Road Trip Wrap-Up: Bad Bromance - 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Long-Term Road Test
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2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Long-Term Road Test

2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray: Road Trip Wrap-Up: Bad Bromance

February 11, 2014

2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray

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.

2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray

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.

2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray

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.

2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray

Mike Magrath (@Mike_Magrath ), Features Editor @ 12,728 miles.


Comments

  • goaterguy goaterguy Posts:

    Good comments. How tall are you?

  • kirkhilles1 kirkhilles1 Posts:

    Interesting stuff. I would be interested to sit in it and see how my normal driving position compares. Certainly, even at 5'11" and having foam removed from the seat, the Miata still feels a little bit small for me. In terms of the comparison with Porsche, well, I'd be curious to see the costs would compare over 100k+ miles. I'm guessing that when you consider the total costs over the long term, the Porsche becomes an expensive proposition.

  • Agreed, fine observations... and a perfect counterpoint to the fawning praise over this overrated and [non-permissible content removed]-end UGLY vehicle. Sure, it's fast. Sure this is the "best" 'Vette ever - how could it not be? - but even the best polished turd is still only a piece of [non-permissible content removed] when compared to genuine performance cars from companies with true sporting heritage. The 'Vette has and always will come across as nothing but a cheaply-executed, desperate play for attention, little more than a GM vanity project that screams "Look at me! I'm special!" as the rest of the automotive world looks away.

  • noburgers noburgers Posts:

    Well, I appreciate the honesty. AND I appreciate a really informative blog post, which this one is. One line really says it all: "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." So if you give it a decent test drive, under the kinds of conditions you will usually drive the car, I think you can tell if it's right for you. From other reads, yes, the best drivers prefer the 911, but you would have to be able to afford it equipped the way you want, and afford the extra maintenance costs (as your long-termer has proven), and other associated extra costs, like insurance and taxes. On the plus side, if you get one with AWD your winter runs, should you decide to drive it in the winter with winter tires, would be safer.

  • noburgers noburgers Posts:

    @kirkhilles1 you never know about fit. It's not always height, it could come down to body proportions. I am over 6'1" and fit in my (NA) Miata with no fitment (arms, legs/shifting) or headroom issues, although I like a bit of recline, no problem wi

  • nedmundo nedmundo Posts:

    I sat in a new Corvette at an auto show, and experienced the tight headroom and resulting poor visibility too. I was staring right at the visor. I'm only 5'9", but have relatively short legs, so my torso is probably like some taller folks. Now, I can't say I futzed with the seats enough to find the best position, but I place a premium on visibility, so if I couldn't get it significantly better, there's no way I'd buy a 'Vette. Interestingly, after getting out of the 'Vette I hopped into an FR-S, and felt instantly at home.

  • tp660 tp660 Posts:

    That airbag warning label advising kids to be placed in the back seat is a good example of the finer details that the 911 gets right and the corvette screws up. You can call it nitpicking but surely GM had enough money somewhere in its development budget to be able to put stickers that make sense.

  • bankerdanny bankerdanny Posts:

    I met Mike a few years ago at the Chicago Auto Show, I seem to recall him being a fair bit shorter than my 6-3, so I would say he is in the 5-10 range. I sat in the new 'Vette at the CAC yesterday and didn't have any issues with headroom, but I suspect that another couple inches taller or perhaps a different ratio of legs to torso and I would have. One of the things I have always loved about the 911 was the upright windhshield, particularly on the 80's air cooled versions and the fantastic visibility it created.

  • Did u really use that brush in the car wash to scrape away the paint, I mean bugs?

  • Desmolicious: Noooooo. Used the sprayer only at low pressure for a very long time. Bankerdanny: Has it been a few years? You're close, 5'11"ish. Short legs, lots of torso.

  • Phew! i've seen too many people mess up their paint with those things. How does the paint look on the Vette after all that driving on salty/slushy roads?

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    "I wished we'd taken our 911." Huh? The 911 already went on one super-long trip. What would be the point of that? And you're comparing apples and oranges...if you had taken a Carrera S coupe, which is really the match for the Stingray performance-wise, I would bet the small mpg difference you found between the Stingray and your Carrera cab would disappear.

  • Didn't Edmunds take a 911 Turbo on a cross country hit up bbq joints trip a while back? How did that ride compare to the Vette for such a trip?

  • rj_xtrail_2 rj_xtrail_2 Posts:

    "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, for me, in the made up war between the 911 and the Corvette, I'm with the opposite because I will buy the 2015 Z06 with the Z07 package fully loaded and you are just plain stupid but no offense.

  • rj_xtrail_2 rj_xtrail_2 Posts:

    and you are an UGLY bullsh!t, nukedetroit2 because I will buy the 2015 Z06

  • speednet speednet Posts:

    And the posts continue by people who don't know how to adjust the seat... and who refuse to learn. Mike, I hope you won't be doing the majority of the Stingray posts. As the owner of a Stingray myself, I can tell you that many of your impressions are misguided and based on your faulty use of the car. The C7 is an amazing driving experience, unlike any other care before it, but your posts are nothing but complaints. It's good to be objective, but it seems your mission is to simply be the downer of the group.

  • rj_xtrail_2 rj_xtrail_2 Posts:

    Mike, for me, in the made up war between the 911 and the Corvette, I'm with the opposite because I will buy the 2015 Z06 with the Z07 package fully loaded and you are just plain stupid but no offense.

  • rj_xtrail_2 rj_xtrail_2 Posts:

    @nedmundo , bullsh!t. I will buy the fully loaded 2015 Z06

  • wv8090 wv8090 Posts:

    So let me get this straight, you speak nothing of handling or performance and you only "nitpick" about not being able to sit up straight while sipping your espresso? I think you are completely missing the purpose of the car. Useless review. Thanks for trying though.

  • Yes,how tall are you?? Good write up.The fact that you prefer a 911 is ok with me! I would too,but 90 + grand is out of my realm.I have a 2013 GS Corvette that I bought after seeing the c7 reveal.I happen to believe the c7 is an overdone car to the point of being borderline ugly. I like the tech in it,but that's about it. No car is perfect. Any car can be made to go as fast as one's wallet is deep...in a Vette,GM does it for you at a fairly decent price but again,I agree that the 911 cost more because a lot about it is better! I enjoy driving my C6.I will continue to enjoy it for many years to come..AND FOR THE NAYSAYERS OUT THERE ...it can beat a whole lot of more expensive cars out there,doesn't cost 3 or 10 grand for a tune up/oil change, and that accounts for something.

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