C8 CORVETTE IS SOON TO ARRIVE, BUT DON’T OVERLOOK 2019 GRAND SPORT DROPTOP
The next generation Chevy Corvette is on its way this summer with the reveal of C8 Corvette due for July 20, 2019. It will represent the company’s first take as a mid-engine roadster, though other details on the special website (https://www.chevrolet.com/upcoming-vehicles/next-generation-corvette) are somewhat on the skimpy side.
If you’re one who just has to have the latest thing — and if the lines that form outside of Apple stores when a new iPhone is introduced is evidence there must be many of you — then no doubt you will want to wait to see what all the fuss is about before rushing off to a Chevy showroom.
But there is much to be said for what the outgoing Corvette model has to offer in the way of performance and looks, and with the likely onrush for the newest, some bargains on 2019 Corvettes may be in the offing.
Can’t guarantee that because I don’t own a dealership, but it’s worth checking out.
The Corvette has been around since 1953, and the magazine U.S. News & World Report still rates it No. 1 in two classes in its analyses of reviews and data from various sources., ranking it ahead of a field of German and Japanese imports in both Sports Car and Luxury Convertible categories.
The high-performance ZR1 trim, which carries a six-figure price tag, was reintroduced for the 2019 lineup, but the Grand Sport convertible checks in with a base MSRP of $70,400. Well-equipped (more about that later) the tab goes up to the mid-$80,000 range for the Grand Sport. The Stingray droptop carries a base MSRP in the mid-$50,000 neighborhood.
Being a sports car, the Corvette is all about power, and the Grand Sport gets 460 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque from its 6.2-liter V8 engine. Zero-to-60 times have been recorded at well under 5 seconds for that power plant, which may not matched the 2.7 seconds for the ZR1 and its supercharged V8, but consider time for the first Corvette in 1953 was 11 seconds (according to the website zeroto60times.com)!
We must be in a bigger hurry than than the Greatest Generation.
A 7-speed manual transmission is standard, and an optional 8-speed automatic with five different modes — eco, tour, sport, track, and weather and paddle shifters — is a $1,195 option. In sport mode, it sings a throaty tune through the quad exhaust tips
With the manual, the Grand Sport drinks premium fuel at the rate of 16 miles-per-gallon city, 25 highway. With the automatic, it’s 15/25. You can get by on lower octane, but you bought a premium car, so why skimp on its diet? (Z06 and ZR1 models definitely need the higher octane.
Handling is excellent, as might be expected. The 2019 Corvette Grand Sport seems smaller than its predecessor, which adds to the feeling of agility, but actually it’s about the same size of the previous generation with only small differences in length and width and identical numbers for the wheelbases.
Inside, Chevy has done an excellent job in improving the quality of materials to make the cabin worthy of “luxury” status. As a two-seater, it can be tricky to get into, but once you get the knack (bend low, sweet chariot) it’s not a serious issue. Of course, it’s very easy to get in and out with the top lowered, and you can do that with by pressing the appropriate button on the key fob before you get in.
The optional 3LT package ($9,745) adds such niceties such as Napa leather inserts, custom leather-wrapped panel, doors and console, heated and ventilated seats with power lumbar support, premium audio, head-up display and performance data and video recorder with navigation to an already lengthy list of standard features that include leather bucket seats.
Even with the cloth top in place, the cabin is big enough so as not to induce a feeling of claustrophobia. There is 43 inches of legroom and 37.9 of headroom, and the wealth of techno features like a 4G-LET wife hotspot, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and the premium Bose sound system.
About the only issue is the surrounding view. It is very restricted with the top up.
Chevy took a big step up with the C7 Corvette. It’s certainly a more civilized vehicle than the earlier Corvette models I was privileged to drive. It’s hard to imagine that the soon-to-arrive next generation will take that big a step forward
What I liked about the 2019 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport Convertible: The interior has been upgraded over the years, and it’s a very comfortable vehicle to drive. Unquestionable power, superior handling, and an agility that makes for a fun driving experience. Seats are comfortable and supportive.
What I didn’t like about the 2019 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport Convertible: The trunk is awfully small, especially when the top is lowered. But with it up, I was able to fit in a beach umbrella and 2 beach chairs without an issue. With the top up, the surrounding view is somewhat restricted, and it helps to have a riding partner if you are making a left turn and at an angle to crossing traffic.
Would I buy the 2019 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport Convertible? Of course. When you’re buying a Corvette, you are getting not just a car but a piece of history.