2021 Chevy Corvette Stingray review: quick review

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The 2021 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray is a mid-engine bargain that competes in a class all its own.


The 2021 Chevy Corvette Stingray is unlike anything else.


The 2021 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray is an affordable mid-engine bargain that's priced to compete in a class of its own.


A few smaller improvements and feature tweaks have been applied to the 2021 Chevy Corvette to make it both easier to operate and more appealing. There's nothing particularly exceptional about a car like the C8 'Vette, but hey, no effort is wasted.


Performance:


With 490 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque, the 2021 Corvette Stingray continues to feature a 6.2-liter V8 engine. This example features a performance exhaust upgrade that boosts horsepower and torque to 495 hp and 470 lb-ft. This would be more of an option box you will check for the throatier exhaust sound in Sport and Track modes than it would be for the extra power.


Despite what you might think, the performance exhaust does not make much noise. In its sportier drive modes, the Corvette makes a lot of noise while cranking up, but around town as well as on the highway, the Chevy is surprisingly quiet. For 2021, Magnetic Selective Ride Control is now a separate option, so the car never feels punishingly harsh over bumps, even if damper firmness is cranked to its maximum.


You can use the paddle shifters to exert manual control over the automatic transmission, which has eight speeds. It takes just 3 seconds for nearly 500 ponies to accelerate from 0-to-60 mph when pulling just 3,366 pounds. This is quite good.


Straight lines are good, but I really like the way the Stingray takes corners. As a result of its mid-engine configuration, the Corvette's driving dynamics are totally different from its predecessors. Due to its short hood and impressive visibility, the car can be precisely positioned on the road where you want it.


As a result, the chassis' rotation point appears to be where my hips meet the seat, creating a trust-inspiring connection between my inputs and the coupe's response. Power is abundant; the suspension is firm, but not punishing. Easy to drive and even easier to drive fast, this car is impressively easy to drive.


A knob is located directly next to the electronic shifter on the center console, and it's used to select the three different drive modes. With a flick of the thumb, a Z button on the steering wheel toggles a driver-customizable performance mode.

Trim level trio:


There is no difference between the removable roof panel on the C8 Corvette, and the full-on retractable hardtop available on the C8 Corvette. Following that, buyers can choose from three trim levels. With an 8-inch touchscreen running the Chevrolet Infotainment 3 system and a 12-inch digital instrument cluster, the 1LT is a nicely equipped base model. The instrument panel of the 2021 Mazda RX-7 will feature a digital tachometer displaying data wirelessly and with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.


With the 2LT model, you get a head-up display, Bose premium audio, onboard navigation, and wireless phone charging. Power lumbar and wing adjustments are offered on the 1LT's GT1 seats, plus heated surfaces are available on the buckets.


With the Stingray's poor rear visibility, the camera mirror on the 2LT model could be considered one of the most important upgrades. As an upgrade over the usual gun-slit rear view, it's a bit difficult to use at first -- especially seeing through it rather than through it.


Additionally, the 2LT trim level offers blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, which help mitigate the Coupe's huge blind spots. A Curb View Camera is standard on the 2LT, which helps keep those staggered wheels -- 19-inches up front and 20-inches back -- free of curb rash.


With my loaded 3LT example, I upgraded the interior with leather and suede trim and GT2 seats with Nappa leather and carbon fiber accents. Despite their beauty, these seats aren't very comfortable. There is a bit too much narrowing in the shoulder area, but surprisingly not in the midsection or hips, which makes longer drives uncomfortable. Because the seats' carbon fiber shells come at the expense of some adjustability, there's nothing to do but grin and bear it.


I have a Rapid Blue exterior paired with a Twilight Blue interior, which borders on being too blue, but looks fantastic... until you sit in the driver's seat during the day and find that the blue leather dashboard glares and reflects off of the windshield. If you're building your own, think about a black dashboard with a toned-down theme.


Personally, I would stick with the 2LT trim. It keeps the best version of the GT1 seats for daily driving while letting you have all the bells and whistles that matter. By skipping the leather, you'll save $4,650 that could be put to better use elsewhere.



Nitpicks and conveniences:


Although I generally like physical buttons in a car's cockpit, the Corvette's climate control bank is a bit cluttered. The strip runs vertically along the ridge of the center console and requires a lot of eyeball work to find the function you're looking for. You can set the automatic temperature control to always stay comfortable, but you won't be as adept as you should be at making a quick adjustment or switching the heated or cooled seats on and off as you drive.


In particular, I appreciate the physical button for activating the front and surround-view cameras. There is an easy way to access it underneath the screen, on the front of the center console. The feature is hidden in menus in a lot of other vehicles, so it can be difficult to find. When parking, I prefer this dedicated button that provides instant access to the camera and peace of mind.


A Front Lift option also will be appreciated by owners of steep driveways, which raises the front suspension by approximately 2 inches in around three seconds. With this system, you do not have to tap the button every time you approach your driveway or that particularly nasty speed bump on your commute.

It remembers up to 1,000 GPS locations where the lift has deployed, so you don't have to do it every time. Upon approaching a remembered location, you just need to keep your speed at or below 24 mph to automatically carry your nose over the obstruction.


Two-seat Corvettes are still very practical in my opinion. The underhood space left by the engine can accommodate a medium- to large-sized carry-on bag. A PGA pro can stack two big bags behind the engine bay, as well as two small golf clubs. If you want to store the coupe's removable roof panel, you lose that rear storage, but keep the top above your head, and two people can pack a lot for a long weekend away.


A motor pulls the latch, and a motor helps secure the lid when the tailgate is gently dropped. In the same way, the doors on the S-Class are soft-close. However, the hood lacks this feature, which is unfortunate. You'll need to slam the lightweight composite lid hard every time.


It might feel like you're going to break it, but make sure you put some oomph into it to ensure the frunk latches properly. The Chevrolet will electronically limit the 'Vette to 35 mph until you pull over and address the issue if you don't do so and the hood lifts at speed. The hood does not flip violently back onto the windshield with this method, but a soft-close mechanism like those found at the rear would be more effective.


Additionally, the 2021 Corvette features Buckle-to-Drive, a feature that prevents the transmission from shifting out of park before the driver's seatbelt is fastened. If you attempt to drive unbuckled on public roads, it will continue to beep on you persistently even if you disable this setting in a menu. You may want to disable this setting when using a third-party racing harness on track.

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Pricing and competition:


As for the price of the Corvette, it hasn't changed for 2021. Including the $1,095 destination charge, the base Coupe starts at $60,995, reaching $71,945 for the 3LT before options. This example has a price tag of $80,020 due to the front lift ($2,995), Magnetic Ride Control ($2,895), performance exhaust ($1,195) and visual upgrades to the wheels, paint and engine bay.


Chevy may seem expensive, but keep in mind that the only other mid-engine sports cars priced this high are the Porsche 718 Cayman and Boxster models, both of which have half the cylinders and 100 fewer horsepower than their more expensive S models. Chevrolet's 2021 Corvette Stingray is priced to compete in a class seemingly all its own.


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