2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Fuel-Saver Smackdown
September 28, 2010
It was looking like a long day on Interstate 5, one of those mornings when you can see the long strip of concrete stretching all the way to Los Angeles and know that there's no way your destination has been miraculously moved any closer since the last time you drove the distance.
So to pass the time, thought it might be worthwhile to see what kind of mpg the Corvette gets in plain old traveling. Corvette guys are always bragging about it.
No tricks. Just pick a traveling speed, which on Interstate 5 is generally a tick below 80 mph. Any faster and not only does your radar profile jump into the threat zone but also you trip over too many civilians weaving from one lane to another as they pass the trucks. You spend so much time hammering the brakes and then accelerating up to speed again that you actually get terrible mpg and arrive at your destination exhausted by the frustration.
It's Interstate 5, the main transportation corridor in California. It's crowded. The only way to survive is to get into the Zen of it.
So a nice Zen-like pass of 268.2 miles to the foot of the Tejon Pass went by at 67.4 mph, the Corvette trip computer says, which is about what you expect on a Sunday. Some 9.494 gallons of Shell premium go in the 18.5-gallon tank and the result is 28.2 mpg. The Corvette trip computer says this result gives the car a cruising range of 538 miles.
It's interesting that a 405-hp Corvette can get 28 mpg no matter how it's driven. And it's interesting that you can drive across vast stretches of landscape in a Corvette on a single tank of fuel. Then again, the real reason behind the application of six-speed manual transmissions to high-powered cars like this has to do with beating the EPA driving cycle, not quicker quarter-mile times.
As crazy as it might seem to roll down the freeway in sixth gear at 70 mph during your commute time and see that the tachometer is registering just 1,950 rpm, you have to give the Corvette engineers credit for making so much power so usable, and that means mpg as well as mph.
Michael Jordan, Executive Editor, Edmunds.com @ 52,495 miles