Even before the last month’s introduction of the mid-engine C8 Corvette, production of the C7 Corvette had already concluded at the Bowling Green, Kentucky assembly plant. The last front-engine Corvette was a black Z06 that was auctioned off and raised $2.7 million for the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation.
As our own send off for the seventh-gen Corvette, we got to spend a week in a lovely Torch Red 2019 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport, which is positioned between the base Corvette Stingray and the race-bred Corvette ZR1.
2019 Chevrolet Corvette Exterior
Introduced for the 2017 model year, the Corvette Grand Sport takes a base Stingray and adds the handling and aerodynamic enhancements of the Z06 model. Obvious Grand Sport cues include the front spoiler, split front fender vents, functional brake ducts, larger rear air inlets and a taller rear spoiler. This model also gets exclusive wheels, which provide a sportier look, and accommodate the bigger brakes.
This car was came equipped with the $795 Grand Sport Heritage Package, that also added gray fender hash marks (a throwback to the C4 Grand Sport) as well as some subtle styling enhancements inside. The Corvette looks best (and is the most fun to drive) with the removable roof panel off, and the top is light enough for one person to take off and store in the cargo area.
2019 Chevrolet Corvette Interior
Hands down, the C7 generation has the best interior of any of its predecessors, and things get even better with the Corvette’s 3LT trim level. With an MSRP of $9,745, this equipment package is a bit pricey, but it does add plenty of high-tech, luxury features expected from today’s sports cars.
For this price, the 3LT package adds heated and cooled seats, head-up display, Performance Data Recorder (with overlays for Valet, Sport and Track conditions) and GM’s 4G LTE WiFi hotspot. In addition to these convenient features, the 3LT package also includes a cabin with almost all the touch points covered in leather, including a leather-wrapped instrument panel, Nappa leather seats and a suede microfiber leather on the A-pillar trim, and removable roof panel trim with a stylish quilted pattern.
The aforementioned Grand Sport Heritage Package adds unique aluminum accents (the little car on the center stack and the dual stripes on the grab handle) and the Grand Sport logo on the floor mats.
The flat-bottomed steering wheel (also wrapped in soft, stitched leather), reconfigurable gauge cluster and wrap-around driver’s cockpit gives the cabin a racecar-like feel, but since the Grand Sport isn’t as race-oriented as the Z06 or ZR1, the interior does get a little added comfort. The sport bucket seats provide decent lateral support while cornering, yet they are also extremely comfortable on long rides. Speaking of long rides, the Corvette coupe can hold up to 15 cubic feet of space, but that capacity is greatly reduced when the removable roof panel is being stored.
Not only are the cabin materials high-quality, but the overall design is functional, sporty, and luxurious. It’s probably not as plush as its rivals like the far-more-expensive Porsche 911, but you definitely get more than your money’s worth when it comes to comfort, luxury and cabin tech.
2019 Chevrolet Corvette Powertrain
The 2019 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport might look like a Z06 from the outside, but it still uses the same 6.2-liter LT1 V8 as the Corvette Stingray. Output is identical with 460 horsepower and 465 lb-ft of torque, but the added aero and handling enhancements allow the Grand Sport to accelerate faster than a Stingray, meaning the sprint from zero to 60 takes just 3.6 seconds, vs. 3.7 seconds in the base Stingray.
A seven-speed manual gearbox is standard on the Grand Sport, but as we’ve seen from modern sports cars, the optional ($1,995) eight-speed automatic delivers the best acceleration with quicker shifts. If you need to shift gears yourself, the manual mode with paddle shifters still provides plenty of fun. Unlike modern automatics, though, the automatic doesn’t offer any fuel economy gains over the manual. EPA-rated fuel economy estimates are 15 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway* for the automatic, versus 15 mpg city and 25 mpg highway* with the manual.
In addition to amazing acceleration, the Grand Sport upgrade to bigger brakes compared to the Stingray with Brembo calipers and two-piece slotted rotors that allow for a 60-to-zero mph stopping distance of less than 100 feet. Adding the suspension components from the Z06 help give this car more than 1G of lateral grip, while standard features like the electronic limited slip differential and Magnetic Ride Control ensure that like all Corvettes, the Grand Sport is still intended to be an everyday sports car. This level of performance and driving enjoyment is unmatched on a car that costs less than $70,000 (the Grand Sport is priced starting at $65,900).
2019 Chevrolet Corvette Safety
Like most performance cars, the 2019 Chevrolet Corvette has not been rated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, but Chevy still packs plenty of safety into this small cabin. All Corvettes have four airbags including side-impact airbags and Active Handling with electronic stability control to keep the occupants safe, while the 3LT package includes curb-view cameras to make sure the front bumper and spoiler stay safe, too.
2019 Chevrolet Corvette Overall
The C7 Corvette delivered some of the best performance and handling in the Corvette’s 66-year history, and Chevrolet only promises more of both from the upcoming mid-engine C8 Corvette. If that’s the case, other sports cars better watch out! In the meantime, though, the 2019 Chevrolet Corvette is still the best bang for the buck when it comes to performance with a starting price of $55,900** for a base Stingray. Upgrading to the Corvette Grand Sport bumps the price up to $65,900, and this fully loaded 3LT tester topped out with an as-tested price of $79,830.
It’s hard to go wrong with any of the 2019 Corvette models, but the Grand Sport provides the best mix of performance and value.
Make sure to visit your local AutoNation Chevrolet dealership and test drive the 2019 Chevrolet Corvette today!
* Based on 2019 EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending on specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.
** MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.