September 30, 2022

350lachine

Automotive pure lust

2021 Chevrolet Corvette Long-Term Road Test: Introduction

Introduction

We’ve become familiar with the excellence of the eight-generation Chevrolet Corvette, now in its third year of production. It garnered our highest accolade by winning three consecutive 10Best awards, showed its stuff around Virginia International Raceway’s 4.1-mile circuit at Lightning Lap, and narrowly lost a comparison test to arguably one of the greatest sport coupes of the modern era, Porsche’s 718 Cayman GT4. But our exposure has been limited to short time frames, relatively speaking. So we ordered up a C8 for a 40,000-mile long-term test to get a real feel for what it’s like to live with Chevrolet’s mid-engine creation.

Like we often do, staffers butted heads during the order process. One faction argued that this was our one chance to experience a base 1LT Stingray equipped with only the essential go-fast parts that come with the $5995 Z51 package (larger brake rotors, racier suspension tune, dual-mode exhaust, shorter final-drive ratio, electronically controlled limited-slip differential, summer tires) and $1895 magnetorheological dampers for a total of $66,990, the price we always tout as the performance bargain of the century. But we’d be living with our decision for at least a year, and eventually, we settled on the mid-grade 2LT trim (a $7300 upcharge), which includes niceties such as a heated steering wheel and mirrors, heated and ventilated seats, a head-up display, a 360-degree camera, a Bose audio system, wireless charging, and a performance data and video recorder.

Marc UrbanoCar and Driver

While the camera system lends a hand to prevent the front splitter from kissing curbs, we also added the front-axle lift system ($1995) to keep its chin clear of speed humps and driveway entrances. The magnetorheological dampers, Carbon Flash wheels ($995), and enticing Red Mist paint ($995) pushed the as-tested price to a still-reasonable $79,170. We went with interior leather in the Natural tone, a no-cost option that pairs nicely with the deep red exterior.

The first 500 miles of Corvette ownership are subdued. Not by choice, but because of computerized limitations. The redline is reduced to 4500 rpm from 6500, and the eight-speed dual-clutch automatic short shifts whenever it can. This getting-to-know-you phase allows one to become accustomed to the buttons atop the curved wall that separates driver and passenger. At first their location seems odd, but they become easy to operate with more familiarity. With the 495-hp 6.2-liter V-8 in a state of relative dormancy, there’s opportunity to appreciate the Corvette for qualities outside its performance realm. The standard seats are comfortable enough for extended stays yet plenty supportive when the road coils. The adaptive dampers provide a supple ride even over Michigan’s broken pavement, and the Active Fuel Management’s switch to fewer than eight cylinders goes largely undetected.

Marc UrbanoCar and Driver

Once the odometer has passed 500 clicks, the tach opens up and there’s more freedom to explore the engine’s robust power over short stints. After the 1500-mile break-in process, the Corvette sprinted to 60 mph in 2.9 seconds and passed the quarter-mile mark in 11.2 seconds at 122 mph. That’s supercar-level performance for a reasonably attainable price. Not to mention that with the Z51 package’s Michelin Pilot Sport 4S rubber, the car gripped the skidpad at 1.03 g’s. The upgraded brakes stopped our 3665-pound Corvette from 70 mph in a scant 148 feet, and the halt from 100 mph needed just 287.

The miles have piled on quickly, and not surprisingly, the logbook is filling up with praise. “The mid-engine Corvette makes an average Joe feel like Tony Stark in an Iron Man suit,” said buyer’s guide editor Eric Stafford, who added, “Whether it’s parked or in motion, it draws stares.” One staffer loaded it full of hunting gear and took full advantage of the front-axle lift system by navigating a sandy, mile-long two-track back to his cabin. This was after we wisely removed the rear brake cooling ducts that were installed and should be fitted only for track use.

Marc UrbanoCar and Driver

Buyer’s Guide deputy editor and Corvette aficionado Rich Ceppos wrote, “The successor to the original Acura NSX, the everyday supercar, isn’t the current NSX. It’s this Corvette.” But it hasn’t been all praise, although we’re partially to blame by not heeding the warning on Chevrolet’s configurator about windshield glare from the optional interior colors. Though an all-black interior wouldn’t have the upscale appeal of our Natural leather, a black dashtop wouldn’t create the three zebra stripes that reflect onto the windshield.

This content is imported from TikTok. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

So far, the Corvette has been a paragon of reliability—with one exception: The navigation system quit working. For us, it’s not a big deal, as we prefer the mapping apps accessible through Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, but it’s something we’ll have addressed when the car goes in for service. We’ve also added a quart of oil, which isn’t a cause for concern as the pistons, rings, and cylinder walls find matrimony, but it’s something we’ll keep an eye on over the course of the 40,000-mile stay. Perhaps we’ll find more grievances, but so far, Chevrolet’s Corvette has already won us over.

Months in Fleet: 3 months Current Mileage: 5929 miles
Average Fuel Economy: 17 mpg
Fuel Tank Size: 18.5 gal Observed Fuel Range: 310 miles
Service: $12 Normal Wear: $0 Repair: $0
Damage and Destruction: $0

Specifications

Specifications

2021 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Z51

Vehicle Type: mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 2-passenger, 2-door targa

PRICE

Base/As Tested: $65,990/$79,170

Options: 2LT equipment group, $7300; front axle lift, $1995; magnetorheological dampers, $1895; Carbon Flash wheels, $995; Red Mist paint, $995

ENGINE

pushrod 16-valve V-8, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection

Displacement: 376 in3, 6162 cm3

Power: 495 hp @ 6450 rpm

Torque: 470 lb-ft @ 5150 rpm

TRANSMISSION

8-speed dual-clutch automatic

CHASSIS

Suspension, F/R: control arms/control arms

Brakes, F/R: 13.6-in vented disc/13.8-in vented disc

Tires: Michelin Pilot Sport 4S ZP

F: 245/35ZR-19 (89Y) TPC Spec 3120

R: 305/30ZR-20 (99Y) TPC Spec 3121

DIMENSIONS

Wheelbase: 107.2 in

Length: 182.3 in

Width: 76.1 in

Height: 48.6 in

Passenger Volume: 51 ft3

Cargo Volume: 13 ft3

Curb Weight: 3665 lb

C/D TEST RESULTS: NEW

60 mph: 2.9 sec

100 mph: 7.2 sec

1/4-Mile: 11.2 sec @ 122 mph

130 mph: 13.2 sec

150 mph: 19.8 sec
Results above omit 1-ft rollout of 0.3 sec.

Rolling Start, 5–60 mph: 3.5 sec

Top Gear, 30–50 mph: 1.8 sec

Top Gear, 50–70 mph: 2.5 sec

Top Speed (mfr’s claim): 184 mph

Braking, 70–0 mph: 148 ft

Braking, 100–0 mph: 287 ft

Roadholding, 300-ft Skidpad: 1.03 g

C/D FUEL ECONOMY

Observed: 17 mpg

Unscheduled Oil Additions: 1 qt

EPA FUEL ECONOMY

Combined/City/Highway: 19/15/27 mpg

WARRANTY

3 years/36,000 miles bumper to bumper

5 years/60,000 miles powertrain

6 years/100,000 miles corrosion protection

5 years/60,000 miles roadside assistance

C/D TESTING EXPLAINED


the track club

A car-lover’s community for ultimate access & unrivaled experiences. JOIN NOW

This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io