2002 Chevrolet Corvette Long Term Road Test

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Recaro Seat Installed

February 03, 2011

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Hey, we finally got a Recaro driver seat for our Z06! It offers plenty of support to keep you tight and secure when you're attacking a curvy road. No more Mr. Floppy Seat here! Plus, it looks great and takes only a few seconds to install.

The only problem is that you have to weigh 30 to 100 pounds to use it, have Dora the Explorer as your favorite TV show, eat Cheerios out of a lidded plastic cup and yell "I Don't Want To!" when it's nap time.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Shiftin' For The Sake Of Blippin'

January 11, 2011

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There are cars that make you want to shift just for the sake of shifting, because they do it so well. Cars like the Mazda MX-5 Miata and Honda S2000 come to mind, both possessing super-short throws and ultra-positive gates.

Our long-term Corvette Z06, with its long, notchy (and sticky, in the lower gears) throws, isn't a car about which you're likely to hear the phrase: "Goes through the gears like a hot knife through butter." But you still want to work its 6-speed manual as much as possible anyway. Why?

Because every time you downshift and stab the throttle for that appropriate throttle blip and accompanying smooth clutch release, you get to hear one of the angriest engine notes ever. A 5.7-liter V8 with an aggressive-from-the-factory exhaust has that effect. It's music to an enthusiast's ear, and you don't care one bit about the balky shifter; you just want any excuse to downshift so you can belt out another raunchy yelp from the pushrod V8.

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2002 Chevy Corvette Z06: Seat Wear Gettin' Worse

December 14, 2010

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Back in August Erin Riches posted about the wear on the driver's seat of our long-term Corvette Z06. Well, not surprisingly it has only gotten worse since. In fact, we've gone from worn to worn through. That's right, we've worn a hole in our Vette's driver's seat.

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Ditch the Seat, Keep the Seating Position

December 13, 2010

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After spending Saturday with the 2011 Explorer, I spent Sunday with our long-term 2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06. Apart from liking the new tires and the fact that they have actual grip, I remembered how much I like the seating position in our Z06.

Not the seat. The seating position. You sit low in the Corvette (as if you could do anything but) in a slightly reclined position that feels very natural. Yet, you can still over the dash easily, and around the slender A-pillars and out the back window. This is all as it should be in a sports car, but I worry this might not transfer over to the next Corvette.

I worry because of the Camaro. Yes, it uses different platform architecture and is now more of a GT than a sportscar, but it was also designed in modern times where pedestrian protection and frontal/side-impact requirements are all getting more stringent not less.

So I think it won't be easy to design the next Corvette with a low cowl (or even a low stance), thin pillars and a not-too-tall rear deck. But I do hope Chevrolet's designers are trying to preserve this seating position, because it's really very good. It's just the seats that are the problem.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 54,858 miles

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Is That a Cupholder?

December 09, 2010

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The other day I had the 2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 and was grabbing some coffee with a friend before hitting the road. Problem is that we had two cups of coffee between us and only half a "cupholder" in the car, which is fine for when you're driving straight but forget about it if there are turns involved.

Seriously though, is that supposed to be a cupholder or just for holding parking garage access cards, sunglasses and/or keys?

This reminds me of how Europeans make fun of Americans and our need for cupholders. Or more recently the Fiat designer noted that Europeans drive their cars while Americans live in their cars. Maybe in case you miss the part about the 5.7-liter LS6 V8, this is Chevy's way of saying the Vette is a driver's car?

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette: 150-mph Dump Truck

November 22, 2010

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With the garage time the Z06 has spent over the last month of so, it's been a while since I've been behind the wheel. And it's kind of a shock.

I'd forgotten just how noisy this car is. You hear everything. The rattle of the valve gear. The metallic grind in the shift linkage. The thwack as the clutch in the transaxle behind your hip engages. The awful unrelenting roar of road noise echoing in the cargo area, especially now that the Corvette has some tires with actual tread pattern.

You can hear every little thing. It's pretty much the same experience when the dump truck picks up in the alley behind your place, every little mechanical noise amplified a million times, as if you were wearing the sound like a wool hat pulled over your head. The Corvette is a total dump truck.

But after running a tank of gas through the Z06, I'm back in the same place as before, appreciating this car's uniquely poised balance between everyday practicality and incredible speed. It's amazing just how quickly you can get used to stuff.

The Z06 might be a dump truck, but it's a fast dump truck.

Michael Jordan, Executive Editor, Edmunds.com @ 53,666 miles.

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Feel of the Wheel

October 25, 2010

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I have to second Erin's praise regarding the Vette's steering wheel. Its driver seat is a bean bag and its cabin aesthetic is a surrender to mediocrity, but man, did GM get it right when designing this car's steering wheel.

It feels comfortable in my hands, and it's just the sort of big, imposing wheel that a big, imposing car like the Vette deserves. It's a perfect match for the car's mellifluous, rumbling baritone.

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Child Friendly

October 08, 2010

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A while back, I drove the 2011 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 that Dan used for one of his award-winning Suspension Walkarounds (<--that's a link to ALL of them, by the way). There was an outside chance that I'd need to pick-up my 6-year old daughter with the two-seater so I needed to verify that it was child-seat friendly. After RTFM, I discovered that when you motor the passenger seat ALL the way back (on the 2011 Z06), that it deactivates the front airbag (indicated by a light on the rear-view mirror). Cool. That's how GM does it today, but back in the day, there was the switch in the glove box you see above.

Chris Walton, Chief Road Test Editor @ 52,434 miles

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: No Hail Marys Necessary

September 22, 2010

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I rolled in our long-term 2002 Chevy Corvette Z06 for the first time last night. Yeah, no surprise, it looked and felt dated and smelled like an old sneaker. But it wasn't as bad as I thought, and it drove fine.

Another surprise was the rear visibility, which I feared was going to be horrible. It's not.

You see, when I would back up our dearly departed long-term Dodge Challenger R/T or our Dodge Viper, it wasn't something I would look forward to. The C pillars on the Challenger are particularly thick. My strategy was to go slowly while whispering a couple of Hail Marys, hoping someone wouldn't nail me.

With the notchback Corvette's slim rear pillars and expansive rear glass, you need not worry.

Hail Marys aren't necessary.

Albert Austria, Senior Engineer @ 51,500 miles

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Pedaling to Work

September 17, 2010

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It shouldn't be possible to drive the 2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 up the San Diego freeway to Santa Monica during morning rush hour, but I keep doing it. It's a little like using a 200-mph rocket to go to the grocery store.

And yet for all the fretting that people do about creeping through stop-and-go traffic in a piece of high-performance machinery with a manual transmission, it's actually pretty easy make such a thing happen in the Z06. That's because this car has great pedals.

First of all, what you need is a set of pedals lined up ahead of you rather than offset to one side like in some bad front-wheel-drive car (or a Dodge Viper). The pedals also have to be far away enough so you can operate them with just some ankle action instead of clumsy leg movements, which is the key to a precise touch on the pedals with your feet (as I was reminded the other day while reading a driving instruction book by Vic Elford, the former Porsche racer of the 1960s and 1970s).

But you also need a car with great pedal action, and here the '02 Corvette really delivers.

First, the action of the throttle pedal is long and the response from the engine is linear, so there are no surprises from the engine room at low speed. Yes, the effort is a little heavy, but it works in your favor.

Second, it's easy to modulate your brake inputs at commute speed because the brake pedal responds mostly to pressure rather than long travel action. (Actually racers prefer the same sort of thing at high speed, too.) You also have brake pads that bite smoothly and don't increase their friction properties too quickly. (German cars are noted for a swift rise in brake friction, something meant to compensate for the brake fade you might get during a stop from autobahn-type speed.)

Finally, you have a clutch that can transfer power with such refinement that you can creep at 2 mph without worrying about burning up the friction material over the course of a 90-minute commute. (A nice big V8 engine with strong flywheel effect helps, of course.) At this the Corvette is brilliant, more evidence of the way it's been developed to span the gap between practicality and performance.

It's easy to take this sort of refinement for granted, but the challenge of city driving in a high-performance car is exactly what held back Ferrari sales in America until the development of the single-clutch automated manual transmission for the Ferrari 360 Modena. Indeed Chic Vandergrif at Hollywood Sport Cars even once threatened to undertake his own program of adopting a torque-convertor automatic transmission to the front-engine 1976 Ferrari 400 in order to force Enzo Ferrari into starting his own program. Now, of course, the availability of a Getrag dual-clutch automated manual has driven the take rate for manual transmissions on Ferraris to less than 10 percent.

As it turns out, the 2011 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 is actually much easier to drive in traffic than the '02 model thanks to the light-effort shift action of its updated Tremec six-speed manual (although the 2011 car's light-effort, non-linear throttle action is worse). It's a bigger challenge to drive the Mazdaspeed 3 in traffic because the pedals are too close, the clutch snaps into full engagement too abruptly, and the light, non-linear action of the throttle pedal works in concert with the surges from the engine's big turbo to make the whole process a nightmare.

You wouldn't think that you'd learn anything from driving a car this fast so slowly, but it's a reminder that stab-it-and-steer-it is just no way to drive a car, whether you're going fast or slow.

Michael Jordan, Executive Editor, Edmunds.com

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Racing Seat?

August 27, 2010

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So my racer friend Bill Cooper is trying to con me into going all the way to Montana for the Pioneer Mountains Hill Climb on 11-12 September, where he's going to be running his semi-race Corvette C5.

So I'm asking him about the way his C5 is prepared (gosh, the engine appears to be making a lot of noise for a stock V8, Mr. Cooper), and naturally this leads us to talking about the driver seat, which our guys here complain bitterly about.

Cooper allows that he thought about putting a racing seat in his car, but he came to his senses pretty quickly. First of all, he says that it wouldn't be much fun sitting in a hard shell of a seat during the long rally-type events that he's run. And second, a seat with tall thigh bolsters would be just about impossible to get into, as the car's wide, wide door sill plus the seat bolsters would be an impossible barrier.

It's easy to criticize this car for its La-Z-boy seat, but we forget that the Corvette's primary structure lies in its wide door sills, the design feature that lets the car sit so close to the ground. And as much as we criticize this car's seat for its lack of support in the corners, its recliner-style shape and padding are crucial to our ability to drive this car every day without facing a gymnastics challenge every time we get behind the wheel.

Would love to drive our Z06 all the way to Polaris, Montana, for Cooper's hillclimb (could even run it in the event, he says), but the travel distance seems like a lot for 12 miles of racing. At least it's a reminder of the kind of thing you're supposed to do if you own a Corvette, especially a Z06.

Finally I ask Cooper what he's going to do with his stock seat, which he has fit with a six-point racing harness. "Pretty much what you do in any race car," he says. "Just cinch down the belts tight and hang on."

Michael Jordan, Executive Editor, Edmunds.com @ 50,564 miles.

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Good Steering Wheel

August 19, 2010

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It's amazing how on the ball General Motors was with steering wheel design back in 2002 (compared to, say, 2010). The wheel in our long-term 2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 isn't much to look at and even looks dowdy compared to today's 3-spoke designs, but is it ever functional.

The spokes are nice and low to allow a 9-and-3 grip if you so choose. And the rim of the wheel is nice and round, neither too thick nor thin, and devoid of the decorative stitching that rubs on the fingers.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 50,405 miles

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Shifter Options?

August 17, 2010

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The need to replace the tires on our aging Corvette has led to some conversations about other parts of the car that might be worth upgrading.

Rest assured, the seats have been discussed. We're working on it. As far as the wheels go, your comments suggest we shouldn't change a thing, so we probably won't. Well, we might powdercoat the stockers a darker shade of gray, but that's about it.

The other most often discussed issue is the shifter. It's not terrible, but not graceful either. And it's a little on the tall side. So, do we go aftermarket? If so, which setup? Another possibility is switching to a C6 setup. One of the cars we test drove during the buying process had such a setup and it wasn't bad. Suggestions?

Ed Hellwig, Editor, Inside Line @ 50,302 miles

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: The Downside of Lateral Bolstering

August 04, 2010

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We love seats that hold us in place while cornering, but there's a price to pay for big lateral back-cushion bolsters in a car that's low to the ground. After 50,000 miles worth of butts rubbing against its outboard bolster during the ingress boogie, our 2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 is showing signs of wear in that region.

Now you might think I'd be the first person on the bandwagon to lay into the Z06 for having leather upholstery of suspect quality, but my feeling is there's just no avoiding this in a sportscar that is loved and used as the builders in Bowling Green intended. True, our 2002 BMW M3 of similar mileage and bolsterage didn't show quite this much wear, but it didn't sit so low to the ground, so getting in required less contortion. Moreover, I fully expect our long-term Viper to be in a similar state on its 50,000-mile birthday; I lost a button on its giant side bolster over the weekend.

Detail shots of the damage after the jump.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 50,109 miles

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Think These Switches are Waterproof?

July 22, 2010

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They strike me as odd every time I use them. Yes, I'm talking about the rubberized window/door lock/mirror switches on our old-school Z06. I've never seen such a setup on any car other than the Corvette and I don't anticipate seeing them on anything else ever again.

Should you drive yourself into a lake, rest assured that you could probably still roll down the window and free yourself.

In practice, they work just fine. I mean, no dust could possibly penetrate the outer womb that protects the circuitry inside. Aesthetically, they're a little odd and the feel of them is less that positive. Unlocking the doors is like pinching a raquetball, which is fine if you're into that sort of thing. All in all, these switches are just one of the many charms that makes this nearly decade old supercar so cool.

Ed Hellwig, Editor, Inside Line @ 50,045 miles

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Yep, Even Oil Temp Is Here

June 25, 2010

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If you're a car enthusiast, you want to know exactly what's going on with your car, right? Well, the Corvette will tell just about everything through its information display. I particularly like how you can call up oil temperature since it's an extra indicator beyond just coolant temp to determine how hot your car is running. It's particularly useful if you're doing a track day.

So few cars actually give you such precise and expansive readouts these days. In fact, if you go by our Mazdaspeed 3, the trend seems to be fewer gauges, not more.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Going The Distance

June 18, 2010

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Of the cars in the long-term fleet right now, I think we could all agree that the Z06 ranks near the bottom for long-distance freeway driving comfort. Editor James Riswick best described the driver seat as "a squishy and formless seat [that] feels like it's lived its life under the butt of a 350-pound man named Walt." The considerable and constant tire roar from the rear is complemented by what sounds like small arms fire when you drive over pavement cracks and tar strips. There's no interior storage, satellite radio or auxiliary audio jack. Oh, however did people tolerate the torture of driving cars eight years ago?

Well, maybe it's just not that bad. Magrath drove it to Monterey and back and came out loving the thing. As for me, I did a 4.5-hour freeway drive last night. It wasn't great, but it wasn't terrible either. I didn't have any CDs with me, so I ended up listening to the radio at points where I decided my ears could tolerate both music and road noise. Classic rock (Van Halen, Led Zeppelin) seems to suit the car's character. And most other motorists seem to give this car some respect when you come up behind them. That's right, American Muscle here. Get your cruise-control-set Camry out of the way, please.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Stubborn Shifter

June 09, 2010

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It was a pretty oppressive commute last night. The 10 Freeway was bumper to bumper, making my 8-mile commute take about an hour. Still, the Vette held up pretty well. After I exited the freeway, though, th shifter started giving me a little grief.

When a traffic signal went green, I tried slipping the shifter from neutral to first. Nope, it was having none of it. I dropped it into second gear easily, then tried to ease it into first again. Nope. So rather than suffer the wrath of the impatient drivers behind me, I rolled out in second gear. Further down the road, at another traffic light, it dropped right into first with no problem. But the shift from first to second posed a similar issue. It wasn't a skip-shift situation, either. It just flat out refused to engage second gear. Ok, fine, third gear it is.

My old SVT Cobra had the same problem, but I attributed that to abuse on the racetrack and a Hurst short-shifter I had installed. I'm guessing this is just wear and tear on the Z06, though, since other Vettes I've driven of this vintage we're fine when they were new.

Has anybody else out there had this problem?

Mark Takahashi, Associate Editor @ 48,515 miles

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette ZO6: "Something Bit Me!"

May 25, 2010

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I was in a rush coming from the grocery store. I didn't want to eat dinner at 8 and what I was planning took two hours to cook. I had to get a move on.

I swung open the door to our ZO6 with five plastic bags worth of groceries in hand and tried to slide it. Instant pain in the ass. Literally. No, not trying to handle the groceries and getting into the car at the same time, that damn massive seat bolster. I smacked my tail bone right on it trying to get in!

I rolled over the seat both laughing and crying. I'm not the first victim of this thing, but I am the latest and probably the most in pain. The bolster is nice when you're in the seat, but ridiculously big and in the way while trying to get in.

I got dinner finished in time but I still wasn't totally comfortable so I took a siesta. My lady came home and saw me laying face down on the bed. After I explained what happened she busted out laughing right in my face.

Awesome. That's love right there.

Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette: Too Big for This City

May 17, 2010

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I almost didn't take our 2002 Chevrolet Corvette home for the weekend because as much as I have fun driving it, it's kind of a pain on city streets. The Vette is just too big for this city. There. I said it.

So all weekend, I ended up parking in spots far away from my intended destinations since those were the only spaces roomy enough to accommodate it. And never mind that its front end dips down so I can't really see where it ends and I fear that I'll scrape or bump it into the car parked in front of me. In the above picture I thought I was a lot closer to the car in front of me than I actually was.

If this were a city of free parking lots or I didn't have an aversion to valet, my only issue with its size would really come up when driving down residential streets. With cars parked on the sides and other cars coming the other way, I instinctively hold my breath and squeeze my arms into my sides as if that will magically make the Vette smaller so I can get by this oncoming car unscathed. Then I realize I'm doing that and instead move the car as close as I can to the side and wait until the other car gets by me. Almost as worrisome as driving a truck.

Just for giggles I looked up the dimensions of a 2010 Porsche 911, which actually seats 4 (2 adults and 2 kids, really).

2010 Porsche 911 -- Length: 175.6 in. Width: 71.2 in.

2002 Chevy Corvette -- Length: 179.7 in. Width: 73.6 in.

The Porsche has managed to package a working backseat into less overall length than the Corvette.

In any case, for me the Vette is not a practical, everyday urban runabout. Traveling open highways and byways? Definitely. Rushing to meet a friend for lunch in the heart of West Hollywood? Nuh uh.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 46,958 miles

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2002 Chevy Corvette Z06: HUD TMI

May 15, 2010

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That's too much information. But no, the heads up display on our Z06 isn't broken-- well, it's broken, but it's functioning as intended so it's not more broken-- that's just what it does when the sun hits it in just the right spot. And just the right spot happens to be my entire morning commute.

There doesn't appear to be a way to avoid this without putting something -- I used our Long Term Fuel Log-- over the hole on the dash. Of course, this results in the reflection of a fuel log on the dash to fly over the IP and hit me in the face when I get a chance to use the big V8.

"Sorry, officer. As you can see, my gauges are broken. I was going less than 188, right?"

Mike Magrath, Vehicle Testing Assistant

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: The 150-mph Leather Recliner

May 10, 2010

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Every time you crawl into the seat of this aging Corvette, the leather squeaks and groans like you're getting into your dad's old recliner, the one down there in the basement in front of the used-up TV from the 1980s. Whatever the high-tech environment of the modern sports car is meant to be, sleekly designed and ergonomically correct, the Corvette is the opposite.

Which is exactly the point.

The Corvette is meant to be as familiar as that old leather recliner, although maybe a patch of duct tape on the upholstery might be going a bit too far. It's a sports car, not a piece of art. Especially as a used car, all the pretense has been dropped, which has always been the most objectionable part of the whole Corvette thing anyway.

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2002 Corvette Z06: 'Service Steering Column Lock'

May 07, 2010

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After my softball game last night, I was standing around the Z06 with our right fielder when he mentioned he'd never been in a Vette before. I told him to get in and he plummeted into the squishy driver seat with a declaration of "it's so low." As a former M3 owner, I don't think he was impressed. As he climbed out, though, he must've used the steering wheel as leverage to get out and activated the steering column lock.

When I started the car, the gage cluster read-out ominously said something to the affect of "Pull Key; Wait 10 Seconds." I was going to ignore it (probably not the best idea), but when I went to move the wheel I found it was locked. This engaged a new read-out saying "Service Steering Column Lock." Uh-oh. So I pulled the key, waited 10 Mississippis and tried again. No luck, still locked. I tried it two more times, waiting longer each time. No luck.

At this point, good buddy and catcher SubyTrojan entered the scene. "Vette's broken," I declared through the window. We chatted for a few moments about possible causes, solutions and just abandoning the Z06 at Cheviot Hills to become a bird sanctuary. Then I said, "OK, let's just try this all over again." I got out of the Vette, locked the door, waited a few seconds, unlocked the door, got in and fired it up. Low and behold, the steering column lock was disengaged. No service (or tow truck) required.

To double check, I locked the steering column again this morning, but it unlocked once I started the engine. Go figure. Though I have to wonder how common this issue is when the trip computer has both a specific warning and solution for it. Hmm.

Oh well, I guess this just proves once again that if you want to fix something -- anything really -- just unplug it and re-plug it back in.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 46,562

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Can I Buy a Vowel?

April 28, 2010

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According to my dictionary: Gage: n. something, as a glove, thrown down by a medieval knight in token of challenge to combat.

So, I'm assuming if you're at a red light, and some kid next to you in a lowered STi starts revving his engine, you can hit this button and something like a sun visor will automatically be ejected and slapped to the pavement as a signal that you accept his challenge.

No? OK, fine. Chevy used an antiquated spelling to fit this particular button rather than swap it with the "trip" button below it -- which has plenty of space for a "u". Any way you cut it, it's wrong.

Mark Takahashi, Associate Editor

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2002 Corvette Z06: 'It Just Feels Beat Up'

April 27, 2010

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After coming to the end of an hour-and-a-half drive, my fiancee declared her opinion of our long-term Corvette Z06: "It just feels beat up."

I thought about it and had to concur. The Z06 indeed feels like a beat up super car -- partly because it has more than 46,000 miles on the clock and partly (possibly mostly) because that's just how C5 Corvettes are.

You open the door, it creaks. And then it won't stay in place. You sit in the squishy formless seat and it feels like it's lived its life under the butt of a 350-pound man named Walt. You roll down the window and the entire door panel flexes inward. You open the trunk using air pressure. Almost every interior panel is misaligned, hard, hollow, cheaply grained or have nasty flashing on its edges. The center console cubby door struggles to open. Monumental amounts of road noise pour into the cabin from the trunk.

So it feels like a beat up super car, but it's still a super car. You sit practically on the pavement like in a super car. The view over the long, wide hood is pretty indicative of a super car. The look may not be Gallardo-like, but I still think the C5 looks pretty bitchin'. The growl of engine and exhaust? The power? Those goes without saying.

So our Z06 feels beat up, but given its price, maybe you could tolerate that if it was just your weekend car. After all, what one man considers flaws are what another calls "character."

James Riswick, Automotive Editor

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Great Pedals

April 16, 2010

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Just had my first evening in our long-term Z06, and I love the layout of the pedals. As Ed has written, the seating position is bit weird, and as Scott has written, the shifter won't have you rushing the gearchanges.

But the pedals are perfectly set up for heel-and-toeing. It's very easy to let your big toe do the braking while the right side of your right foot prepares to blip the throttle.

When I bent down to take a photo of the pedals this morning, I noticed that the clutch and brake pedals are beautifully finished. They have a more rough-hewn, function-before-form look than the polished pedals that are fashionable today, and I think they're better for it. So instead of 1 photo, I took 3 photos of this well executed detail.

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Seating Position Is An Acquired Taste

April 08, 2010

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So I recently commented on how easy it is to get comfortable in the Mazdaspeed 3. And the Z06? Well, it takes a little more wrangling of the controls. I've set the memory several times, but someone always screws it up by the time I get in it again.

So last night, I get in and everything feels screwy. A twist of the knob here, a pull of a lever there and the Corvette slowly started to get comfortable. I still can't decide which notch in the tilt steering I prefer, but you know, once you're situated it's not a bad place to be.

Sure, the seat itself is too soft, but I like the view and the proximity of the controls. The pedals feel right and the shifter feels really solid, like you can rip shifts all day and never feel like you're hurting the thing. And isn't ripping gears what this car is about? Yes, yes it is.

Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor, Inside Line @ 45, 037 miles

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: 45,000 Miles and Still Rockin'

April 08, 2010

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Our long-term Corvette Z06 hit 45,000 miles yesterday. This was after I'd spent over 200 miles in the car and I'm happy to report all systems are functional...mostly.

The trunk release that doesn't actually release continues to annoy me, the always-shifty shifter feel is disappointing, and the 7/8 scale seats that don't fully support adult human bodies are a travesty. But it's still a powerful and capable performance machine that can smoke the majority of performance machines on the road, even those that are newer and more expensive.

This Z06 reminds me of two Corvette trademarks. First, the basic platform is excellent, but the execution of the details leaves something to be desired. This fact leads to the second point: GM's "sports car" has always been, and will probably always be, more of a two-seat muscle car than a true sports car in the traditional sense of that word.

Karl Brauer, Edmunds.com Editor in Chief @ 45,000 miles

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2002 Chevy Corvette Z06: Ditch The Heads Up Display

February 20, 2010

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No, our Z06 isn't fixed yet. But I'm tired of talking about detonation, so I'm going to change the subject.

Anyone out there like heads up displays? I don't. Never have. Whenever I get in a car with one I immediately disable it.

I've never understood the point. How is redundancy good?

Oh, I'm telling you this because our 2002 Corvette Z06 has one of these stupid things. And every time I climb behind the wheel I turn it off.

Besides that, and the detonation problem of course, the Vette is a real blast to drive and it's much more comfortable than you'd think. It rides well, its seats are soft and in the grand GM tradition it has a kickin' air-conditioning system. It's even easy to see out of.

And it sounds great. You can hear it a block away. The other morning it set off a couple of car alarms in our office parking garage.

This is a cool car.

Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief

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2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: DON'T Brace for Impact

January 20, 2010

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Car Boss, Mike Schmidt, knows I have the second-longest commute to the office so he asked if I'd be willing to burn some 100-octane fuel out of our new, old "Zed-Aught-Six." Sure, why not? The storms were retreating and I've not driven one of these notch-backs since, jeez, 2004-5 when the C6 came on line. A few things stood out on my mostly-dry drive home and a few more on my rain-soaked drive back.

The first thing that struck me was this passenger grab handle. Do you see anything dangerous about its design? I'm pretty certain it would absolutely be the worst place to grip in the case of a probable frontal impact. Best case scenario: two broken thumbs.

Next, I started to compile a shopping list for our Z06, starting with a new driver's seat and budget permitting, a matching passenger seat. Along with the rest of the automotive scrivenerdom, we've been complaining about Corvette seats for generations of Corvettes and now we have an opportunity to actually do something about it. We have one guy on our staff who has replaced his Corvette seat(s) with a set of Recaros. Have any of you replaced your Corvette seats? What did you get and why?

The next thing we must buy is a skip-shift eliminator. If you don't know what that is, then you haven't known the joys of driving late-model GM V8s in heavy traffic. They range in price from about ten bucks on eBay to $30 from a legit online retailer. Again, anything we should consider here? This seems a pretty easy fix and definitely a DIY project for Dan.

Finally, I realized the car should probably get a new set of front tires. (The rears have enough tread depth at this point.) Why, you ask? Well, the rain has returned in earnest and skiing in a Z06 is not my idea of fun. Of course, I stayed out of the puddle-prone No. 1 lane (closest to the center divider on the freeway), but even so, the car hydroplaned often enough and severely enough to keep me from so much as adjusting the volume on the stereo on my drive in this morning. Sipping coffee was both unnecessary and impossible.

I reached the nearby gas station tingling with adrenaline and about 1/8 of a tank of 100-octane fuel. I figured that was low enough to try a fresh tank of 91, so I filled it up. I've got one more commute in the car tonight/tomorrow morning, but with all this rain, it's highly unlikely I'll be able to go to W.O.T. to see if we've solved the detonation problem.

Chief Road Test Editor, Chris Walton @ 42,423 miles

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