2021 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Review by Larry Nutson +VIDEO
By Larry Nutson
Supercar looks and performance
Executive Editor and Bureau Chief
The Auto Channel
My first stint behind the wheel of the new Corvette, the new mid-engine C8 that is, was for a few days last fall at my Chicago home. I recently had another drive experience.
Although it’s winter I’ve been spending time in the more moderate climate of coastal Southeastern U.S. where weather conditions make for good Corvette driving. This time around I drove a 2021 model. Specifically, a coupe with 2LT trim and the optional Z51 Performance Package.
The Stingray has received some changes in the way of features and colors for 2021. On the performance side, Magnetic Ride Control is now available without the Z51 package. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard.
Also now standard is a Buckle To Drive feature that, when active, can prevent the driver from shifting the vehicle out of Park if the driver's seat belt is not buckled for up to 20 seconds. This feature is designed to help remind all drivers to buckle up before driving. I just can’t fathom any Corvette driver not buckling up.
Silver Flare Metallic and Red Mist Metallic (the color shown in my photos) are new. There’s a Cool Gray and Strike Yellow interior trim choice. Full-length dual racing stripes are available in blue, orange, red and yellow. And the Stinger Stripes on the hood come in Carbon Flash in combination with either Edge Red, Edge Yellow or Midnight Silver.
Coupe or convertible body styles are available in 1LT, 2LT or 3LT trims. The powertrain is unchanged with the 490-hp 6.2-L V8 mated to the Tremec 8-speed dual-clutch transmission. The optional Z51 package includes a performance exhaust which lets the engine breath a bit better and boosts the rating to 495-hp. Zero to 60 mph in the Z51 coupe is in under 3 seconds. Hold on!
There’s a choice of three different seat options: GT1 bucket seats finished in Mulan leather seating surfaces with perforated inserts, GT2 bucket seat finished in Napa leather seating surfaces with a choice of inserts, and Competition Sport bucket seats in either Performance textile or Napa leather seating surfaces with a choice of inserts.
The 2021 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray recently got a price bump by $1,000 across all trims. The coupe now starts at $60,995 and the convertible at $68,495. Both base prices include destination freight charge of $1,095.
The Stingray coupe 2LT I just drove had a base price of $66,200. This was an early production car before the $1,000 price increase. Options fitted included Z51 Performance Package ($5,995), Front Lift Adjustable Height with memory ($1,995), Magnetic Ride Control ($1,895), GT2 bucket seats ($1,495), Red Mist Metallic ($995), Engine Appearance Package ($995), and Red Painted Brake Calipers ($595) for a total of $81,260 including shipping.
The question is: What to buy? Coupe or convertible and what level of performance and personalization.
I haven’t yet driven the Stingray convertible. However, it most likely would be my choice. If I were going to track drive a lot I would go with the coupe in LT1 trim—it’s the lightest weight, and with the Z51 package. Perhaps I might occasionally track my Corvette for some fun and enjoyment. However, on-road driving would be my main focus.
The coupe has an easily removable roof panel for that open air experience. It’s relatively quick to remove, easy to handle at 17.8 lbs. and stows in the rear trunk. But for convenience, the convertible with its retractable hardtop that can be raised or lowered at speeds up to 30 mph might be the smarter choice in spite of the increased price. Think about those occasional surprise rain showers or the need to make the car secure. Yes, the convertible is 77 lb. heavier, but.
I’d fit my convertible with the Magnetic Ride Control suspension that’s now a free-standing option. Although I might like the five additional horsepower in the Z51 package and the sound of that performance exhaust, the base setup is really plenty of performance. As a note from my drive, I thought the high performance tires to be a touch noisy. I believe the standard all-season performance tires would be more quiet. The Front Lift Adjustable Height option is good to have for those steep angle driveway ramps.
The Corvette Stingray has a decent amount of practicality, all things considered. The cockpit is roomy for two full size adults. A Nav system, head-up display, 14-speaker Bose audio, Infotainment system with 8-inch touchscreen, heated and ventilated sears and a heated steering wheel make for enjoyable year-round driving.
The Stingray has two trunks. One in the rear under the engine cover and one in the front…referred to as a “frunk.” There’s enough storage for a grocery run or maybe the dry cleaners. I observed that the rear trunk heats up a bit with its location behind the engine and over the exhaust. Chevrolet tells me the heat build-up is not significantly different than previous generation Corvettes. MidEngineCorvetteForum.com touches on this a bit. I would say, like in any vehicle, you need to be smart about placement of items especially if the outside ambient temperature is elevated. Items such as ice cream, chocolate, wine, or lady’s cosmetics might be best in the “frunk.”
More facts and figures on the Corvette can be found at www.chevrolet.com. If you want to have a look at my previous Corvette story CLICK HERE.
Snow is not out of the question for the Corvette. Fitted with winter tires the Corvette should do just fine in extreme cold and moderate snow depths. Don’t shudder from just the thought!
So yes, supercar looks, supercar performance, but not the supercar price.
© 2021 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy