Accolades heaped on the Chevrolet Corvette are well earned. Even a short test drive is convincing.
Driving a Corvette should be an emotional experience, and the standard coupe and convertible deliver in spades. The 400-horspower LS2 V8 rumbles wonderfully, and the Vette intoxicates with its acceleration. With either the manual or automatic transmission, the coupe thrills. And the convertible is plain wonderful. Drop the top on a nice day, blare the stereo and you'll have what psychologists call a peak experience. It's a fantastic feeling and at those moments the Corvette more than justifies its price, which is a bargain compared to other truly capable high-performance sports cars.
Yet probably the best thing about the 2007 Corvette is that you don't have to suspend right-brain rationality to enjoy it. Chevrolet has eliminated nearly all the cruder, less desirable traits that characterized Corvettes of yore, and its performance does not exact a painful toll on driver or passenger. The Corvette could be a reasonably comfortable daily driver in most locales, for at least three of the four seasons. Driven sanely, it can deliver pretty good mileage, too, up to 28 mpg highway by the EPA's formula, better than most SUVs.
Now in its third year of production, the current Corvette is known to sports car enthusiasts as the C6 (for sixth generation). What makes it better than the previous generation is everything: performance, refinement, ease of operation. It's more comfortable and easier to drive, not only on the road, but also on a race track. It quickly infuses a driver with confidence. Its brakes are fantastic and, yes, it's faster. And to its credit, Chevrolet has not rested on its laurels with the Vette.
A year after launch, Chevrolet introduced a six-speed automatic transmission, which works great and lives up to the advanced technology in the rest of the car.
Even more significant was the introduction of the latest-generation, ultra-high-performance Z06 model. The Corvette Z06 is a true supercar for a price that's merely expensive, as opposed to insanely expensive. The Z06 gets the 505-hp LS7 V8, high-tech, weight trimming chassis features and upgraded brakes. If any $66,000 car can be called a bargain, this is the one, at least in terms of raw performance. The Corvette Z06 accelerates faster, grips better and stops shorter than European sports cars that cost twice as much. And we find it much easier to drive than a Viper.
For 2007, the Corvette gets a bigger glove box, redundant steering-wheel controls for the high-end Bose stereo, and OnStar tele-aid service for the Z06 model.
Bottom line: In either standard or Z06 trim, the 2007 Chevrolet Corvette remains the best high-performance value in America. Corvette delivers supercar performance for the price of a midsize luxury sedan, and it's easy to live with.
The standard 2007 Chevrolet Corvette is available as a coupe or convertible, with more than enough horsepower and either a manual or automatic transmission. The crazy powerful Z06 model is available only as a fixed-roof coupe.
The Corvette coupe ($44,170) and Convertible ($52,085) are powered by a 6.0-liter V8 generating 400 horsepower. A six-speed manual transmission is standard. The optional six-speed Paddle Shift automatic ($1,250) can be shifted manually with levers on the steering column.
The Corvette coupe features a one-piece removable roof panel in body color (standard) or transparent plastic ($750). The dual-roof option ($1,400) includes both. The Convertible comes standard with a manually operated soft top; the power top is part of the 3LT option package ($5,540) and has a heated glass window in back.
Standard features for the Corvette coupe include leather seating surfaces, dual-zone automatic climate control with a pollen filter, power everything (including seats), cruise control and HID headlights. The Convertible adds sport seats with adjustable lumbar support and side bolsters. The sport seats are included with Preferred Package 2LT ($1,495) for the coupe, which also adds side airbags, a rear cargo net and luggage shade.
Two suspension options are offered for both the coupe and convertible. The Z51 Performance Handling Package ($1,695) is designed for track days, while Magnetic Selective Ride Control ($1,695) automatically switches from extra-firm to more comfortable touring settings with electronically controlled variable damping.
Preferred Package 3LT ($4,945 for the coupe) is nearly the full extra-amenity package for the standard Corvettes. In addition to the power top for the convertible, it includes a head-up display, heated seats with position memory, a premium Bose stereo with CD changer and XM Satellite Radio hardware (and for 2007, redundant steering wheel controls), a power telescoping steering column and rearview mirror with compass. The list of free-standing options is short: DVD navigation ($1,750), which includes the Bose audio; OnStar telematics ($695); chromed aluminum wheels ($1850); polished aluminum wheels ($1,250) or dark gray painted wheels ($395).
The Corvette Z06 coupe ($65,640) is considerably more expensive than the standard models and raises performance to another plane. The heart of the Z06 is a 7.0-liter V8 producing 505 horsepower, with racecar features such as dry-sump lubrication and coolers for the power steering pump, gearbox and rear differential. Beyond the engine, the Z06 package includes a host of high-performance components, starting with hydro-formed aluminum frame rails (rather than the steel rails used in the standard Corvette). Its hardtop is fixed in place. Its brakes are upgraded, its tires are huge and it's offered only with the six-speed manual transmission.
Safety features that come standard on all models include dual-stage front airbags, ABS, traction control and electronic stability control. We recommend the optional side airbags, but there's a rub. The side bags are included in the option packages, but not priced individually. You have to get all the extra stuff if you want them.