2005 Chevrolet Corvette
This 2005 review is representative of model years 2005 to 2013.
By Dan Jedlicka of MSN Autos
The long-awaited redesigned 2005 sixth-generation Corvette is simply the best, most comfortable high-performance sports car for the money.
You'll pay tens of thousands of dollars more to get a car with the 186-mph Corvette's performance and refinement—and then will lack the advantage of having your car fixed at your neighborhood Chevy dealer.
This sixth-generation ("C6") Corvette—the first significantly new 'Vette since 1997—earns a 10 rating on a 1 to 10 scale because of such things as sleeker, more efficient styling, a major horsepower increase and an improved interior.
The new Corvette looks more purposeful, although it strongly resembles the 2004 version. It's 5.1 inches shorter and 1.1 inches narrower, although its wheelbase is up 1.1 inches to 105.7 inches. The new car's dimensions are somewhat similar to those of one of its prime rivals, the iconic Porsche 911.
Chevy got carried away with gadgetry with its new 2-seater. The Corvette lets its doors and cargo hatch operate electronically without exposed traditional handles and key cylinders. That seems like a good idea, but we all should know about possible electronic glitches with cars.
But what if something like a charging cell phone causes interference and refuses to, say, let the car start? Also, interior door handles are replaced by small buttons, which can be awkward to use.
Tops for the Money
Like all Corvettes ever made, the new one has a fiberglass body, but it doesn't have the squeaks and rattles that plagued Corvette bodies for decades.
The first Corvette was a 1953 fiberglass body model that flopped. The car didn't begin taking off until 1956, with new styling, manual gearbox, hot V8 and other improvements—not to mention race victories. Chevy finally was making money with the 'Vette by the late 1950s and never looked back.
Exposed Headlights and Power Top
The new car has only one V8, compared with two for its predecessor. Engine size is up from 5.7 to 6.0 liters—first increase in a long time—and horsepower has climbed from 350 to a thundering 400. It generates an impressive 400 pound-feet of torque and makes great tailpipe music, with a classic American V8 rumble.
A crisp-shifting 4-speed automatic transmission can be had at no extra cost, although it would have been nicer if the car offered at least a 5-speed automatic.
The Corvette thus has exotic sports car acceleration, similar to that provided by $150,000-plus autos such as the Ferrari and Lamborghini.
Estimated fuel economy is high for such a potent auto, although it's relatively light at about 3,200 pounds. The Corvette delivers 19 mpg in the city and 28 on the highway with the manual transmission and 18 and 25 with the automatic.
More Aggressive Styling
Shorter front-rear body overhangs, sharper fender edges and a small grille opening give the Corvette a European flavor and make it look more expensive than it is.
Improved window sealing no longer lets the 'Vette's windows bow out and create a roar at high speeds, and windshield wipers no longer lift off the glass above 100 mph.
The rear-wheel-drive Corvette has nearly 50-50 weight distribution for good balance. While quick, the steering seems a bit slow at normal speeds, but that's because super-quick steering above 100 mph could lead to stability problems.
New Run-Flat Tires
Powerful anti-lock brakes bring the car down from high speeds in short distances without dramatics.
There's also a $1,695 Magnetic Selective Ride Control suspension (not offered with the Z51 option) which has Touring and Sport modes. It does a remarkable job eliminating road imperfections.
Other options include a $1,405 package for the hatchback, with front-seat side airbags and power front passenger seat (both standard for the convertible). There also are available heated seats, navigation and OnStar assistance systems, satellite radio, dual roof panels for the hatchback and polished alloy wheels.
The interior of the last-generation Corvette fell short of the competition, but the 2005 cockpit is considerably upgraded. Seats are better designed, material quality is improved and there is superior fit and finish. Gauges in the redesigned dashboard can be quickly read, and most controls are easy to reach and use. The convertible top provides almost coupe-like interior quiet on most roads.
High Cargo Opening
The new Corvette continues as a muscular, purely American sports car that feels significantly different than costlier foreign competitors. Corvette fans wouldn't have it any other way.