What's New for 2002
The track-ready Z06 model gains more power and performance. Electron Blue replaces Navy Blue metallic on the color palette, while Dark Bowling Green metallic gets dropped.
Nearly 45 years after the 1953 Corvette debuted, Chevrolet introduced the fifth-generation Corvette for 1997. Since then, it has gained a reputation as one of the premier sports cars in the world.
Much of that reputation stems from the standard LS1 V8 under the hood. Rated at 350 horsepower and 360 pound-feet of torque (375 lb-ft with the manual transmission), this engine unleashes effortless power at any speed. Equipped with the standard four-speed automatic transmission, the Corvette will hit 60 mph in a shade over 5 seconds. Opt for the six-speed manual transmission, and you'll cut almost half a second off the trap time. To help rein the power in on slippery surfaces, acceleration slip regulation (traction control) is standard equipment.
Last year saw the introduction of the ultra-high performance Z06 model. With 385 hp, race caliber brakes, and a lightweight chassis, it was one of the fastest, lightest and stiffest Corvettes ever to leave the factory. This year, the Z06 roars with 405 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque from its LS6 V8 in addition to a retuned suspension and a standard head-up display. With that kind of power on hand, expect 0-to-60 times in as little as 4 seconds and quarter-mile passes finished off in 12.5 seconds. Manhole cover-sized four-wheel-disc antilock brakes keep stopping distances short, while massive 17-inch front and 18-inch rear tires contribute to prodigious amounts of road grip. Standard on all Corvettes is a second-generation Active Handling System (AHS), which keeps the Corvette in line even if the driver isn't.
Inside, large analog gauges and well-placed radio and climate controls greet passengers. Luggage space beneath the coupe's rear hatch glass is a healthy 25 cubic feet, more cargo room than any Corvette in history and more than most sedans.
Yes, the Corvette is an outstanding sports car and competes favorably with the best in the world. With more than 400 horsepower, the 2002 Z06 lands the Corvette in some very exclusive territory populated by the likes of Ferrari, Porsche and Lamborghini -- not bad considering that it sells for less than $50K. Don't let the fact that the C5 will swallow two golf bags sway you into thinking this is a gentrified sporting coupe. The 2002 Corvette is one of the best true sports cars you can buy at any price point. Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines.
Read our Chevy Corvette Z06 Long-Term 20,000-Mile Test