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Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Coupe

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Base Price: $54,000
Price as Tested: $66,450

If the most bang for your sports car buck is what you’re looking for, the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Coupe has to be on your very short list.

For what historically has often been regarded by younger generations as an “old man’s car,” the current Corvette Stingray is really a sports car for the ages and for all ages. The styling born of last year’s redesign stops curbside pedestrians in their tracks. The Chiropractor lobby should send a thank-you note to Chevrolet for the influx of business caused by peoples’ heads snapping around in a double take as this Vette roars by. Of course, the bright-yellow paint job of my test Vette didn’t hurt either.

I have driven cars before that have inspired people to approach me in parking lots to talk about them: Dodge Viper, Audi R8 andcq5dam.web.1280.1280 (1) Nissan GT-R spring immediately to mind. But, I had never had it happen before with previous-generation Corvettes. Consequently, I was somewhat surprised when returning to the 2015 Corvette in a Bi-Lo parking lot, two twenty-somethings approached me wanting to talk about how much they admire the car. I noticed them standing, talking when I arrived; they waited 15 minutes for me to conclude my shopping and return to the Corvette. For 20 minutes we took turns hurling superlatives at one another. Did I mention these were twenty-somethings?

From the driver’s seat, one is equally impressed by the shear power of this well-crafted machine as by its unexpected civility. Wow, it’s quiet – well, except for the low, resonating burble of its exhaust – it’s comfortable and it’s remarkably easy on the driver. It’s a sports car that can be driven every day. User friendly? You bet!

Its standard powerplant is a 455-horsepower 6.2-liter V8. My test Vette had the optional performance exhaust that bumps the pony count to 450. A seven-speed manual transmission is the default tranny. Here again my test car came with the optional eight-speed, driver-shiftable automatic transmission with steering wheel-mounted shift paddles. Rocketing to 60 miles per hour from a standing stop takes just over 4 seconds. Keeping this brute at least somewhat within the parameters of the posted speed limits is the only hard work involved in driving it. Fuel economy is pretty darn good for a big V8. The EPA estimates 17 mpg in city and an impressive 29 mpg in highway driving. The combined estimate is 21 mpg.

Most owners will be content with piloting the Corvette as they would any higher-end car, but it really shines when challenged. Not only is there an explosion of thrust when goosing the throttle, this two-seater remains composed when thrown into curves. Its tuned suspension adjusts and its beefy rubber grips. It is simply big fun to drive.

Before tacking on the $995 factory delivery charge, the Corvette’s entry-level 1LT price is $54,000. My test Stingray was a 2LT that, when combined with the optional 8-speed tranny, boosted the bottom line by $5,885. In fact, Chevy PR types added enough options to my test car to push the final price tag to $66,450.

There is a convertible version beginning at $59,000, but the coupe comes with a removable roof panel that conveniently stores in the trunk. It does a pretty fair job of masquerading as a drop top and for five grand less.

cq5dam.web.1280.1280 (3)Inside, the cockpit is all about the driver. Even the center stack is angled in that direction. Carefully assembled, all the pieces, controls and surfaces have a high-end feel. The eight-way, power-adjustable stock seats are supportive with scads of side bolstering. Opting for the 2LT trim adds power-adjustable side bolsters to the mix. There is plenty of cargo space too when the roof panel isn’t being stored.

Every Corvette comes with full power accessories, keyless ignition, Brembo brakes, power tilt-telescoping steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, rearview camera, leather seating, heated outboard mirrors, MyLink infotainment interface with eight-inch color touchscreen, nine-speaker Bose audio system with two USB ports and satellite radio capability.

Moving up to the 2LT like my test car adds to the content head-up display, upgraded Bose audio with a subwoofer and heated-ventilated seats.

Optional extras in my test Vette also included the performance data and video recorder, as well as navigation system for $1,795. This video recorder includes a front facing camera that can capture what you see. It has a removable memory chip for easy downloading.

Anyone who still thinks the Corvette is an old fogey’s car hasn’t driven it. Driving is believing!

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