2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray: Road Trip Wrap-Up: Bad Bromance
February 11, 2014
When we started this road trip, Oldham and I were on opposite sides of the C7 coin. Scott wasn't a fan of the C7 while I considered Tonya Harding-ing some of the more senior staff members so that they couldn't drive a stick and I'd get more sweet, sweet Corvette time.
A few thousand miles later, we're still on opposite sides of the coin. He's in love, and my Corvette Stingray Bromance is over. I wished we'd taken our 911.
As anyone who's followed Edmunds for any period of time knows, I likes me a good road trip. I like going for pointlessly long drives just to turn around and drive back. I like shooting for maximum range on a single tank and maximum range for a single day. So when I started looking for lunch spots on day 1 and then multiple photo locations, I should've known something was up. When I grabbed a large water along with my espresso on the morning of day 2 — thus mandating an early pee break — I should've known something was up. When I made it all of 4 miles outside of my hotel on day 3 before stopping for pictures, I knew something was up.
I'm just not comfortable or particularly happy in the Corvette Stingray. Not when it's away from a mountain road or racetrack at least.
Part of this has to do with the seating. Seats in the C6 were crap. The base seats in the C7 are, objectively, pretty darned good, but for me they're just not right. Let's start with the seat height: It's too high. Way too high. To achieve anything close to visibility, you've got to recline to 45-degrees. I'm not an F1 racer. I don't like driving in a prone position. I'm a big fan of staying near-vertical. Doing this in the C7 equals a head in the roof, eyes level with the sun visors and a Cinemascope view of the world. This is pretty much the best view I can hope for out of this thing.
The seat height and tightness of the cabin also forced me into this odd position where, with a hand at 10 and a hand at 2 (I prefer 9 and 3), my right elbow hits the center console on right turns. Not annoying at all. I guess I could drive with one hand at noon and the other on the shifter, but that's silly.
Finally, there's the Vette's lack of thigh support. The seat bottoms are too short and don't dip down enough in the rear. After about an hour behind the wheel trying to figure out what to do with my legs, I start getting all fidgety.
Now we move onto REALLY subjective things. Nitpicks if you will. Things that aren't necessarily wrong or bad, but bugged me during the trip.
-Hate the paddles. Couldn't look at that every day. (Their function is beyond reproach. It's a clever spot to place that button. I just can't live with the same paddles on a manual that's on an automatic.)
-Hate the electronic door release. (There's a real door release on the floor! This doesn't save weight, and never works on the first push.)
-Dislike Chevy's MyLink. It doesn't categorize audiobooks by chapter, is painfully slow to respond and seems to have the resolution of a potato.
-Dislike the instrument panel. It just feels forced. The configurability is neat, but I'd rather it have two clean dials instead of 9,430 muddled operations.
-Dislike the ingress/exit. It's very low and there's a pointy bit on the dash that tries to separate your shin meat from the bone upon entry. Exiting, even as a young man in pants, is inelegant.
Obviously, you might not feel the same about ANY of the above. The cool part is that now the Chevy Corvette Stingray is finally a car that you can purchase or dismiss based on your preferences, based on subjective things. Previous Corvettes could be easily dismissed on empirical flaws. This car offers simply amazing ride quality, effortless power, one of the best stability control systems ever made and solid fuel economy for a decent price.
Still, I'd buy a 911. A Carrera in black with sport exhaust and PDK for about $90,000. It costs more because it's better.
For me, driving the Stingray is like having an affair: It's fun, it's crazy, it's sexy and makes you all tingly for a while. The Porsche 911 makes you want to start a long, loving relationship. It's still faster than road cars need to be, but it's also refined and comfortable and classy and makes you feel like you've made good decisions. Oh, and when I drove the 911 from New York to L.A. we got better fuel economy (28.9 mpg average) a better best tank (31.4), greater range (511 miles) and I managed more miles per day (at least 1,000). I was more comfortable, had better visibility and frankly just enjoyed the drive more.
In the made-up war between the 911 and the Corvette, I'm with the Porsche.
Mike Magrath (@Mike_Magrath ), Features Editor @ 12,728 miles.