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I Could Live With This

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

Let me get this out of the way right up front: there have been only two Corvettes I’ve lusted for over the years—the 1964-67 coupe (sorry, fans of the ’63 split window), and the 1968-72 convertible. Stylewise, the rest of the lot never did much for me. Until now.

When I first saw photos of the new 2014 Stingray I was afraid to see one in person; loved the looks but was afraid they’d be way too big, like all new cars seem to be these days (sorry, fans of the 2015 Mustang). But approaching my ride last weekend at Ki-Po Chevrolet I’d decided that it was perfect. Imagine my horror later on when checking out the specs of the new car and finding out that it was longer and wider, but lower than the 2013 model. Call me a hypocrite, but in this case I don’t care.

Ki-Po owner Keith Lucas came out and personally twisted my arm to go out for a test drive (like, that wasn’t gonna happen anyway!). Something about “It will make a more interesting story if you...” but that’s all I heard because at that point I’d already pushed the Start button and was listening to the 6.2L LT-1 singing through the optional performance exhaust system (which helps push the hp rating to 460 from the original 455).

I wiggled it out of its front row parking spot and headed off down the road, taking in the sights of downtown Ransomville before stopping at the lone traffic signal and making a left out of town in search of a 55 mph speed limit (or thereabouts). Just kidding, Keith.

Now keep in mind that the Stingray isn’t a small car by any means. It’s a bit wider than a Malibu, although around a foot shorter; and it’s a heavy car at almost a ton-and-a-half. But having 6.7 liters of engine helps you forget that. So does the 50/50 weight balance and the improved suspension. It’s not difficult finding twisty bendy roads out in the country, and the Stingray felt confident in that environment. Letting up on the way in and powering out of a curve not only feels good in this car, with the windows down and the audio system off it sounds great, too!

At some point though, I had to try the doo-dads on the dash. And I’m happy to report that for a $64,000 car the dash is refreshingly simple to navigate through. Audio and HVAC controls can be figured out without reading the owner’s manual. And the Bose sound system, when I finally got around to turning it on, sounded fantastic. I found myself hooked on—get ready for it—the 40s on 4 Sirius Satellite radio station. Laugh if you will, but there’s something about those old tunes which is really brought out on a good sound system.

As I said, the LT-1 engine was in the test car as was the optional seven-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. This setup has an EPA estimate of 18/28 mpg city/highway. The obligatory drive mode selector is there on the console, with Tour (everyday driving), Weather (rain and... snow? Really?), Eco (yawn), Sport (“spirited” road driving), and Track (which even changes the gauge cluster for track driving).

Needless to say, the Stingray is a great car to be in the driver’s seat of, but some might find it a bit of a challenge getting in and out. Once in, everything you need is well within reach; visibility in the convertible with the top up was okay, but a rear camera would help. Head room was fine, but extra-tall drivers might have an issue with seat travel, as I had it all the way back and I’m just six-foot. Minor complaints.

Looks like those two old ‘Vettes (interestingly, one a Sting Ray and one a Stingray) will have a new companion in my Wish Car Garage.

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Read more of Jim Corbran's You Auto Know every other week in Artvoice, and more frequently on Artvoice Daily.

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