No American sports car approaches the mystique of the 2016 Chevrolet Corvette. Generation after generation, the Corvette has reached the hearts of enthusiasts. The 2016 Corvette presents something new while advancing its lineage of fun-to-drive coupes and convertibles.
The Chevrolet Corvette is America’s sports car, a title it has owned since its 1953 introduction. Now in its seventh generation, this iconic model is sold in Stingray and Z06 trims, with coupe and convertible choices available.
For 2016, all Corvette models gain a power-operated trunk lid and smartphone integration that includes Apple CarPlay.
The Corvette’s designers were careful not to mess with success when designing the seventh-generation model, which was released for the 2014 model year. Nevertheless, the latest version reflects thoughtful changes that yield an even sportier, yet handsome rendering.
The current edition adds an inch between the wheels and gains secondary side windows with the most significant changes made to its rear fascia. From stem to stern the look is sleek, balanced and always in motion.
Every square inch of the body has been carefully laid out. There are vents nearly everywhere, including the hood, near the front wheels, at the base of the roofline and in the bumpers.
Tear drop headlamps with boomerang lighting accents, a muscular hood, massive shoulders, a flowing beltline, and a raised rear deck are additional standout features. The rear fascia includes sporty combination lamps and its design signature — four oversized exhaust outlets — are grouped in the center of the diffuser. High-end sport wheels are set within Michelin run-flat tires. The color-coordinated brake caliper covers provide additional eye candy.
Convertible models receive a blue, black or red fabric top, depending on the design package chosen. It is a fully electronic top and can be operated at speeds of up to 30 mph. Simply hold the switch in place until the roof is up or down and the entire process is finished.
The Corvette Stingray’s interior is snug, offering 52 cubic feet of passenger volume. An assortment of seat options are available, including standard GT or available competition seats, with leather, suede and microfiber inserts present.
All models come with a fully wrapped interior with premium, soft-touch materials found throughout the cabin. Napa leather, carbon fiber, aluminum and micro suede are present, depending on the model. The Corvette’s instrument panel is composed of numerous dials and half dials, including a center tachometer.
An 8-inch screen is located within that panel and delivers driver information.
Every model comes with a small, flat-bottom steering wheel with meticulous stitching for a soft, but firm feel. The center console is neatly organized, but simple, highlighted by the color display and joined by switches and knobs to manage the infotainment and climate control systems.
Between the seats is a passenger grab bar, the transmission shifter, two cup holders, a drive mode selector and an electronic parking brake. A shallow storage compartment can be found underneath the armrest. A hidden storage compartment behind the touch-screen display includes a USB port. Both doors also come with storage pockets.
The Corvette’s competition seats are firmly bolstered, yet comfortable. Heating and cooling switches control the temperature; you’ll stay firmly in place no matter what on- or off-track antics you pursue.
The Chevrolet Corvette is represented by two models: the Corvette Stingray and Corvette Z06.
The Corvette Stingray is powered by a 6.2-liter V8 engine making 455 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. This model comes paired with a seven-speed manual transmission with active rev matching or with an eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. Despite its strong performance numbers, the Corvette Stingray is EPA-rated at up to 17/29 mpg city/highway.
Choose the Corvette Z06 and that same engine comes with a supercharger and makes a blistering 650 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque. The same transmission offerings found in the Stingray are offered with the Z06, but the automatic comes with a torque converter clutch. This model is EPA-rated at up to 15/22 mpg city/highway.
As delivered, I tested a Corvette Stingray convertible with a manual transmission and the Z51 performance package. This model brings in integral coolers for the rear differential and transmission and also adds brake-cooling ducts, a unique rear spoiler and additional air deflectors.
Slip behind the wheel of this sports car, get fastened in and then prepare yourself for a delicious joy ride. Warm weather on select days beckoned me to drop the top and I eagerly complied. The windblown experience is, of course, something else. At the same time the Corvette’s designers made use of sound deadening materials to keep the cabin quiet when the roof is up.
The seven-speed manual shifts effortlessly between gears. Short, smooth shifts are accomplished, and you’ll still be in third gear as you push this sports car up to highway speeds.
The Z51 performance package brings in an electronic limited-slip differential, effectively splitting torque between the rear wheels. Working in conjunction with the vehicle’s speed, steering input and throttle position, it enhances steering feel while providing balanced handling and traction.
Ideally, the driver would take this car on the track. Nonetheless, twisty roads are a sufficient avenue for placing the exclamation point on any journey you desire.
Today’s cars are laden with technologies and the Corvette Stingray is no exception. The Chevrolet’s MyLink infotainment system is one of the better ones of its kind, with colorful apps for ease of access to the 8-inch color touch screen. New for 2016 is Apply CarPlay compatibility, which ties in with Apple iPhone 5 and later smartphones.
Plugging in your iPhone updates the display, making it easier and safer to receive calls or send and receive messages. Android Auto compatibility is expected later in the model year.
Driver-oriented technologies are big with the Corvette Stingray. A drive mode selector provides five settings: Eco, Weather, Tour, Sport and Track. Depending on the mode selected, up to 12 performance parameters are affected, including steering, handling, track management, the automatic transmission shift points and launch control.
The signature technology for this model is its performance data recorder. This system is comprised of a high-definition camera, a telemetry recorder and a dedicated SD-card slot that allows the driver to record their driving experiences on and off the track. The video system can also be set to record real-time events automatically, including performance metrics. The video can then be played back on the Corvette’s color screen.
Neither the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) nor the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has crash tested the Corvette Stingray. Like other low volume, high-priced models, the Corvette is not put through the same punishing tests of mainstream vehicles.
Chevrolet equips the Corvette Stingray with front- and side-impact air bags, and also provides a backup camera and OnStar telematics support, the latter with an emergency notification system. Models equipped with a head-up display reduce driver distraction, which is a key contributor to vehicle crashes.
The Corvette Stingray’s starting price of $55,400 for the coupe should be considered a teaser. Most buyers opt for one of the three performance packages, easily driving the price above $70,000. Special wheels, striping, competition sport bucket seats ($1,995), and the available performance data and video recorder ($1,795) can push the final price to near $80,000.
Notwithstanding, the Corvette’s price compares favorably with the starting prices of models like the Dodge Viper and Porsche Cayman, which are its chief competitors. For budget-minded enthusiasts, the Chevrolet Camaro is worth considering.
Considered by some as a “midlife crisis” car, the Corvette Stingray has earned its place in American automotive lore. Its admirers are many, its owners are loyal, and the culture surrounding the Corvette line is like none other due largely to its dedicated manufacturing plant and the neighboring Corvette Museum.