2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray First Review

  • First production mid-engine in Corvette history
  • 6.2-liter LT2 V8 rated at 495 horsepower
  • 8-speed twin-clutch automatic transmission
  • 0-60mph in less than 3 seconds
  • Reservations now being taken
  • Priced from $59,995 including delivery

Chevy took the wraps off the first production mid engine Corvette in the 2-seat sports car’s history, introducing the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. The V8-powered Stingray boasts 490 horsepower and 465 lb-ft of torque from its redesigned LT2 small block engine, which drives the rear wheels through an 8-speed paddle shift dual clutch automatic transmission. Chevy says the Corvette will be capable of 0-60 mph acceleration of less than 3 seconds when equipped with the Z51 performance package, which bumps maximum horsepower to 495 and peak torque to 470 lb-ft.

We were able to take the 2020 Corvette Stingray out for a brief test drive during testing for the North American Car of the Year awards and were impressed by its abilities in the real world.

Behind the wheel

Driving the new Corvette removed some misgivings we had about the car after its static reveal a few months earlier. Among those were the rectangular steering wheel, the buttons perched atop the divider between driver and passenger, and the overall size of the car, especially the rear end, which has a trunk capable of swallowing two sets of golf clubs.

Settling into the driver’s side, I was impressed with the comfort and support of the sport seat. It holds firmly but with enough cushion to ensure that whether you’re on a long road trip, daily commute or hustling the car at a track day, you’ll be well cared for. The cockpit is definitely driver focused, the graphics on the instruments and the center infotainment screen are crisp and clearly rendered in high definition, as are the readouts in the head-up display. The buttons that we worried about have some interesting indentations, almost like Braille, that will allow drivers to quickly identify them, without looking, after a bit of practice. All of these buttons above the center flipper for fan speed are for the driver, while buttons below it are for the passenger.

While the cockpit is definitely driver focused, the engineer admitted along for the ride to feeling a bit isolated by the center console arrangement. If engaging with your rider is of importance, there’s little to be done about it.

on the road

Hitting the start button elicits a lusty bark from the V8 right behind you—one of the great things about the new Corvette is it remains one of the few modern performance cars with a normally aspirated engine, creating instant torque and an authoritative exhaust note. The push button controls for the 8-speed dual clutch transmission are easy to use and a hand rest to the right is a good pivot point for putting the car in motion or adjusting the various drive modes.

While there’s no provision for a manual transmission, the 8-speed DCT does a great job of providing smooth, seamless shifts in everyday driving, with the responses sharpening considerably when Sport or Sport+ modes are engaged. You can manually work your way through the gears with the paddle shifts, however, the logic on the transmission does such a good job of learning your driving style and level of enthusiasm you’ll find more often than not it’s preferable just to let the car do its thing.

Dialed-in steering

As for that rectangular steering wheel, it works. It does an effective job of framing the instrument cluster without getting in the way of your sightlines. The steering itself is precise, well-controlled and nicely weighted, firming up as you move from Tour into Sport modes. Likewise, the ride, thanks to the Z51 package complemented by the magnetic ride control is compliant enough to allow the 2020 Corvette to be a daily driver. The more performance oriented Z51 package, which costs $5,000, includes specific tires, brakes, exhaust system and axle ratio as well as additional cooling and an electronic limited slip differential. The magnetic ride adds $1,500 on top of that.

The shift from front- to mid-placement of the engine is a big change, but Corvette engineers worked hard to make the car feel neutral and linear in its response. While the previous Corvette had its engine in front of the dash, most of the mass of that powerplant was behind the centerline of the front axle, so swapping positions with the passenger cabin isn’t as big a change to the road manners as you’ d think.

As for the size of the rear end of the car and its big trunk, when you’re hunkered down behind the wheel, you really don’t give it much though. Rear visibility is quite good for a mid-engined 2-seater and the camera mode on the inside review mirror is an additional assist. Unlike earlier versions of this GM tech, the definition of the image continues to improve.

Our brief stint behind the wheel left us wanting more, especially some time on the track. We’re sure that the 2020 Corvette Stingray will be as satisfying to drive as it is to look at.

How much will the 2020 Corvette cost?

GM delivered on its promise of a starting base price of less than $60,000 with the base LT1 2020 Corvette Stingray coming in at $59,995 including $1,095 delivery. That figure is about $4,000 higher than the current model’s starting price of $55,900. Chevrolet is accepting online reservations for the new model.

The new Corvette will offer three trim levels initially, the 1LT, 2LT and 3LT. The 2LT model has an MSRP of $67,295 and includes features like navigation, color head-up display, premium audio and a performance data recorder. The top 3LT will retail for $71,945. All prices include $1,095 delivery.

The 2020 Corvette is slated to go into production in late 2019 at the Bowling Green, Ky., assembly plant. Additional pricing and package information will be announced closer to the vehicle’s launch.

All new exterior design

The mid-engine placement of the drivetrain has changed the proportions; however, the new 2020 Corvette Stingray positions the cabin in the center of the car, which allows for a slightly longer nose than other cars using a similar layout. These proportions, along with signature styling cues like the sharply creased character lines, split front intakes, double roof bubble and horizontal taillights maintains a strong connection with previous generation Corvettes.

The profile of the car, which remains clad in composite bodywork, is dominated by a large side scoop framed by black trim, a piece that also houses the door release out of sight. Offered in a coupe or hardtop convertible body style, the Corvette coupe retains a removable roof panel for open-air driving. The rear engine cover features a 3.22 mm-thick (0.12 inch) glass window to show off the engine.

Driver-oriented cabin

The interior features a twin cockpit layout with a center console that divides the driver and passenger seats with a long row of buttons for the climate controls, heated seats and other vehicle functions. Offered only with the 8-speed dual clutch automatic transmission, the Corvette uses small levers to select drive and reverse, with buttons engaging neutral and park.

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There are two display screens, a 12-inch configurable unit in the front of the driver and a driver-oriented center touchscreen for infotainment. The steering wheel is a squared off design inspired by racing cars. Three styles of seats are offed, a base GT1 design, a sportier GT2 version with high density foam and a competition sport seat with aggressive bolstering, carbon fiber trim and nappa leather surfaces.

Slightly larger footprint

The eighth-generation Corvette rides on a half-inch longer 107.2-inch wheelbase and measures 182.5 inches in overall length, an increase of 2.7 inches over the previous front-engine model. At 48.6 inches tall, it’s virtually the same height as the car it replaces.

Inside, the cabin offers 37.9 inches of headroom, 42.8 inches of legroom, 54.4 inches of shoulder room and 52.0 inches of hip room, all dimensions within a tenth to a half inch of the previous model. There is a rear cargo area aft of the engine and additional storage compartment in the nose for a total load space of 12.6 cubic feet. Chevy says the Corvette can accommodate up to two standard golf bags in the rear compartment.

The all-new 2020 Corvette rides on 19-inch front and 20-inch rear wheels shod with Michelin Pilot Sport rubber. The Z51 comes with more aggressive Pilot Sport 4S tires. The 2-seater tips the scales at 3,535 pounds. The disc brakes are from Brembo with 4-piston calipers front and rear.

All new suspension

The new aluminum chassis features the use of coil-over shocks and the ability to raise the nose 2 inches for speed bumps. Whenever the nose is raised, the system prompts the driver to ask if the location should be stored in the navigation, so the car will automatically raise its nose at that location the next time around (at speeds up to 24 mph). This feature can store up to 1,000 locations and is a $1,495 option.

In addition to the base model, the Z51 performance suspension returns as an option. That $5,000 package includes specific suspension tuning, front aerodynamic splitter and a slotted rear spoiler. The package also includes the Performance Exhaust System, (which is priced as $1,195 as a stand-alone option). This exhaust boosts engine output to 495 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque. Magnetic Ride Control 4.0 will also be available for an additional $1,500

The Corvette is also equipped with two new drive modes, bringing the count to six. In addition to the traditional Weather, Tour, Sport and Track modes, the 2020 model adds MyMode and Z Mode. MyMode allows for custom settings of the suspension and traction control. Z Mode adds to the baseline My Mode setup by adding the ability to program throttle response and transmission shift mapping.

Pricing Notes:

Starting Price: $58,900

Destination: $1,095

3LT package: $11,950

Z51 Package: $5,000

Visible Carbon Fiber Removable Top: $2,495

Z51 Performance Suspension with Magnetic Ride Control: $1,895

Interior Trim, Carbon Fiber: $1,500

Front Lift Adjustable Height w/Memory: $1,495

19-inch front, 20-inch rear 5 Trident Spoke Aluminum Wheels: $995

Bright Red Painted Brake Calipers: $595

Jet Black w/Adrenaline Red Seats: $500

Torch Red Seat Belts: $395

Adrenaline Red Custom Leather Stitching: $395

Carbon Flash Metallic Painted Outside Mirrors: $100

Total Cost of Test Vehicle: $88,995

Not ready for a mid-engined Corvette? Shop for a remaining 2019 Corvette near you

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