2000 Corvette New Car Test Drive
Forty grand isn't exactly pocket change, but the Chevrolet Corvette is one of the best performance values on the market today. It delivers a combination of acceleration and handling performance matched only by the Dodge Viper, Porsche 911 Carrera and various exotics, all of which are far more expensive. Sports cars in its price range, such as the Mercedes-Benz SLK, BMW Z3 and Porsche Boxster offer an entirely different driving experience and performance characteristics.
Though it's still no Cadillac, this newest generation of the Corvette -- the C5 -- delivers vastly improved ride quality -- and performance -- over the fourth-generation Corvette.
Three models are available: Hardtop ($38,555); Coupe ($39,130); Convertible ($45,555). All use the same 345-horsepower 5.7-liter V8, revised for 2000 to meet California's Low Emissions Vehicle standards.
With its fixed roof, the hardtop presents a different profile than the coupe. The hardtop comes standard with the 6-speed manual gearbox, high-performance Z51 suspension, a 3.42 limited-slip rear axle and Goodyear Eagle F1 tires. It also comes with air conditioning, a tilt steering column, leather-wrapped steering wheel, active keyless remote, cruise control, leather-trimmed seats, AM/FM/cassette, and power windows and locks.
The coupe adds a six-way power driver's seat and illuminated visor vanity mirrors. Its roof panel removes easily when it's time for al fresco motoring.
The convertible offers the carefree feeling of top-down motoring. Sure, the coupe can put wind in your hair and it costs about $6,000 less than the convertible, but it doesn't match the feeling of driving with the top down.
Two suspension options are available for coupe and convertible: electronically controlled damping adds $1,695, while the Z51 performance handling package adds $350. For 2000, the Z51 package has been upgraded with larger stabilizer bars to improve handling. A four-speed automatic is standard on Corvette coupes and convertibles; a six-speed manual is an $815 option. The hardtop is only available with the six-speed.
Leather is standard, but optional sport bucket seats add $700. Other options: A $375 Head-Up Display projects key instrument readouts onto the windshield. It works well at night, but is difficult to see in daylight. Twilight Sentinel ($60) provides delayed shutoff of the headlights to help you find your way to your front door. A $350 power telescoping steering column allows better positioning of the steering wheel for drivers of different heights; as on all models, the steering wheel also offers a manual tilt adjustment.