Most boys when they are young dream of two things: hot girls and fast cars. One of those fast cars typically includes the Corvette (though your situation may vary). I distinctly remember when growing up thinking about the Corvette, although it was not until the C6 (6th generation Corvette) introduced in 2005 that my interest was truly piqued. The Corvette has always been somewhat of a performance bargain, and that is still the case to this day. For the 2010 model year the question is simple – is the new Grand Sport Package all that and a slice of pie, or just another trim option not worth the price of entry? Let’s find out.
The first thing you notice about Corvette is that Chevrolet ditched the flip-up headlights (years ago). This gives the car a clean look day or night, and the projector lenses provide crisp cut off lines at night. The front end is low, with a slight plastic lip attached to the front clip (careful when parking!). Directly above the Corvette emblem is an air inlet like those found on Corvette Z06 and ZR1 models. Directly behind the front wheel wells are two gills topped with Grand Sport lettering. The rear quarter panels have a rear brake duct and the door handles are hidden (as with all C6 Corvette’s). The rear features four round taillights and quad exhaust tips poking out from the center of the car. The exterior is aggressive and taught. More then one person noted that the headlights reminded them of those on Ferraris, and I can see how they make that comparison. The Grand Sport hash marks on the front fenders I could go without, but they are not terribly gaudy. The soft top is power operated, however you have one latch inside to release before lowering. The top stows in the rear, eating into trunk space, which is surprisingly still enough for a nice weekend getaway (tested). The rear deck is clean and flat when the top is down. Overall, the exterior is good looking with an aggressive stance.
The interior of this car is such a love-hate drama. I love that it is functional. I hate that is dated. Let’s start with the functional part – with more then enough leg room, the interior is comfortable. The seats are comfortable for everyday driving and the ergonomics are excellent, with switchgear in easy reach and everything laid out nicely. The head up display is terrific day and night. OK, I am done with the good – now the bad. This interior has aged. The plastics are fine but nothing to write home about. The optional leather wrapped dash and door panels do their best to kick things up a notch, and it is an improvement. The electronics are another story. The $1,750 optional navigation system is disc based, not the newer hard drive-based system used in many of the current General Motors cars. You want to listen to your iPhone/iPod? Too bad, there is no USB port.
Want to use an auxiliary in? Nope not available. You pretty much need a radio transmitter to play such advanced devices. I realize that those things aren’t what this car is about….but come on, it is 2010!
I cannot decide if I am being too picky or unrealistic but I will say on a road trip down to Iowa I pretty much just settled for XM radio since I was not going to obviously listen to my iPhone. I would like to note that for 2011 I have heard the Corvette will get both an auxiliary port and USB port.
Just want to warn you, the center tunnel seems to get nice and warm, which you will notice if you rest your leg against it. Oh, and those comfy seats? They are comfy, but in no way up for what this car is capable of on a track.
So while comfy for everyday driving and highway trips, the interior is overall just fine, but it is definitely aging.
It is truly amazing how quickly any negatives I just previously stated fade away once you push the start button. The pushrod V-8 comes to life with a nice raspy burble. The 6.2 liter LS3 V8 pushes 436 horsepower and 428 pound feet (with optional exhaust), while six-piston brake calipers up front clamp down on cross-drilled rotors. The brakes shed speed off quickly. That power was put down (you sitting down?) through a six-speed automatic transmission. I will state that more Corvettes then you want to believe are actually sold with automatic transmissions.
A sad but true fact. Do not worry too much because we have paddle shifters (that might be out of a Malibu). I will say this, while I would personally never buy a Corvette with an automatic transmission, it behaved better then expected. It did what I wanted it to do 95% of the time. Still, I would skip that pesky $1,250 option. One option I would not skip is the $1,195 for that optional exhaust. Dual mode exhaust combined with a drop top is a combination for pure awesome.
The exhaust note is tame and deep when you mash the go pedal, until about 3,300 RPM and then the baffles open up and it sounds like the devil. You can not help but grin like an idiot. That is just it, while driving this car it hard not to smile. By the way, how many cars with 436 hp do you know of that are rated at 15/25 mpg? Try that in a Ferrari! In the city I averaged 15.4 mpg with plenty of spirited driving. On the highway trip down to Iowa I averaged 24.1 with the cruise control set at 77. That is nothing short of impressive!
The current Corvette has been on the market since 2005. That is over 5 model years, and we probably will not see the next Corvette (C7) until 2012 at the earliest (probably later then that). The first question is, does the Corvette still compete on the same level as it used too? It has certainly aged, yet it can still keep up with the best of them.
The base price is hard to argue with too, though the Grand Sport model I was in had a sticker price of $75,740. That is close to a brand new Z06. Part of that problem was the $16,210 in options. You could pare that down easily and still have a great performing car. I would say without a doubt the Corvette Grand Sport optioned lightly might be a better value then the base Corvette in many regards. So yes, it is all that and a slice of pie – just be careful on those options
Full Disclosure- The review vehicle was provided by General Motors