1997 Chevrolet Corvette Review

Pros & Cons

  • Amazing performance, huge trunk, excellent interior design, low price (relatively speaking, of course)
  • Kit car front styling
List Price Estimate
$3,112 - $6,874

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Vehicle overview

More than 40 years after the 1953 Corvette debuted, Chevrolet introduces the fifth-generation Corvette for 1997. The C5 almost didn't happen. Originally scheduled for release in 1993, the Corvette was killed for a short time before performance zealots within General Motors resuscitated the project and made the new car happen.

Pushrod power continues, in the form of a reworked 5.7-liter V8 engine dubbed the LS1. Horsepower is 345 at 5,600 rpm, while torque measures 350 ft-lbs. at 4,400 rpm. The result? Equipped with the standard four-speed automatic transmission, the Corvette will hit 60 mph in a shade over five seconds. Opt for the six-speed manual transmission and you'll cut less than half a second off the trap time. To help reign the power in on slippery surfaces, acceleration slip regulation is standard equipment. EPA mileage figures are phenomenal for a high-powered sports car; the Corvette will return 28 mpg on the highway with the manual tranny.

Four-wheel-disc antilock brakes keep stopping distances short with larger rotors than last year. Front tires are 17 inches in diameter, and rears are a whopping 18 inches across, which contributes to an excellent .93g of road grip. The rubber stays planted well too, thanks to a fully independent four-wheel short/long-arm height-adjustable suspension.

Body panels are still composed of a material other than metal, though no longer fiberglass. Sheet molded compound wraps around a new, ultrastiff structure that features a full-length perimeter frame with tubular steel side rails. The windshield frame is aluminum, and the instrument panel is attached directly to a beefy cross member designed to reduce noise and vibration. A sandwich composite floor with a lightweight balsa wood core damps noise and vibration while making the floor exceptionally stiff.

Inside, a new dashboard with real analog gauges and intuitive radio and climate controls greets passengers. Luggage space beneath the rear hatch glass is an incredible 25 cubic feet, made possible with the use dual mid-ship mounted fuel tanks that are snuggled within the Corvette's structure. The car feels more airy inside, thanks to a narrower door sill and taller height combined with a low cowl.

Yes, the Corvette is an outstanding effort and competes favorably with the best in the class. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like a million bucks, to our eyes. Long, low, and lean, the Corvette is certainly attractive. We take issue, however, with the thick truncated tail and the odd-looking air scoops for the front brakes. Other critics have complained of derivative styling cues and the lack of chrome-finished exhaust tips. Still, the Corvette's new shape will wear well into the next century.

Don't let the fact that the C5 will swallow two golf bags sway you into thinking this a gentrified sporting coupe. The 1997 Corvette is among the best true sports cars your money can buy.

1997 Highlights

Fifth-generation Corvette debuts 44 years after the original, and is better than ever with world-class build quality and performance at a bargain price.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 1997 Chevrolet Corvette.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

1997 c5 corvette
2dr Coupe
One of the best cars I have ever driven for fun and performance. This car looks fast even when it is parked in the garage. The electronics are very complex in this car and I have had a problem with the heating and cooling controls.
Fun car to drive, if the bugs die.
2dr Coupe
I'll start by being fair, the mileage of my car was low, and I got an extremely good price from a friend. With that said, the car was awesome, most of the time. It was a blast to drive, got compliments everywhere I went (nassau blue color), and was just plain sexy to look at. But the rear end went bad, transmission needed replace, wiper motor never worked, driver side window motor went bad. Yes I did hot rod the car, but with it being a Corvette, you would thing it would hold up a tad better. To each their own, the car was a blast, but I won't own another C5 base car.
Good for the money
2dr Coupe
I have had many sports cars, Mustangs, Camaros, Firebirds etc... This Corvette is the best all around for the money. If you don't need the back seats then you get great looks, awesome power and crazy comments. And considering the rate of depreciation of all other american sports cars on the market the Corvette is the best bang for the buck.
'97 Corvette
2dr Coupe
I love the car, but disappointed that I have had to have it towed on three occasions: (1) locked steering column, (2) Broken serpintine belt bracket, (3) Broken serpintine belt.


IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 1997 Chevrolet Corvette

Used 1997 Chevrolet Corvette Overview

The Used 1997 Chevrolet Corvette is offered in the following submodels: Corvette Coupe. Available styles include 2dr Coupe. The Used 1997 Chevrolet Corvette comes with rear wheel drive.

What's a good price on a Used 1997 Chevrolet Corvette?

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Which used 1997 Chevrolet Corvettes are available in my area?

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Can't find a used 1997 Chevrolet Corvettes you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Chevrolet Corvette for sale - 6 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $12,750.

Find a used Chevrolet for sale - 2 great deals out of 9 listings starting at $21,763.

Find a used certified pre-owned Chevrolet Corvette for sale - 6 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $16,827.

Find a used certified pre-owned Chevrolet for sale - 11 great deals out of 12 listings starting at $21,019.

Should I lease or buy a 1997 Chevrolet Corvette?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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