Overview & Reviews
Often referred to as America's only true sports car, the Chevrolet Corvette is one of the world's best known and longest-running nameplates. From its rather humble six-cylinder beginnings in 1953 to the 638-horsepower ZR1, the Corvette has transformed a lot over time, but it has always maintained the key aspects of style and performance that make a Vette a Vette.
Note that the Corvette continues on for its seventh generation as the Corvette Stingray, which is reviewed separately. This review covers the three previous generations of modern Corvettes.
Used Chevrolet Corvette Models
The most recent pre-Stingray Corvette is the sixth-generation model, or "C6," which debuted for 2005 and ran through 2013. Compared to the C5, it boasted improvements in performance, build quality and styling. Design changes included the return to exposed headlamps (first time since '62), crisper fender peaks and a visual slimming of the big rear end. The cabin was upgraded with better materials and switchgear, and the convertible's top could be power-operated. Initially, it had a 6.0-liter V8 developing 400 horsepower.
The following year brought a new six-speed automatic transmission and the 7.0-liter, 505-hp Z06 model. Like its predecessor, the C6 Z06 had a fixed roof, but it shared the regular car's hatchback rear end this time around. For 2007, America's sports car received larger brakes (for Magnetic Ride-equipped versions), an available two-tone leather interior and a couple of special editions including an Indy Pace Car convertible and the Ron Fellows (a successful Corvette race driver) Z06.
A refresh took place for 2008 that brought more power for base versions in the form of a 430-hp 6.2-liter V8, which was coupled to either a six-speed manual or optional six-speed automatic. Chevy also made interior, manual transmission and steering improvements that year. The new ZR1 ultra-high-performance fixed-roof coupe arrived for '09, wielding a 638-hp supercharged V8 and appropriate suspension and brake upgrades, as well as some unique styling features such as a transparent hood insert.
The following year (2010) Chevy brought out the Grand Sport, which essentially combined the base car's V8 with the Z06's suspension and brake upgrades. For 2012, Corvettes received new, more heavily bolstered seats, which provided more comfort and previously lacking lateral support.
For 2013 Chevrolet marked both the Corvette's 60th birthday and the last year for the C6 with the expected celebratory versions. One notable example was the 427 Convertible Collector Edition, which was essentially a Z06 convertible powered by the incomparable 7.0-liter V8.
In reviews of the C6 Chevrolet Corvette, we noted its impressive combination of strong performance, a comfortable ride, eye-catching style, affordability and relatively good fuel economy. The Z06 was singled out for particular praise due to its track-ready hardware and phenomenal 505-hp engine. Complaints involved the cabin's ho-hum interior materials (though the C5's were notably worse), an antiquated audio/navigation interface and the car's lack of nimbleness compared to other sports cars.
The previous Chevy Corvette (the C5) was built from 1997-2004 and marked the Corvette's evolution into a world-class sports car, albeit with an interior that borrowed liberally from the GM parts bin. Easier to get in and out of than the C4, the C5 also boasted a new chassis that had nearly 50/50 weight distribution between the front and rear axles, a more compliant suspension, a much roomier cockpit with more supportive seats and a new "LS1" 5.7-liter V8 that made 345 hp. The transmission choices were a six-speed manual and four-speed automatic.
With a 0-60-mph time of less than 5 seconds and a top speed of around 175, there wasn't much that could touch this Vette short of a few big-dollar exotics from Europe. That first year saw just the hatchback body, whose styling drew barbs for its rather large hindquarters. But the benefit of the big butt was more than 20 cubic feet of cargo capacity under the rear hatch. A convertible joined the lineup for '98 and the following year brought a fixed-roof "hardtop" model with an even more prominent posterior. For 2001, the mighty Z06, a reincarnation of an earlier Z06 performance package from the '60s, debuted in hardtop form only, bringing 385 hp to an already impressive chassis. As if that weren't enough, the Z06 gained 20 hp the very next year.
Enthusiasts looking for a sports car they can live with day in and day out would be well advised to consider a Chevy Corvette from this generation. Pros and cons are mostly similar to the C6, with the notable exception of the C5's relatively crude interior design and materials. This Corvette still offers considerable bang for the buck in the used sports car marketplace.
The fourth-generation Chevrolet Corvette (C4) was available for the 1984-'96 model years. The flamboyant style of the previous generation was replaced with a leaner look, and a race-inspired suspension featuring lightweight alloy components debuted as well. First-year cars should be avoided, as the 5.7-liter V8 made just 205 hp with its troublesome "Crossfire Injection" setup, while the suspension was much too stiff for daily driver duty. Subsequent years saw the debut of a convertible, more power and suspension refinements. By 1990, the Corvette was a well-sorted sports car with massive grip and respectable performance from its 250-hp engine. That year also saw the debut of a sleeker, wraparound dashboard and the ZR1 supercar, which came with a 375-hp, 5.7-liter V8. For '92, the standard Corvette gained more power via a 300-hp V8. The ZR1's output shot up to 405 hp for '93. The last year of this Corvette's generation saw the availability of a 330-hp version of the main V8.
Although the C4 is regarded as desirable in terms of performance for the price, its awkward ingress/egress, cramped cockpit and less-than-robust structure make it more of a weekend toy than a satisfying daily choice. It still looks cool, though, and it's worth noting that the 1990-'96 wraparound dashboard is quite similar to the hypermodern C7's layout.
Read our Chevy Corvette Z06 Long-Term 20,000-Mile Test
User Reviews:Showing 1 through 10 of 1,433.00
Well Pleased - 2008 Chevrolet Corvette
By Rob Joyner - January 19 - 1:02 pm
I purchased my 2008 Base model, 3LT, Z51, NPP 3 years ago with 29,000mi. on the clock. I have been very pleased with it. I have done only oil changes everything has been completely reliable. The car is easy to learn, very driver friendly. My partner (girlfriend) enjoys it very much (definitely a plus). I have put 14,000mi. on it since getting it and have absolutely no complaints. Some have commented that the interior is a little drab but I am very satisfied with it. The engine is "leggy" with good torque and hp throughout a broad rpm range, I don't have to be constantly changing gears although I like the engine sound with the NPP defeated so I find myself shifting almost unnecessarily just hear the exhaust note. I have the NPP bypass remote (came with the car) and that enhances the driving a great deal as I can hear the exhaust when I want and I can return it to normal mode when I want less sound so I can listen to music (I really like this feature). The roof panel is fairly easy to remove/replace with no particular awkwardness although care must be used when doing so, and it stows in the trunk area in the retaining brackets, only it does take up a lot of the available trunk area, but if I'm traveling with luggage I'm not going to be doing it with the roof panel off as I would likely get tired of that after couple hours. I scored the performance high but I'm sure I haven't tested the limits of the car (I'm a senior citizen, and I think it's a good idea for me to not push the car beyond my limits with the possible consequences of breakage, collision and higher insurance premiums the car does everything I want it to. The leather on the seats is good quality and the fit/finish of the car overall is very good. I drive it year round here in the mountains of western NC, USA, and I have a set of summer tires on aftermarket wheels and change over to the all-season tires on the factory wheels when winter comes. This is an extra expense but I really don't like the idea of the car sitting in the garage thru the winter and my not being able to enjoy it, but to each his own. I chose to go this route with the tires since these cars come with summer tires and it's not recommended they be used below 50 degrees F, and since the all-season tires are twice the price of summer tires I think I'm saving money in the long run, and again, I get to enjoy the car year-round. A lot of people (who are true car people) do look at the car with interest/admiration and I have to admit that's a pretty cool feeling, although that's not the reason I bought it. I bought it to drive and enjoy the technology/performance/style, and it's a car I could afford where I could get that. Overall, the fuel economy is good, surprising that 430hp could still result in such figures (average 23mpg). If I had $110k to spend, I'd probably get a 2016 ZO6. I toured the Bowling Green Assy. plant a couple years ago and was impressed with the dedication that goes into these cars.
Present Imperfect - 2015 Chevrolet Corvette
By EasternShoreMan - January 13 - 4:31 pm
The 2015 Corvette StingRay is a helluva buy, but it has too many flaws and compromises to be a "great" all around sports/touring car. First, the good parts: The styling is, from most angles, gorgeous. Many "Corvette guys" do not like the rear end because it lacks the traditional round taillights. This is merely a matter of taste. Overall, the exterior design is a a winner even if it does create a bunch of nooks and crannies to clean. The engine also does not disappoint. The StingRay has gobs of muscle and a wonderful Made in USA V-8 sound. The car is built low to the ground. It can be difficult for older folks to exit and the long nose makes for visibility challenges in parking lots with concrete barriers. The rear hatch has a troublesome latch assembly which needs to be slammed shut rather than merely closed and the automatic hatch opening switch on the dash is positioned too close to the driver's door I have opened the hatch with my knee a dozen times slipping into the driver's seat. And, of course, the car is PLASTIC, which takes some getting used to if this is one's first Vette as it is mine. Those who live in a four season climate need to consider whether they want the "summer only" 20 inch rear tires. I have no idea whether the Goodyears are really unmanageable below 40 degrees as the warnings state. My choice was the Michelin year round set up. Whatever, this is not a snow car, at least not with me behind the wheel. Where the StingRay disappoints most is inside. Here the layout is good and straightforward but the materials used are just so-so, closer to WalMart than Brooks Brothers. No matter what color interior you choose, it will be mostly black. It is unlikely your salesman will tell you that on a sunny summer day the amount of glass in this car makes the cockpit uncomfortably hot (even with the A.C. cranked up full bore) unless you are willing to take out the roof panel or buy an after-market insert. The seat belt guides are poorly positioned and I have given up on trying to keep mine in the intended track. Similarly, the seat release is placed quite low and would be more user-friendly if it were higher on the seat back. The basic seats themselves are comfortable, even for a full day's drive but why GM skimped on standard heating - something that comes on Japanese cars costing half as much - is a mystery. The Navigation system is a real P.O.S. It is very slow in taking input and recently in driving through a strange city at night, the spoken directions lagged reality by a block or more. Overall it is a disgrace to General Motors. Nor am not a fan of the other techno stuff, but maybe that is just age talking. I refuse to accept the facile explanation, "well, what do you expect, its a Chevy." I believe Detroit can design and the UAW can build an automobile just as well as Klaus and Helmut in Stuttgart. The idea that "they are trying to sell it to kids," is also a non-starter how many kids can buy a $60,000+ two seat car? Don't misunderstand, this is super car FOR THE MONEY, but it could be so much better! Looking forward to the C8.
My Baby - 2005 Chevrolet Corvette
By Dewayne Lee - January 8 - 1:42 pm
Wife's Choice for her summer ride! - 2005 Chevrolet Corvette
By DBLUGRAS - January 6 - 5:21 pm
Very few issues, active handling alarm due to underseat connection needing securing, but otherwise, this Vette with Z51 and LS2 w/ 6 sod manual has become as much fun as my Harley CVO, and gets about the same miles each year.
How do you spell Fun? CORVETTE - 2015 Chevrolet Corvette
By Gary Graham - December 25 - 9:15 pm
Mine is an 8 speed automatic (no choice to select). I had a 2001 Corvette C5 convertible for years. Fantastic car. Then I drove a 2015 C7 Z51 wih magnetic ride (shocks), NPP (exhaust), PDR (Performance Data Review) video, etc, etc options. As a retired 68 year old driver of 50+ cars (many of those sports cars), I fell in love with this car immediately. This is no "garage queen". I drive my Corvette. I had taken a sports car driving course in Florida several years ago, so I can and do drive spiritedly. I can appreciate what the C7 can do. I am taking another course soon at the Ron Fellows Corvette Stingray Owners course to learn even more about this beauty. The service support is wonderful. Get to know your Service Advisor. He will become your friend because most of them are true specialists and appreciate the Corvette's uniqueness. I get 21 mpg around town and 29+ mpg on the road. The MIchelin "summer only" high performance tires track beautifully, but lose some of that "stickiness" in cold weather (<32 degrees F).
Awesome - 1999 Chevrolet Corvette
By Dan arcotta - December 5 - 6:57 pm
Drive it! You'll Love driving again!
Faster than a scalded cheetah - 2007 Chevrolet Corvette
By G. Travis - November 12 - 9:02 pm
They should know serious driving skills or they gonna get slapped around.
feelin it in my vette - 1994 Chevrolet Corvette
By De B - November 7 - 8:39 pm
I bought my 94 vette about a month ago. Always wanted one. Love the looks of the C4. Especially with the saw blade wheels! These cars are very reasonable on price! you can find a clean ones under 10k all day and in excellent shape. I am so happy I bought this!! drives awesome. it is the best bang for the buck and it turns heads. The only problem I had is if you buy a 6 speed manual see if it still has the original flywheel. They came with a dual mass flywheel and they go bad. GM does not make it anymore and no one makes the same one aftermarket. So you have to buy a special one aftermarket. You will get some light vibration under harder acceleration, not bad but not as smooth as it was factory. The Vette I just bought had an aftermarket aluminum flywheel in it and it has a lot more vibes when accelerating. So go with the heavier steel one and it will smooth out the drive. The car was totally stock accept for the flywheel the previous owner put in because the dual mass flywheel went bad. I just put in a new clutch and new 36lb flywheel and now its great.
seat of the pants - 1995 Chevrolet Corvette
By sc2222 - November 1 - 9:02 pm
The most dependable ..harsh.. trouble free.. powerful..needy..give me ..take me. solid and firm ...41"high low to the ground ..driven by your limits and short of this chassis expectations...auto you will ever try to drive. eats 911's for lunch ...on mine, 104000 miles the last of the original smallblocks. no on knows the limits of this LT1 longevity.
2008 Z51 Manual Transmission Convertible, 1 of 923 - 2008 Chevrolet Corvette
By 08 Z51 Vette Guy - October 23 - 4:45 pm
Second owner and have put 8k miles on the car in 10 months, totaling 31k. I can't speak to every Corvette and will speak toward mine. It's amazing. No squeaks, creaks or rattles. Incredible power whenever you'd like it, and the exhaust note is magic. Mine is a factory dual mode car, with the fuse pulled. I've crushed new 5.0 ponies easily. The top end of 4th, or my fifth gear shift happens about 147 mph. Most of my passengers tap out before I grab fifth. Ultimately I was hoping to find out how rare my configuration really is. Here's what she is.... 1SZ - PREFERRED EQUIPMENT SAVINGS 313 - CASHMERE 31I - LT CASHMERE INTERIOR TRIM 35T - TOP - BEIGE 3LT - 3LT PREFERRED EQUIPMENT GROUP AM/FM STEREO, 6 DISC CD CHANGER, MP3 FORMAT, BOSE PREMIUM 7 SPEAKER SYSTEM, (REPLACES STD/OPT/PKG RADIO) HEAD-UP DISPLAY PWR TELESCOPING STEERING WHEEL HEATED SEATS MEMORY PACKAGE UNIVERSAL HOME REMOTE STEERING WHEEL RADIO CONTROLS POWER CONVERTIBLE TOP 89U - CRYSTAL RED METALLIC TINTCOAT AAB - MEMORY PACKAGE AG2 - 6 WAY POWER PASSENGER SEAT AJ7 - AIR BAGS, FRONTAL & SIDE IMPACT, DRIVER & PASSENGER AL0 - SENSOR INDICATOR INFLATABLE RESTRAINT, FRT PASS/CHILD PRESENCE DETECTOR AQ9 - ADJUSTABLE SPORT BUCKET SEATS W/PERFORATED LEATHER INSERTS BGR - BOWLING GREEN PLANT CJ2 - DUAL ZONE, ELECTRONIC A/C CM7 - POWER CONVERTIBLE TOP DD0 - ELECTROCHROMIC MIRRORS INSIDE REAR & LEFT OUTSIDE REAR DD8 - OSRV FE3 - SPORT SUSPENSION FE9 - FEDERAL EMISSIONS GU6 - REAR AXLE 3.42 RATIO IL3 - TRIM INTERIOR DESIGN-AQ9 J55 - HEAVY DUTY POWER BRAKES JJA - PT DRESS SUBASSEMBLY JL5 - CONTROL MANUAL TRANS, 1ST TO 4TH GEAR SKIP SHIFT K63 - 110 AMP GENERATOR KA1 - HEATED SEATS KNP - TRANSMISSION OIL COOLING SYSTEM KPS - COOLER OIL, ENGINE LS3 - 6.2 LITER 430 HP ENGINE MN6 - 6-SPEED MANUAL TRANSMISSION MZ6 - 6 SPD MANUAL TRANSMISSION N37 - PWR TELESCOPING STEERING WHEEL NK4 - TILT LEATHER WRAP STNG WHEEL NPP - DUAL MODE EXHAUST NT7 - EMISSION SYSTEM FEDERAL TIER 2 QX3 - CHROME ALUMINUM WHEELS R6K - PROCESSING CODE R9N - PROCESSING CODE - SEAT SLM - STOCK ORDERS U2K - XM SATELLITE RADIO - SERVICE FEE EXTRA. 1ST 3 MONTHS INCL. U52 - ELECTRONIC INSTRUMENTATION U65 - SPEAKER SYSTEM 7, PREMIUM UE1 - 1 YR ONSTAR SAFE & SOUND(ASK DLR ABOUT TURN-BY-TURN NAV UPGRADE) UG1 - UNIVERSAL HOME REMOTE UJ9 - LOW TIRE PRESS. INDICATOR UK3 - STEERING WHEEL CONTROLS US3 - ANTENNA DIVERSITY US9 - AM/FM STEREO, 6 DISC CD CHANGER, MP3 FORMAT, BOSE PREMIUM 7 SPEAKER SYSTEM, (REPLACES STD/OPT/PKG RADIO) UV6 - HEAD-UP DISPLAY V73 - STATEMENT OF VEHICLE CERT.-U.S. /CANADA VA5 - ENGLISH LANGUAGE LABEL VDD - VEHICLE INFORMATION DVD VH9 - ENVELOPE OWNER INFO MANUAL VT7 - OWNERS MANUAL ENGLISH XND - FRONT TIRE - P245/40ZR18 YTK - REAR TIRE P285/35ZR19 Z51 - Z51 PERFORMANCE PKG (INCLUDES:LARGER CROSS-DRILLED BRAKE ROTORS,PERFORMANCE-TUNED: TIRES, STABILIZER BARS,SPRINGS, SHOCKS, GEAR RATIOS)