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2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray First Impressions

Monterey, CA - Every now and then a company does something incredible; they take a moment in their storied history and they relive it in a gloriously modern way. Incredibly, they return to their roots, but in such a futuristic package that those new to the product may miss the historical lesson altogether.

The brand new, seventh-generation Corvette Stingray is a technological feat for Chevy, loaded to the rear flank cold-air intakes with gadgets and amenities previously unheard of in the Corvette. Modern to the max, but with a firm and solid old-school muscle car mentality, the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray is a marvelous machine.

What is the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray?
The Corvette is one of those vehicles that enter boyhood dreams and reveries. First introduced in the ‘50s, the C1 was a 150-horsepower inline-six, drop-top sports car with racy looks. Since then, the Chevrolet Corvette has stood as a symbol of American muscle on the road, and a statement for homegrown, American craftsmanship.

Not since the ‘60s has the Chevrolet Corvette worn the Stingray name. Why? Because the folks at Chevrolet didn’t think their cars were quite worthy of what that particular name meant. However, the C7 has proven highly capable of sporting the Stingray badge.

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Price and Specs
Perhaps the most impressive thing about the new 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray is its price. With a base MSRP in the $50k range ($58K for the convertible), the 455-horsepower (460 with the performance exhaust package) V8-powered Corvette Stingray gives the illusion that it’s just a high-performing economy car amongst overpriced luxury track demons that mainly hail from Germany. However, get behind the wheel before you make an actual judgement call. Even fully decked out, the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray still sits way below the “norm” around the $70k mark.

Chevy’s 6.2L LT1 V8 engine coupled to a 7-speed manual transmission is gold. With 460 lb-ft of torque (465 with that performance exhaust kit), a brand new electronic limited-slip differential (eLSD), algorithms that monitor tire temperature for optimum grip, five different selectable driver modes, Active Rev Match (which can be deactivated), 50/50 weight balance, lightweight materials throughout (carbon fibre hood and removable T-top), as well as available Magnetic Ride Control and Performance Traction Management, the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray is as loaded as any of its “higher-end” counterparts, yet available for a helluva lot less coin.

Driving the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
Winding my way through gloriously curvy, blind-cornered, elevation-changing Californian roads behind the wheel of the Stingray was perhaps one of the most incredible drives I’ve ever done in my career.

There was something surreal about it all; cruising the West Coast, T-top removed, hot Californian sun beating down as my hair whipped around my flushed cheeks. As I turned up the radio to better hear Led Zeppelin’s “Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You” over the rush of seaside air, I let the Stingray stay in 3rd gear as I approached a particularly sharp corner. Hands lightly gripping the wheel, I turned the ‘Vette’s sharply angled nose into the bend and trailbraked my way through, listening to the V8 burble and howl along with Page’s guitar riff.

Somehow they’ve managed to create a vehicle that’s as in tune with its heritage as it is futuristic. It’s no secret that the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray is full of electronic gadgetry (the eLSD being the most talked about), but they’ve engineered it in such a way that it still feels like a raw, American muscle car to drive.

Steering is heavy and almost feels like a go-kart when in Track mode. Precise and connected to the wheels, turn-ins are sharp. Throttle response only really changes when the Eco or Weather mode is selected, and will feel dull and tame.

The available Active Rev Match feature may seem kitschy, but it’s fun to use at times. The 2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray makes no allowances for those unsure of what they want to do behind the wheel; you need to be confident in your abilities, and smooth downshifts are no exception.

Will you ever really use that 7th gear? Well, for highway cruising and fuel economy (which the company puts at around 29 mpg) you will. However, the Stingray seems happiest in the 3rd-5th gear range -- just listen to that exhaust note beyond the 3,000 rpm mark!

Inside and Out of the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
This iteration may be one of the best-looking Corvettes I’ve ever seen on the road. I’ll always be a fan of the C3, and in my opinion the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray comes the closest.

Aggressive and angular, it presses all the right buttons from the outside. Functional hood vents and rear flank vents improve downforce and aerodynamics, while adding an air of “race car” to the whole package. Meanwhile, the massive, centre-mounted quad exhaust pipes are so menacing you’ll remain intimidated by the ‘Vette even after it’s passed you in a flurry of V8 growl.

Inside, Chevy went to great lengths to create a driver-centric cabin. The new digital gauge flanked by analog dials is great, and the head-up display is a nice touch and not overly distracting. Onboard entertainment and navigation proves easy to use, but you won’t bother with any of it once you engage the Sport mode and hit the open road.

Materials include leather and touches of real carbon fibre and aluminum trim. The carbon fibre T-top is a breeze to detach and store in the trunk.

Comparing the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
In terms of horsepower, the new Vette goes up against the likes of the Porsche 911 Carrera S, Jaguar XK and Mercedes-Benz SL550, all ridiculously more expensive. If quality was a dividing factor in previous-generation Corvettes, the C7 stands to change all that and create some serious, much-needed competition to the European performance car clique.
 

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    2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
    chevrolet corvette 2014
    2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
    Review this Vehicle
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