The 2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray convertible is unlike any Corvette that came before it. In some ways it seems strange to even call this new car a Corvette because of the changes. The seventh-generation Corvette is a world-class sports car with everyday livability that many cars don’t possess.
I had the opportunity to take a Stingray convertible with the Z51 and LT3 package around the roads of Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. On the surface the as tested price of $74,365 seems expensive for a Chevrolet, but compared to cars like the Jaguar F-Type V8 S, the Corvette is about $25,000 less. Option up a Porsche 911 like the Stingray, and the price soars even higher.
The 7-speed manual in the Stingray is one of the best systems I’ve driven. It’s not as mechanical as a MX-5 or Honda S2000, but the throws are short and the shifter is precise. It would be easy to teach someone how to drive a manual transmission with this car. In addition, the rev matching on the downshift makes shifting smooth.
The car also had magnetic ride control. The version that comes optional on the Corvette impresses. Stiff but not jarring, the sport setting works well for back road runs. Turn the knob to touring mode, and the system smooths out the bumps in the road, giving it a luxury car ride. On long distance journeys, the Corvette would be an excellent companion.
The dual-stage performance exhaust increases the power to 460 hp and 465 lbs/ft of torque. It also enhances the engine noise. I still prefer the Jaguar F-Type’s noise overall, but the Corvette’s is darn close.
The insulated convertible top will operate at speeds up to 30 mph. The insulation helps keep the cabin quiet at speed, and Chevrolet has said that the convertible is quieter than the coupe with the top up.
Chevy’s MyLink system takes care of the infotainment duties. This system includes navigation, support for HD Radio and SiriusXM satellite radio, and support for apps like Pandora and iHeartRadio. The screen opens to reveal a storage cubby behind it for valuables and the USB connection for the stereo.
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A heads-up display shows you information about the car on the windshield. It can show you navigation information, speed, radio station info or performance data. Additionally, the screen in the center of the instrument cluster is configurable to show you just what you want to see.
The mode select knob transforms the car from grand tourer to track star instantly. The Corvette has several modes, including Wet, Eco, Touring, Sport and Track. Instead of adjusting each component separately, the modes are presets for the car’s configuration. Put the car in track and the traction control enters a special mode, the adaptive suspension goes stiff, throttle response improves and launch control becomes available. Put the car in the eco mode and everything softens up and the car runs on four cylinders when it can.
The economy mode, combined with the 7-speed manual transmission, scores the Corvette Stingray a 29 mpg highway fuel economy rating. The Corvette also avoids the Gas Guzzler Tax because of the efficiency.
If you don’t have a need for a back seat, the Corvette Stingray is really the only car you’ll ever need. It has the performance to knock your socks off on a back road or race track, but then can take you anywhere in the country in comfort. The convertible top means you can enjoy open-air motoring when you want to. The stereo system, heated and ventilated seats and dual climate control make it more livable everyday. The Corvette Stingray convertible can adapt to almost any driving scenario.
On top of the livability, the car looks great. HID headlights and new LED taillights give the car a more modern look. If you look at the car objectively, and not based on previous Corvette history, the car rivals the best the Europeans have to offer in appearance.
You don’t have to apologize for driving a 2014 Stingray. The car brings world-class features, comfort and performance for tens of thousands of dollars less than the competition. My first taste of the Stingray was a good one. If you have the chance to drive one, yours will be too!
|Motor Review Fast Facts:|
|Model:||Corvette Stingray Convertible|
|Trim Package:||3LT with Z51|
|Fuel Economy:||17mpg city / 29mpg highway / 21mpg combined|
|Engine:||6.2L V8 DI/VVT|
|Horsepower and Torque:||460hp and 465lbs/ft|
|Price as Tested:||$74,365|
|Pros:||Good on the street, track and highway.|
|Cons:||Not winter friendly.|
|Final Thoughts:||If you only need two seats, it’s the only car you’ll ever need.|
|Vehicle provided by manufacturer for review.|