Spoiler alert: Chevrolet’s fabled $60K C8 Corvette is the performance bargain of the year.
More than its 3-second 0-to-60-mph time, its 1.0 G of cornering grip or the fact that, you know, its engine sits behind the cockpit, the craziest thing about Chevrolet’s new C8 Corvette Stingray is that everything I just mentioned comes on a wildly styled sports car that costs $59,995 — including the delivery fee. No other car offers so much performance for so little cash.
Real quick, though, I need to be honest: I kind of figured the $59,995 Corvette would be the car world’s white whale. You know, the C8 that grabs headlines for its low MSRP even though the reviews all feature more generously specced 3LT Z51 models, like the nearly $87,000 example Andrew Krok just tested, the one Tim Stevens took to the track or the one Chris Paukert first drove last year. I assumed it’d be like the headline-grabbing-but-nowhere-to-be-found $35,000 Tesla Model 3. So, good on Chevy for calling my bluff and sending me the no-options, $59,995 Corvette seen here. Because now I can say it again, and this time with feeling: No other car offers so much performance for so little cash.
The base 2020 Chevy Corvette is a whole lot of car for $60K
The base Corvette 1LT has the same 6.2-liter naturally aspirated V8 as every other Stingray, with 490 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque. Working through an eight-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission, the rear-wheel-drive Corvette will accelerate to 60 mph in 3 seconds flat, and do so without any overdramatic or skittish tendencies. Even on its stock all-season tires, the wide, 305/30-section rear rubbers simply claw into the pavement and shoot the Stingray forward.
The V8 sounds freakin’ awesome on full boil near its (relatively low) 6,500-rpm redline, even without the performance exhaust. I don’t like the transmission’s paddle shifters — most automakers get these wrong — but they’re a direct link to the quick-shifting DCT, which is also perfectly tuned when left to its own devices. The steering is communicative and nicely weighted, letting me know exactly how much grip those all-season tires have. And the standard limited-slip differential means power is appropriately distributed at the rear axle, so you can goose the throttle coming out of a corner without breaking the back end loose. The brakes are strong and offer confident, composed stopping without fade. The standard chassis tune is really good, too — comfortable when you need it to be but nicely taut when it counts.
The key thing you miss out on with the base Corvette is the almighty Z51 pack, which includes larger Brembo brakes and Chevy’s Magnetic Ride Control suspension with adaptive damping and performance traction management tech. You also can’t get the sportier exhaust, which in turn unlocks an additional 5 hp and 5 lb-ft and actually pushes the Corvette’s 0-to-60-mph time below the 3-second barrier, as if this car wasn’t already holy-smokes quick.
But here’s the thing: On several runs along my usual canyon test route north of Los Angeles, nothing about this base Corvette lets me down. It’s clear that even the most stripped-down C8 is a fantastic driver’s car through and through. In fact, it’s one of the most memorable sports cars I’ve tested this year — especially at this price. Frankly, all the Corvette most people really need.
The only real limitation here is the choice of all-season tires. But even then, I don’t think the majority of Corvette owners will ever exceed the limits of what the Michelin Pilot Sport rubbers can muster (Chevy says they’re good for 1.0 G of lateral grip, remember). If for some reason you find yourself needing something stickier, a whole slew of summer options are available from tire shops around the country. Besides, a $1,500 set of Pilot Sport Cup 2s is slightly easier to justify on what is, effectively, a $60,000 supercar.
And I do mean supercar. Just look at this thing; not a single part of the 1LT’s appearance says “base Corvette.” You get the same staggered 19-inch front and 20-inch wheels as other trims, and I don’t have any qualms with the standard silver-painted look. Every Corvette comes with sharp LED headlamps and nothing about the long, low, wide proportions changes from model to model.
The Corvette’s interior is hardly basic, with perforated leather wrapping the standard GT1 seats. And while these chairs aren’t as comfortable as supportive as more expensive GT2 and GT3 options, I can’t find a reason to complain. The seating position is excellent and never leaves me sliding around during spirited driving. The leather-wrapped steering wheel feels great, too, though I hate its squircle shape, which doesn’t really lend itself to nine-and-three hand placement.
As far as in-car tech is concerned, the Corvette offers some of GM’s best. That 12-inch digital gauge cluster is standard across the board and it looks awesome, with colorful, reconfigurable displays. Move to the center stack and Chevy’s Infotainment 3 setup is housed on a eight-inch, high-definition touchscreen. Upper trim levels include embedded navigation, but the C8 comes standard with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, so if you have a phone and a USB cable, you’re all set.
Taken as a whole, however, the 2020 Corvette Stingray 1LT is a sports-car bargain that’s absolutely unmatched. Chevrolet’s more expensive versions offer more creature comforts and widen the performance envelope, sure, but I’ll be damned if this base Corvette isn’t hugely impressive in its own right. Good luck finding a comparable experience for $59,995 out the door.
Steven Ewing for CNET
Auto experts and journalists spend hours and hours evaluating every aspect of a vehicle so you have a road map to the models that will work best for you. The Chevrolet Corvette repeatedly rises to the top of lists and brings home the awards. According to the editors at Kelley Blue Book, the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette is one of the pub’s 10 most awarded cars of 2020.
Prestigious Win: Corvette Stingray named MotorTrend Car of the Year
The 2020 Chevrolet Corvette earned the seventh spot on the KBB list.
“When it was unveiled, the all-new mid-engine 2020 Chevrolet Corvette nearly broke the internet,” writes KBB writer Allyson Harwood. “Its supercar styling and power numbers were impressive, but its incredible resale value data and bargain starting price make the Corvette far more than just an excellent sports car.”
The 2020 Chevrolet Corvette relishes a top speed of 194 miles per hour and thunders across the pavement with the strength of 495 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque. In a blink of an eye, approximately 2.9 seconds, the 2020 Corvette hits 60 mph.
Available Now: 2020 Chevrolet Corvette
In addition to KBB’s honors and praise, the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette earned the 2020 North American Car of the Year title and a Wards Auto 10 Best Award for the interior. The Chevrolet Corvette Stingray took home the 2020 MotorTrend Car of the Year award. The Detroit Free Press gave the Chevrolet Corvette C8 its inaugural title of Car of the Year. It is a 2020 Car and Driver 10Best and a 2020 Edmunds Top Rated Award winner in the sports car category. KBB recognized the Corvette’s value, giving it a 2020 KKB.com Best Resale Value award.
Source: DeAnn Ownes; TheNewsWheel
The 1,750,000th Corvette is white and red, paying tribute to the 1953 original. It’ll be raffled off later this year.
NATIONAL CORVETTE MUSUEMFACEBOOK
Last Friday, without much fanfare, Chevrolet built Corvette No. 1,750,000. It’s an Arctic White coupe, with an Adrenaline Red interior—a spec paying homage to the 1953 Vette—and there’s a chance it could be yours.
The National Corvette Museum announced last month that this particular Corvette would be raffled off, and it’s selling 1500 virtual tickets at $200 a pop. A drawing will be held on September 4, and until then, Corvette #1,750,000 will live in the Museum alongside the millionth (a 1992 convertible) and the 1.5 millionth (a 2009 convertible) Vettes. Hopefully this one doesn’t end up in a sinkhole. All the proceeds from the raffle will be donated to the Museum.
Corvette No. 1,750,000 is extremely well equipped. It’s got the 3LT package along with the must-have Z51 Performance Pack, a front-end lift, the Engine Appearance Package, and a handful of other options. It’d cost you at least $81,000 to order a similar 2020 Corvette, so suddenly, a $200 raffle ticket doesn’t seem like such a bad deal.
NATIONAL CORVETTE MUSEUM FACEBOOK
Given that the very first Corvette was built on June 30, 1963, it took Chevrolet 67 years, one month and 15 days to build 1,750,000 examples. Not bad for a sports car. For context, it took Porsche 53 years to build a million 911s, and Mazda 26 years to produce its millionth Miata. Ford has built over 10,000,000 Mustangs, but that’s not a true sports car like a Corvette. Nissan reached the million Z-Car milestone sometime in the early Nineties, but even still, the Corvette has to be the most popular sports car of all time.
“This type of milestone only comes around every 10 or so years for Corvette,” said Kai Spande, head of the Bowling Green plant. “For this landmark achievement to also be one of the early mid-engines is just awesome for us and for our customers. It’s an amazing time to be part of the Chevrolet brand.”
At the time of writing, 400 raffle tickets remain, so if you want to own a landmark Corvette, get your credit card out. We’ll check back in when Chevy builds its 2 millionth Corvette.