2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Long-Term Road Test


2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray: Tell Your Mama, Tell Your Pa

October 28, 2013

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

Day Three: Memphis > Arkansas > almost Oklahoma

A confession: We spent most of our cross-country road trip driving a four-cylinder Corvette.

That's right: V4, baby, every day, most of the day. That should merit exclusion from any Corvette club with a shred of dignity. But we were game to see what kind of efficiency we could wring from this new 6.2-liter, and but for on-ramp blasts taken in full Track mode, we covered most of our miles under Eco. While the V8 will still kick in during Eco mode, and often did on slight grades or under other murky combinations of speed, RPM and throttle position, the green governor wants to run on four cylinders whenever possible.

Kurt suggests a driving strategy early in the trip: driver changes at each fuel stop. I'm skeptical, but Kurt says that's how he and Magrath handled wheel duties on their Alaska drive in our former long-term Jaguar XF. That's a reasonable strategy with a supercharged 5.0-liter that ranged about as far as a sumo wrestler playing shortstop. I think it'll be a different story with a relatively fuel-efficient V8 shutting down half its cylinders most of the time.

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

Kurt and I start pulling six-hour stints behind the wheel, beginning in earnest after we leave Memphis in the late afternoon. Soon we're on Interstate 40 and cross over the Mississippi River into Arkansas with little fanfare. We're trying to make Muskogee, Oklahoma by evening, a small town made famous in a Merle Haggard song for its celebration of American values when the rest of the country was, in the narrator's slightly ironic delivery, going to hell.

The C7 is proving itself an exceptional grand tourer. Not in an opulent Maserati or Bentley Continental sense obviously, no quilted leather center stack for this alpha muscle car. But the cabin is quiet and the ride well-damped. Even the Michelin run-flats keep mostly to themselves, regulated by the magnetic ride suspension option we sprang for. Seventh gear feels mechanically useless, but it allows the Corvette to hum at 80 mph without breaking a 2,000-rpm sweat.

But it's the seats that deserve an overachievement award. People can't complain enough about older Corvette seats, but those complaints usually focus on the lack of high-performance support, not long-haul discomfort. The rest of the staff will start writing opinions on the seats in quick corners and transitions soon enough. We didn't find any nor hunt for them along the interstate. But on the few long on/off-ramp benders we sampled, there was no sliding or cresting what passed for thigh bolsters in the old seats, and it's clear that Chevy no longer specs its seats solely to those of wide waistband and wallet.

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

There's no faulting the long-distance ability of these buckets, either. They are firm, supportive and enveloping. Neither Kurt nor I complain during our long driving stints, although Kurt says he'd like more room to fully extend his legs while sitting shotgun. We stop now and then for photos or a restroom, re-circulate the blood. But the seats remain as comfortable at the end of our stint as they did at the start.

We drive on past dusk through Arkansas woodlands, beautiful area that looks like it would develop a kid's imagination better than any city center or smartphone addiction. But it becomes clear we're not going to make Muskogee, at least not until about 11 pm, and that's another three hours of driving. We call it a day in the small college town of Conway, Arkansas.

It's Wednesday night and there's not much happening around the University of Central Arkansas campus, not even a group of drunken stragglers we can frighten or impress with a burnout. Instead, it's a late dinner and a good night's sleep.

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

Dan Frio, Automotive Editor

Comments

  • noburgers noburgers Posts:

    with the manual I presume you didn't have an issue with the car hunting gears in eco mode as it might do with the automatic. It would be interesting to hear how it reacts.

  • adamb1 adamb1 Posts:

    How does the car sound running on 4 cylinders?

  • quadricycle quadricycle Posts:

    Ah, UCA, almost went there, mostly because of a girl. Memories... Anyway I never considered Conway small (but not big either), but compared to what you guys are used to it probably is.

  • noburgers noburgers Posts:

    @adamb1 good Q. Editors, any comments? Does the Stingray stay quiet like a touring car when cruising in eco? Engine sound? Tire and wind noise?

  • stovt001_ stovt001_ Posts:

    Cant believe those low RPMs. In top (5th) gear at 65 my Miata is turning well over 3K.

  • hacefrio hacefrio Posts:

    @adamb1, @noburgers: we cover a little more about the V4/V8 switch in one of the forthcoming posts. But no, there's no gearbox hunting with the manual in Eco. No throttle resistance or other unwelcome governance that some Eco modes deliver. The Corvette

  • noburgers noburgers Posts:

    Thanks, Dan.

  • ryster ryster Posts:

    Instant Fuel Econ...41 mpg. Uh,ok. The car is rated at 29 mpg highway. Go for a range run and see if you can get 500-600 miles on one 18.5 gallon tank. That would be interesting.

  • kirkhilles_ kirkhilles_ Posts:

    @stovt001 - Dude, you must not live in the Nascar south like me. We have 70 mph limits and everyone goes 80+, so I'm humming around 4400 RPM in my 2000 LS. :)

  • "That's a reasonable strategy with a supercharged 5.0-liter that ranged about as far as a sumo wrestler playing shortstop." LOLOLOL!

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