2010 Corvette New Car Test Drive
The Chevrolet Corvette is the great American sports car. It's thrilling to drive, with breathtaking acceleration performance and exceptionally tenacious grip for hard braking and high-speed cornering.
When it comes to serious performance, the Corvette might be the best bang-for-the-buck deal on the planet. For the price of a midsize luxury sedan, the Corvette delivers supercar performance. It's easy to drive on a daily basis and maintenance costs are not exotic.
We love the Coupe, with either the manual or Paddle Shift automatic. It quickly infuses a driver with confidence. Its brakes are fantastic. And, it's blazingly fast. The six-speed automatic transmission works great and lives up to the advanced technology in the rest of the car; it can be shifted manually with levers on the steering column.
The Convertible on the other hand is plain wonderful. Drop the top on a nice day, pop in your favorite CD, and you might have what psychologists call a peak experience, a moment where you revel in being alive. It's a fantastic feeling, and at those moments the Corvette more than justifies its price. The aural sounds of the burbling V8, the body-colored trim that surrounds the cabin, the feel of power beneath, it is automotive heaven.
The Corvette can be a reasonably comfortable daily driver in most locales, for at least three of the four seasons. The latest-generation Corvette is a sophisticated car, and its performance does not exact a painful toll on driver or passenger. And, with all that performance, it still gets an EPA-rated 26 mpg on the Highway, better than most SUVs.
The Z06 version is a true supercar for a price that's merely expensive, as opposed to insanely expensive. The Z06 is powered by the 7.0-liter 505-horsepower LS7 V8, has a lightweight chassis and is fitted with upgraded brakes. If any $75,000 car can be called a bargain, this is the one, at least in terms of raw performance. The Corvette Z06 accelerates faster, grips better and stops shorter than European sports cars that cost twice as much. And we find it easier to drive than a Viper. Indeed, it takes an expensive machine, well driven, to compete with a Z06.
Moving even further upward is the ZR1, a limited-production extremely high performance iteration that boasts a 6.2-liter V8 that's supercharged and cranks out 638 horsepower and 604 pound-feet of torque. It is the most powerful, quickest, fastest, most capable and highest-performing production car ever built by General Motors, which also makes it the highest-performing Corvette ever built, and carries a hefty price tag of $106,880.
For 2010 there are changes of varying significance. One of the more important is the addition of Launch Control as standard on all 2010 Corvette models with the manual transmission. Launch Control optimizes performance for full-throttle starts on a track by monitoring engine torque 100 times per second and maximizing available traction. As such, the system is capable of approaching a skilled driver's very best efforts, and does it with consistency. For enhanced safety, side airbags are standard on all 2010 Corvettes. There are additional changes to trim, color choices, and within the option groups.
For 2010, Corvette Grand Sport replaces the previous Z51 handling package. It uses the standard powertrain, but has wider-body styling, a wider track and a racing-tuned suspension. It has wider wheels and mounts 275/35ZR18 tires in front and 325/30ZR19 tires in the rear, and has 14.0-inch front brake rotors with six-piston calipers in front and 13.4-inch rear rotors with four-piston calipers. The manual transmission has specific ratios, and, with the automatic transmission, the rear axle ratio is specific.
The 2010 Chevrolet Corvette is available in two body styles, Coupe or Convertible, with either a manual or automatic transmission. The Z06 and ZR1 models are available only as fixed-roof Coupes.
The Corvette Coupe ($48,930) and Convertible ($53,580 are powered by a 6.2-liter V8 with 430 horsepower. A six-speed manual transmission is standard; a six-speed Paddle Shift automatic ($1,250) is optional. An optional dual-mode exhaust system ($1,195) raises horsepower to 436. There are four trim levels; 1LT, 2LT, 3LT and 4LT, with increasing levels of features.
The Coupe features a one-piece removable roof panel in body color or transparent plastic ($750). The dual-roof option ($1,400) includes both. The Convertible comes standard with a manually operated soft top; a power soft top, with a heated glass rear window, is standard on 2LT trim levels and above.
Standard features for the Corvette include leather seating surfaces, dual-zone automatic climate control with a pollen filter, power everything including seats, cruise control, tilt leather-wrapped steering wheel, remote keyless entry and starting, AM/FM/CD stereo with auxiliary input jack, XM Satellite Radio, auto-dimming rearview mirror, automatic headlights, alarm, fog lights, xenon headlights, OnStar telematics, and P245/40ZR18 front and P285/35ZR19 rear run-flat tires on alloy wheels. The 2LT and above models add sport seats with adjustable lumbar support and side bolsters.
For a suspension option, the Magnetic Selective Ride Control ($1,995) automatically switches from extra-firm to more comfortable touring settings with electronically controlled variable damping.
The 3LT package ($4,205) includes a head-up display, heated seats with position memory, a premium Bose stereo with six-disc CD changer, redundant steering-wheel controls, a power telescoping steering column, universal garage door opener and rearview mirror with compass. The 4LT package includes the 3LT and adds custom leather upholstery on the top of the instrument panel, upper door panels, and console cover, as well as extra armrest padding, crossed flags seat embroidery and a special console trim plate.
Options include DVD navigation ($1,750), which includes the Bose audio and voice recognition. There are a variety of wheel options in a wide range of styles and finishes. Customers can also opt to take delivery of their cars at the Corvette Museum ($490). The event is broadcast on the internet and customers receive a plaque, special door badges, and a one-year membership to the museum.
The Corvette Z06 Coupe ($74,285) comes with a 7.0-liter V8 producing 505 horsepower, with dry-sump lubrication and coolers for the power steering pump, gearbox and rear differential. Beyond the engine, the Z06 package includes a host of high-performance components. The Z06 hardtop is fixed in place. Its brakes are upgraded, its tires are huge (P275/35ZR18 fronts and P325/30ZR19 rears), and it's offered only with the six-speed manual transmission.
Two option packages are available for Z06: The 2LZ package ($2,665) has a power telescoping steering column; steering wheel audio controls; heated seats; memory for the seats, mirrors and steering wheel; the Bose audio system; universal garage door opener; cargo net; and cargo cover. The 3LZ package ($7,170) has the 2LZ equipment plus power sport seats and other features. There is a variety of wheel choices, from painted aluminum to polished or chrome finishes.
The ZR1 has a supercharged 6.2-liter version of the Z06 V8, utilizing an Eaton four-lobe supercharger. To deal with the additional stresses and loads, every appropriate piece of the engine has been upgraded. As with the Z06, it is available only as a coupe, and only with a heavy-duty six-speed manual transmission. The ZR1 gets huge Brembo brakes, 15.5 inches in front and 15.0 inches in the rear, and made of special heat-resistant carbon-ceramic material. The tires are Michelin Pilot Sport 2 ZP run-flats, sized 285/30ZR19 in front and 335/25ZR20 in the rear; the rims are 10 inches wide in front and 12 inches in the rear. The ZR1 also has the lighter-weight aluminum chassis components of the Z06, and carbon fiber for the roof, hood and front fenders. In addition, the ZR1 hood has a transparent panel, just so folks can look in on the engine.
Safety features that come standard on all models include dual-stage front airbags, side airbags, ABS, tire-pressure monitor, traction control and electronic stability control.