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2014 C7 Corvette Convertible Driving Impressions - Drop-Top Dreamin’

Road-Tripping a C7 ’Vert to the Amelia Island Concours

Walt Thurn Aug 8, 2014
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When the new, seventh-generation Corvette was unveiled in Detroit on January 13, 2013, the car’s dramatic redesign set the car world abuzz. The Bowling Green Assembly Plant’s anemic 2013 C6 production totals have been far surpassed with this new car. The convertible was first displayed at the Geneva Auto Show on March 5, 2013, and began appearing in showrooms during the fourth quarter of 2013. Chevrolet loaned us an early build Lime Rock Green C7 convertible (chassis #0619) for a five-day road trip to the Amelia Island Concours. Our intent was not to take it to the track and wring it out, but to determine what it was like as a day-to-day driver. We added over 1,300 miles to its clock and had a chance to test its features and share our thoughts with you.

2014 Corvette Convertible Rear 2/12

The C7 Stingray Convertible is the perfect ride for sunny day top down cruising. The aerodynamic design of the windshield keeps wind buffeting to a minimum.

We have spent a lot of time in C6 convertibles, including our May 2010 Hertz ZHZ convertible story “Island Adventure.” We found a few changes on how our C7 convertible top operates compared to the C6. The C6 required the driver to unlatch the front of the top at the windshield header before it could be lowered. The C7 convertible uses a dash-mounted button system to raise or lower the top, nothing has to be unlatched. The C7 top can also be activated remotely with the key fob. We also could raise or lower the top while driving (under 30 mph), and it worked flawlessly. The main reason this feature works is the rear decklid pops up about 12 inches and slides back over the trunk lid. This prevents it from being caught in the wind, unlike the C6’s lid that opened vertically. One feature that is carried over from the C6 can be found in the trunk. In order to lower the top a divider must be raised and secured by two fasteners or the top will not lower. With the top up and the divider lowered we were able to fit two soft airline overhead bags into the trunk space and still had plenty of room for jackets and camera equipment. It is not roomy, but with careful packing there is enough luggage room for two adults.

2014 Corvette Convertible Interior 3/12

The Lime Rock Green Metallic exterior is complemented with the stunning 3LT Kalahari interior. The leather-wrapped seats include a heated or cooling feature, which makes cruising very comfortable.

2014 Corvette Convertible Steering Wheel 4/12

The drive to Amelia Island was wet, but the convertible was tight and wind noise was minimal. This Corvette was equipped with the Z51 equipment package and the larger 19- and 20-inch wheels offered exceptional grip in the wet. We chose the Eco mode (E) for this part of the trip and the V4 status is indicated on the display.

Our C7 convertible was filled with a number of premium options that raised its base price to $73,525. This included the Z51 Performance Package and the 3LT preferred interior equipment group. The Z51 Performance Package includes: an electronic limited-slip differential; dry-sump oiling system; integral brake, differential, and transmission cooling; as well as a unique aero package that further improves high-speed stability. The 3LT interior adds suede microfiber inserts in the seats, as well as internal heating or cooling, and were very comfortable. Another unique feature on all C7s is when you refuel. The C6 had a remote door release on the dash whereas the C7 has no button. When the car is turned off you push on the edge of the fuel cover door and it opens. The other surprise is the C7 has no gas cap, you simply put the nozzle into the fuel fitting and a flapper door opens and closes when fueling is completed. It is a nice system that minimizes fuel from getting on your hands.

2014 Corvette Convertible Southern Soul Barbeque 5/12

The Southern Soul Barbeque is a landmark stop for some original down-home cooking. This former gas station was featured on The Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives hosted by Guy Fieri. Seating is available inside or on the outside porch.

2014 Corvette Convertible Side 6/12

The island features many golf courses like the Retreat at Sea Island Resort. We thought its entrance served as a perfect backdrop for our Stingray Convertible with the top down.

2014 Corvette Convertible St Simons Lighthouse 7/12

The original St. Simons Lighthouse was completed in 1806 and destroyed by the Confederate Army in 1862. The one pictured opened in 1872 and is still operational. A historical museum is housed in the former lightkeeper’s cottage and offers a glimpse into the island’s rich history.

Once we were packed and fueled we left our Tampa editorial offices and headed north to Amelia Island, near the Florida state line. Our route included interstate and two-lane country roads so it took about five hours to reach our destination. The weather was rainy and cold so we set the driver select mode to Weather (The five modes are: Weather, Economy, Tour, Sport, and Track). The wet weather gave us a chance to see how the large Michelin tires performed in the rain. We experienced no hydroplaning and the tires remained securely planted to the road at all times. The ventilation system kept the windows clear even during heavy downpours and seat temperature settings were very easy to use. The 6.2L LT1 engine with active fuel management performed without drama. Once the weather cleared we reset the driving selector to Economy and when the engine shifted automatically into the four-cylinder mode under light throttle it went completely unnoticed. The only indication that it was active was a light on the instrument panel that showed a V4 symbol. The engine shifted immediately to eight cylinders when the throttle was depressed, with no hesitation. The LT1 provides more low-end torque compared to the previous LS3. The only driving nit we had was the six-speed automatic transmission. The up and downshifts are not as crisp as they should be in our opinion, but the eight-speed automatic available in the ’15 should fix that concern.

On the highway we averaged 26 mpg while our city average dropped to 17 mpg. We did see 31 mpg on our instant fuel readout several times on the highway, but 26 was our average. Overall, the convertible’s exterior and interior fit and finish was excellent. Our car had over 5,000 miles on it and was squeak and rattle free. It didn’t show any strain from the previous journalists who used it. As a final note, we could not go without passing on all of the positive comments we received about this stunning Lime Rock Green C7 Corvette convertible. We got many thumbs up, questions, and smiles from the many people we saw during our trip. This Corvette is a winner!

2014 Corvette Convertible Amelia Concours 8/12

The 19th Annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance took place at the Ritz Carlton Resort. The Ritz Carlton’s golf course was filled with rare collector cars and packed with over 30,000 spectators for Sunday’s main event.

2015 Shark Gray Z06 Corvette 9/12

This prototype 2015 “Shark Gray” Z06 (EX009) was on display between the solid axle Corvettes. It provided spectators with quite a contrast from the early solid axles to the latest offering from Chevrolet.

1957 Air Box Corvette 10/12

Rare solid axle Corvettes were featured at Amelia this year (see “Festival of Fiberglass” in our Aug. ’08 issue) including Shannon and Ted Skokos rare ’57 air-box Corvette. Several rare solid axles can be seen parked around the lake in the background.

2014 Corvette Convertible Atlantic Ocean 11/12

We could not resist taking a top down photo of the Lime Rock Green convertible with the Atlantic Ocean in the background.

2014 Corvette Convertible Driving 12/12

Sadly, it was time to end our trip in this awesome C7 convertible. Fortunately, the weather was perfect, which allowed us to drop the top for our return trip and smile all the way home!



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