Baseball has roots in England. Apple pie has Dutch origins. If you're looking for something quintessentially American, try the iconic Chevrolet Corvette. For more than 60 years, the Corvette has been the definitive American sports car, and the current C7 generation is easily the best Vette yet.
The 2017 Chevrolet Corvette lineup gains a new Grand Sport model that combines the handling upgrades of the top-of-the-line Z06 with the manageable power of the base V8 engine. This results in one of the easiest cars on the market to drive fast (on a racetrack, of course). Fortunately, this track-ready performance doesn't come paired with a harsh ride. Across its model lineup, the Corvette continues to be the rare alpha performance car that's also adept at schlepping you and a passenger around in comfort.
With prices ranging from the mid-$50,000s to almost double that, there's a Corvette to fit most budgets and appetites for performance. This wide range also opens up the competition to every corner of the world. Historically, the Porsche 911 has been the most direct rival, but other strong rivals such as the BMW M4, Dodge Viper, Ford GT350, Jaguar F-Type, Nissan GT-R and Porsche Cayman and Boxster are all lined up to grab your attention.
There's not a bad one in this bunch, but none of them has the cherished spot in American history that the 2017 Chevrolet Corvette enjoys.
Standard safety features for all 2017 Corvette models include antilock brakes, traction and stability control, side airbags, a rearview camera and OnStar emergency telematics. Other available safety features are discussed in Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options.
In Edmunds brake testing, a Z51 coupe came to a stop from 60 mph in an exceptionally short 94 feet. The Z06 with the Z07 package holds the all-time Edmunds record for shortest stopping distance at 90 feet.
trim levels & features
The 2017 Chevrolet Corvette is a two-seat sport coupe or convertible that is available in base Stingray, Stingray Z51 or Z06 trim, with the Grand Sport joining the lineup this year as essentially a mashup of the Stingray Z51 and the Z06. The coupe features a removable roof panel that stows in the trunk, while the convertible has a power soft top that can be operated while the car is moving at up to 30 mph. The Stingray, Z51 and Grand Sport are split into 1LT, 2LT and 3LT sub-trims; the Z06 comes in 1LZ, 2LZ and 3LZ sub-trims.
Standard features for the Stingray 1LT include 18-inch front and 19-inch rear wheels with summer tires, Brembo brakes, xenon headlights, LED running lights, heated mirrors, keyless ignition and entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, cruise control, leather upholstery, eight-way power front seats and a power-adjustable steering wheel. You also get OnStar (with a 4G LTE data connection and Wi-Fi hot spot capability), Bluetooth, a color driver information display, an 8-inch central touchscreen with Chevy's MyLink infotainment interface, a rearview camera, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and a nine-speaker Bose sound system with two USB ports, an auxiliary audio jack, an SD card reader and satellite radio.
The Stingray Z51 1LT adds 19-inch front and 20-inch rear wheels, exterior aero trim, larger front brakes, slotted brake rotors, sportier suspension tuning, revised transmission gear ratios for snappier responses (manual only), an electronic limited-slip differential, a differential cooler, dry-sump oiling for the V8 engine and a dual-mode performance exhaust (optional on non-Z51 Stingrays).
All Stingray 2LT models come with front-view parking cameras, auto-dimming driver side and rearview mirrors, a head-up display, a cargo shade (coupe only), interior-color console and armrest trim, heated and ventilated seats with power lumbar and side-bolster adjustments, driver memory settings and a 10-speaker Bose sound system with enhanced bass response.
The Stingray 3LT models add premium leather upholstery with extended surface coverage, synthetic-suede upper interior trim, an interior-color instrument panel and a navigation system (optional on 1LT and 2LT) that includes the Corvette's unique performance data recorder.
Both the standard and Z51 trims can optionally be equipped with adaptive suspension dampers that are bundled with an upgraded traction management system for Z51 duty.
The Z06 1LZ starts with the Stingray Z51 1LT's standard equipment and adds the supercharged engine, a Z06-specific sport-tuned suspension, larger brakes all around, wider tires, a carbon-fiber hood, a more aggressive aero package (including wider front and rear fenders, expanded cooling vents, and a unique front grille and rear fascia) and the head-up display.
The Z06 2LZ gets the 2LT's upgrades minus the head-up display (already standard), while the Z06 3LZ gets the 3LT's upgrades.
Z06 options include the Carbon-Flash Painted Ground Effects package and the Visible Carbon-Fiber Ground Effects package, both of which add an enhanced front splitter and rocker panels along with a larger rear spoiler with a fixed "wickerbill" vertical extension at the back. The upgraded front splitter and rocker panels are also included in the Z07 Performance package (albeit with larger end plates for the splitter), which adds an adjustable, see-through center section to the rear spoiler (for fine-tuned track performance), special tires, carbon-ceramic brake rotors and the adaptive dampers.
The new Grand Sport largely mirrors the Stingray Z51 in terms of feature content, but it adds a slew of performance hand-me-downs from the Z06, including the upgraded cooling system, wider fenders and tires, adaptive dampers, upgraded suspension components and bigger brakes (though not as big as the Z06's). There are also subtle differences between the graphics, trim and rear wing of the Grand Sport and Z06. Note that the Grand Sport is eligible for a Z07 package of its own with similar content.
Sport seats are optional on all Corvettes, while all coupes can be had with a transparent roof panel. Among numerous other aesthetic upgrades, the coupe's removable roof panel can be decked out in carbon fiber, and higher trims can be outfitted with two-tone upholstery.
Motivating the rear-wheel-drive 2017 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray is a 6.2-liter V8 that produces 455 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. A performance exhaust that increases output to 460 hp is available on the Stingray and included on the Z51 and Grand Sport models. A seven-speed manual transmission with automatic rev-matched downshifts is standard, while an eight-speed automatic is optional. The Corvette Z06 bolts on a supercharger to increase power to 650 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque.
In Edmunds testing, a Z51 coupe with the manual transmission reached 60 mph in a quick 4.1 seconds. The automatic turned in a slightly quicker 4.0-second run. The Z06 with a manual transmission returned an impressive 3.5-second pass to 60 mph, but it might be possible to improve on that time under ideal traction conditions.
EPA fuel-economy estimates for the base engine stand at 19 mpg combined (16 city/25 highway) with the manual and a similar 19 mpg combined (15 city/26 highway) for the automatic. The Z06 is rated at 18 mpg combined (15 city/22 highway) with the manual and 16 mpg combined (13 city/23 highway) with the automatic.
There's something wonderful about an American sports car with a big V8 under the hood, and the 2017 Chevrolet Corvette is a case in point. Even the base engine has an abundance of power, accompanied by a brash growl when unleashed. The standard seven-speed manual transmission features perfect, rev-matched downshifts that can be enabled or disabled via the column-mounted paddles. Driver beware, though — with that extra seventh gear, the gates are rather close together, which could cause some unintended second-to-first shifts.
At the top of the Vette food chain is the Z06, which can hold its own against some supercars costing significantly more. It's exhilarating, for sure, but it will keep even the most gifted of drivers on high alert when driven hard. The new Grand Sport stakes out a Goldilocks zone by combining the breathtaking handling of the Z06 with the Stingray's more manageable power. Unless you're a professional racer, the Grand Sport will likely be a better fit for track-day use.
Whichever Corvette you choose, you won't regret your decision in everyday driving or on a long road trip because comfort remains one of the model's hallmarks. In this regard, the 2017 Chevrolet Corvette is one of the more versatile sports cars you can get.
If there's any doubt whether or not the 2017 Corvette is a driver's car, look no further than the interior. All major controls and readouts surround the driver like in a fighter jet cockpit for a snug, almost custom-fitted feel. Materials used are far better than in previous Corvette generations, though still not as nice what you'll find in many comparably priced cars.
Overall comfort is commendable. Despite the Corvette's performance potential, it won't beat you up on a long drive or over imperfect pavement. The seats are well-shaped and adequately cushioned for long-distance touring. Opting for the adjustable side bolsters allows drivers to select the kind of lateral support needed for high-G cornering antics, while the available sport seats firmly anchor you in place. The Magnetic Ride Control system further enhances comfort, giving you the power to select softer ride-quality settings, and the cabin remains quiet enough at speed to have a conversation without raising your voice.
Thanks to the recent addition of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, it's much easier to control infotainment functions. The underlying MyLink system is capable of controlling the same functions, but it is sometimes slow to respond and less than intuitive. One of the coolest features has to be the available performance data recorder, which uses a front-facing camera and numerous sensors to record your driving heroics on track, with a wealth of acceleration, braking and handling information available for review.
Cargo capacity, at 15 cubic feet, is admirable for the coupe. The space under the hatch itself is a bit shallow but expansive. Clever latches inside the hatch secure the removable roof panel when you need a little sun, but there won't be much room left over for anything else. The convertible's trunk can hold up to 10 cubic feet whether the top is down or up.
edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.