One of my first acts as Captain of this ship was to call up the guys at GM and arrange to pilot the new C7 Corvette. I had been reading and hearing all the hype and wanted to see if the new Vette was really "all that" and the proverbial bag o' chips. Eventually a shiny drop-top C7 was delivered and I was handed the key fob.
The Stingray was a middle-of-the-road example in terms of options. It had the 2LT package, machined-faced wheels, six-speed automatic trans, and the sweet sounding multi-mode exhaust system. Besides the Laguna Blue paint (a $995 upcharge), and sueded microfiber seat inserts (another 395 bucks), the only other item on the window sticker was the $795 Mylink Nav system. That made it, with destination charge, a $67,430 Corvette. Not pocket change, but there were a ton of options missing that could have pushed that number much higher. So, all-in-all, my ride was a mid-level Vette.
My two initial impressions on driving the Stingray was first; that some people nearly crashed trying to get closer for a look with "thumbs ups" flying at me from every direction. It seemed the masses were as enamored with the lines of the Stingray and to be honest I could see why. The exterior of the Corvette just screams "supercar." It's aggressive, but tastefully so, like it's not trying too hard. There are vents and scoops, but they all perform a function and aren't just window dressing like some cars. The Laguna Blue paint is one of the most eye catching hues out there.
The other impression was one of quality. I've driven my fair share of C5 and C6 Vettes and could always see where GM had to cut costs to give such epic performance. Well, the interior of my Stingray was top notch in terms of materials and construction. The seats were very comfortable and the controls felt high-end. It also had enough electronic gadgets to satisfy the geek hidden inside every gearhead. Gone were the rattles I had come to expect in previous Corvette generations and the car felt tight. Even the wind noise, something normally endemic to convertibles, was as minimal. If I had to use just two words they would be "rock solid."
During the week I took the Corvette everywhere and noted its pluses and minus. On day seven the plus list was much longer. The steering felt very balanced and, even without the Z51 option, the handling was superb. The car was simply fun to drive. The multi-tone exhaust let the LT1 engine growl when needed and still be quiet, and drone free, when part-throttle cruising. Downsides? Well, the trunk on the convertible was pretty small and the trunk lid had to be slammed to get it to latch. The first item was to be expected, but given the liberal use of electronic latches on the C7, I was expecting the same for the trunk. Other than that, I was impressed with the car. If given the choice I would have opted for a coupe with the seven-speed manual and Z51 options, still I didn't want to give it back on the seventh day. I think GM has a real winner with this newest generation of America's favorite sports car.