2019 Chevrolet Corvette Driving Impressions

Whether equipped with manual shift or automatic, the Corvette’s power ranks as legendary. Z06 and ZR1 editions qualify as American supercars.

Choices are simple, starting with the 455-horsepower V-8 in the Stingray, with Z51 handling package optional. Next: the track-aimed Grand Sport, followed by the 650-horsepower Z06. King of today’s hill is the ZR1.

Whatever the powertrain, a Corvette promises agile handling, tenacious grip, communicative steering, and powerful brakes. Convertibles differ little from coupes in performance, and don’t shudder when driven across broken pavement.

Base Stingrays handle well, but the Z51 package stiffens the suspension, upgrades brakes, tweaks aerodynamics, and adds an electronically controlled limited-slip differential. Grand Sports feature a wider rear end to fit larger tires that grip even better.

An aluminum-intensive architecture gives Corvettes a strong structure, helping them stay flat through corners. Electric-assisted steering is quick and provides satisfying feedback.

Urban thirst for fuel is inevitable, but the base V-8 isn’t bad on the highway. With 7-speed manual, the base Stingray is EPA-rated at 16/25 mpg City/Highway, or 19 mpg Combined. Automatic dips the estimate to 15/25/18 mpg.

The Z06 is EPA-rated at 15/22 mpg City/Highway, or 17 mpg Combined, with manual. Automatic is close at 14/23/17 mpg. The ZR1 is EPA-rated at 13/19 mpg City/Highway, or 15 mpg Combined, with manual; it’s 12/20/15 mpg with automatic.

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