sacrificing any structural integrity. Even the coupe, with its removable roof panel, is more rigid than the previous-generation car.
2017 Chevrolet Corvette
Comfort & Quality
The Corvette seats two in comfort, but we've seen better interiors.
Chevy spent a lot of time improving the Corvette's interior. Base versions don't show it as much, but at long last, a $100,000 'Vette doesn't look completely out of place in its competitive set.
We give the Corvette a 6 for comfort and utility. All models have great front seats, especially the more expensive models, and in terms of interior space, the 'Vette does exactly what Chevy promises for a two-seater. Storage and trunk space are good for a car of this kind, but in the wider view, just average. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
On base cars, the Corvette's driver seat is highly adjustable, and the tilting/telescoping steering wheel makes it easy to find a comfortable driving position for a wide range of body types and sizes. Contortions are no longer required to reach and interact with the shifter on manual models, no matter where you place the seat. Upgraded Competition Sport seats with more race-inspired form and function are available for those who’d like yet more secure positioning for spirited driving.
Hip, head, and leg room are all good enough even for those a bit over 6 feet tall (and cresting the 200-pound mark). The flat-bottomed steering wheel is comfortable and fairly small in diameter, making room in the Corvette's snug-but-not-tight cabin.
The Corvette has space for your things, too. In the cabin, there are a few cubbies and boxes for smaller items; even the navigation screen has a James Bond-esque hidden compartment behind it with a plug-in jack for your phone. The real magic, as before, is how the coupe makes use of the 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. Convertible models offer a smaller but still adequate trunk.
The interior's style is sharp and modern without being annoyingly avant garde. Touches like the passenger climate controls integrated into the outboard vent or the available carbon-fiber center-stack surround elevate this from a workaday sports car to grand-tourer status. Even in out-of-the-way places, the materials are good, with soft-touch surfaces at almost all interface points. You will have to pay for the nicest interior trims, while cars like a 911 or an AMG GT come with a higher standard grade of trim—admittedly, at twice the price. We'd point to Porsche's 718 for a tight-fitting, low-key interior from which the Corvette could learn some lessons.
The convertible offers a tight-fitting automatic top, which requires no additional lock at the top of the windshield, allowing you to raise or lower the top at speeds of up to 30 mph—not that you'd want to, but we appreciate the flexibility. Wind buffeting isn't as well-managed as in some touring convertibles, but it's not bad either. A dealer-installed windblocker makes a meaningful improvement.
2017 Chevrolet Corvette
No crash-test data exists, but the Corvette can be fitted with some worthwhile safety gear.
The Corvette can't be rated for crash safety. Neither the IIHS nor the NHTSA has put one through their regimen of tests—and we don't expect them to, either, given the car's low sales volume and high levels of performance.
We haven't rated it for safety, but will update this page if either agency decides to crash-test an example. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
The Corvette does a fair job at providing some of the latest safety features. Along with the usual standard airbags and stability control, the Corvette comes with a standard rearview camera and Bluetooth; a curb-view camera is an option, and so is a head-up display.
GM also includes OnStar hardware for in-car telematic service, including SOS and 911 assistance, but some of its latest features—lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitors—are not offered. Frankly, the car could use the help: outward vision is miserable to the rear quarters.
2017 Chevrolet Corvette
Corvettes can be customized to your heart's content, but even base models come well-equipped.
Chevy sells the Corvette in three basic flavors. Each of those models—Stingray, Grand Sport, and Z06—each come in a variety of trim levels, and in either convertible or coupe body style.
With all of them, Chevy gets kudos for content. The Corvette offers a great selection of standard equipment, lots of well-conceived features, a useful infotainment system, and a killer app in the form of its performance data recorder. We give it a 10 out of 10 for this category. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
All Corvettes come with power features; dual-zone automatic climate control; an infotainment system with an 8.0-inch color touchscreen; satellite radio; Bluetooth with audio streaming; USB and power ports; a rearview camera; keyless ignition; cruise control; and a leather-wrapped three-spoke steering wheel.
Additional trim packages add to those models with HD radio; 10-speaker Bose audio; competition sport seats; custom luggage; and navigation.
The Z06 and Grand Sport can be cranked to 11 with the Z07 package, which combines Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes, adjustable front and rear aero components, and Michelin Pilot Super Sport Cup 2 tires for a true track-attack vehicle.
Performance upgrades for the Stingray include the Z51 package, a roughly $2,800 option that adds upgraded brakes and dampers, stiffer springs and anti-roll bars, an electronic limited-slip differential, a dry-sump oil system, unique wheels, and upgraded cooling for the differential and transmission. Also included with the Z51 package is a set of aerodynamic upgrades. Adjustable ride control settings are available with the Magnetic Selective Ride Control option, enabling various levels of ride comfort and performance. The magnetic ride suspension is available without the Z51 package and comes bundled with the Z51's rear spoiler and wheels.
Buyers can opt for delivery of their new Chevy Corvette Stingray at the National Corvette Museum across from the plant in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Z06 buyers can also sign up to build the LT4 engine for their new Corvette at the Bowling Green engine facility. And a personalized dash plaque is also on offer to make the 'Vette truly your own.
2017 Chevrolet Corvette
The Corvette's gas mileage should come as no surprise.
Corvettes come in either naturally aspirated or supercharged form; the Stingray and Grand Sport use the former LT1 engine, while the Z06 sports the latter LT4.
Gas mileage with any Corvette is as you'd suspect: OK for what it is, subpar by any rational measure—even though all models have cylinder deactivation and tall top gears to help boost economy in low-load and high-speed cruising.
We give it a 5 for fuel economy, based on the EPA averages for its best-selling models. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
The LT1-powered manual-transmission Corvette Stingray is rated by the EPA at 16 mpg city, 25 highway, 19 combined; the automatic scores 15/26/19 mpg. Those numbers have dropped significantly, thanks to a tighter calibration on the EPA's test cycle.
The Z06 trades some economy for its prodigious performance: the LT4 backed by an automatic rates 13/23/16 mpg; the 7-speed manual is better in most ways, achieving 15/22/18 mpg.