It is very difficult to do a review of a car that you own. You know you are going to be biased; after all, if you didn’t love the car, you wouldn’t have laid out your hard-earned money for it. So, with that disclaimer, I will tell you all about the 2016 Chevy Corvette Stingray coupe.
There haven’t been a lot of changes since I bought my Corvette a year and half ago, but this experience is different because, unlike mine, my review car is a coupe and it has a 7-speed manual transmission.
Let’s start under the carbon fiber hood, where you find the tried and true 6.2-liter V8 that is rated at 460 horses and 460 pound-feet of torque. While this one is the 7-speed manual, new for 2016 you can get an 8-speed automatic that gets slightly better fuel economy. Zero-to-60 time in this coupe is a mere 3.8 seconds.
As usual, the new model year brings new colors on the exterior and interior, and for 2016 you get a flat-bottom steering wheel for more driver room, and you get a power latch to pull down the cargo hatch. Ironically, this vehicle is the same color as my car, although I have black full-body stripes and chrome wheels.
All coupes come with a carbon fiber removable roof that stores nicely in the more-than-ample cargo area and gives you an open-air feeling without the extra cost of the ragtop.
My test vehicle has the Z51 performance package, which gives you a track-ready sports car. You get a different suspension, slotted brake rotors, limited slip differential with a built-in cooler, multi-mode performance exhaust, a rear spoiler, and 19-inch front wheels and 20-inch rear wheels.
Notable standard features include rear view camera, stability and traction control, power seats, power tilt wheel, HID lights, driver mode selector, and a capless fuel filler neck, which you’ll grow to love the more you use it.
Let me touch on the driver mode selector for a moment. It is a round knob on the center console, and turning it lets you choose from the following settings: weather, eco, tour, sport and track. Each of those settings makes a substantial difference in the way the car rides and handles. In eco mode, it helps with fuel economy, and in track mode the Corvette completely changes to a very stiff ride and much tighter handling characteristics.
Moving to the interior, the GT bucket seats are extremely comfortable and hold you in place even in the tightest turns. This car has the optional suede inlays, or you can get full leather. At no charge, you get dual 8-way power seats, dual-zone air conditioning, and a driver information center that you can configure. This sits in the middle of the large center tachometer on the dash. The gauges, by the way, peg out every time you start the Corvette.
Everything on the car runs from an 8-inch color monitor in the center of the dash and features a Bose stereo. All functions work by touch and you get a suite of apps, such as Apple CarPlay and XM radio and you can turn the inside of the car into a Wi-Fi hotspot. You get six months of OnStar for free, which gives you automatic crash response and navigation system. You also get apps to give you real-time info on traffic, weather and much more. The screen also makes for a cool hidden compartment with the push of a button.
There are three trim levels in the 2016 Corvette, the 1LT, 2LT and the top of the line 3LT. This car is the middle package, the 2 LT. For an additional $4,495, you get driver memory settings, power lumbar support, heated and cooled seats, seat badges, surround sound, a heads-up display to show you speed and performance data, and curb view front camera. This camera setup is at the front of the car, down low, to help you see how close you are getting to an object such as a curb. Any Corvette owner will tell you that one of his or her biggest fears is bumping a curb with the front spoiler.
My review car has the Magnetic Ride Control, which is a damping system that reads the road every millisecond to make adjustments to the shocks for a better ride and handling.
Perhaps the one thing this car has that wasn’t available when I got mine is the $1,795 performance data and video recorder. This system turns your Corvette into a sophisticated driving analysis tool. With just two clicks, you can record every aspect of your driving, including real-time audio and video, plus up to 30 channels of performance data. In valet mode, it will record how a valet parker, or your brother-in-law, drove your car. An SD card is required.
One popular feature about ordering a Corvette is that you can take delivery of it at the Corvette plant in Bowling Green, Ky., and go through the National Corvette Museum. If you do this, they make a personalized plaque for your dash.
I’ve said on my radio show many times that everyone should own a Corvette once in his or her life; there is just something unique and different about one. Every time you hear the sound of the exhaust coming out of the quad pipes, it’s a rush, and there is no car that sounds like a Corvette.
The fuel economy may surprise you. It is rated at 17 mpg city, 29 highway, and 21 overall. It’ll do the highway mileage, but if you truly enjoy the car, it won’t do the 17 city, but that’s OK.
Base price on the Z51 coupe is just over $60,000 and as equipped like this one, MSRP is just under $71,000. In my opinion, there just isn’t another car that performs like this one anywhere near that kind of money.
What I liked most: Handling, engine performance, exterior looks
What I would change: Nothing!
MSRP: Base price $60,400, as equipped $70,830
Fuel Economy: EPA rated at 17 mpg city, 29 highway, 21 combined
Fuel Tank: 18.5 gallons
Dimensions: 177 inches long, 74 inches wide, 48 inches high
Weight: 3,298 pounds
2016 Corvette in a few words: Fantastic sports coupe at a great price!
Trailer Towing: N/A
Warranty: 3-year/36,000 mile bumper-to-bumper with roadside assistance, 5-year/60,000 mile powertrain warranty, and first two maintenance visits free
Car Pro Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Miles When Tested: 535
Manufacturer’s website: www.chevrolet.com
Jerry Reynolds is the nationally syndicated automotive talk show host of the Car Pro Show, heard coast-to-coast and locally Saturdays on News/Talk 820 AM and 99.5 HD2 FM WBAP, as well as KRLD 1080 AM. Reynolds is a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association and is the automotive expert for CBS 11 TV in DFW. www.carprousa.com