Chevrolet Corvette C7 Stingray test drive

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Chevrolet Corvette C7 Stingray

Chevrolet Corvette C7 Stingray: This elegant next-generation Vette revives a legendary Chevy name and is sure to capture the imagination of purists, writes Tiff Needell

Within a world of complex hybrids and 1,000 horsepower hypercars whose computers rarely let you have much more than half of that figure, the Chevrolet Corvette is a breath of fresh air for the driver who wants to do the driving. The Corvette name has been around since 1953 but only the C2 and C3 versions were adorned with the famous Stingray name, which is making a comeback after a break of nearly 40 years.

At the moment only the base 460 horsepower model of the C7 is available, with the Z06 performance and ZR1 supercar versions sure to follow, but that’s quite enough horsepower for anyone on public roads. But the best news is that the new Corvette has something which European manufacturers have decided none of us want anymore – a good old-fashioned manual gearbox.

Then there’s the handling. Yes, the ride may be a little on the firm side, similar to most performance cars, but this Chevrolet Corvette C7 Stingray is one that goes exactly where you want it to, inspiring confidence with every move and never threatening to fire you off the road without warning.

reviews-cars-chevrolet-corvette-INT-1000x500On the inside of the Chevrolet Corvette C7 Stingray, old plastics have been replaced by soft leather with an all-new layout that features neat touches of aluminium and carbon fibre. The exterior of the Chevrolet Corvette C7 Stingray also shows a more modern angular look with slashed vents feeding air in and out of the bodywork while the trademark four exhausts that look like missile silos still dominate the rear view.

The 6.2-litre V8 may well still feature pushrod technology and only two valves per cylinder but it can play the very modern trick of shutting down half of those cylinders if you want to switch to eco mode and save fuel. It can also offer to match the engine revs when changing down, so you don’t have to be a heel and toe expert to create the smoothest shifts.

So what’s not to like? Well, the only drawback of the Chevrolet Corvette C7 Stingray is that it comes with left-hand drive only. That’s tricky for overtaking on country lanes but perfect for getting onto the pavement after parking. Indeed anyone who has spent a fair amount of time touring overseas will know that it’s something you’ll quickly find useful.

Unfortunately, General Motors is making a strategic withdrawal from Europe so you’re going to either have to import a Chevrolet Corvette C7 Stingray yourself or head to the official UK agent, Bauer Millett in Manchester – but when there’s a saving of more than £20,000 on the equivalent Jaguar F-Type it’s something you can perhaps afford to do.

Your Chevrolet Corvette C7 Stingray can arrive in a wide range of colours – although you might have to pay a little more for some of them – and you’ll probably have to fork out an extra £3,000 if you want to drive the convertible version. There’s one thing you can’t have, however, and that’s an automatic gearbox.

Chevrolet Corvette C7 Stingray official site

chevrolet.co.uk/cars/corvette/

About author

Tiff Needell

Tiff Needell

Tiff Needell is a former Grand Prix driver who spent most of his professional career racing in the World Sportscar Championship including 14 Le Mans 24 Hour races where he had a best result of third in 1990. He is however perhaps better known as a former presenter of Top Gear throughout the nineties and then helped to create ‘Fifth Gear’ which enters its 14th year in 2015. Tiff recently wrote his autobiography Tiff Gear, is Director magazine’s columnist, races whenever the opportunity arises and has now rejoined Clarkson, co-presenting at Top Gear Live.

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