2010 Chevrolet Corvette Review

2010 Chevrolet Corvette - As good as ever and getting better


I drove a new Chevrolet Corvettte from Chicago to Los Angeles on Route 66 with a friend during a week in 1987, and we never worried about the car's reliability. The car's performance and long-distance comfort were taken for granted.

However, that Corvette was supplied by Chevy Engineering and thus had newly designed Goodyear tires that weren't on sale yet and couldn't be replaced anywhere on the route if we had a flat. Fortunately, there were none. The run-flat tires on today's Corvette would have been a comfort.

Chevrolet has continually sold specially equipped Corvettes in recent years and broadens is 2010 lineup with its Grand Sport model.

Named after a legendary early 1960s Corvette race car, the Grand Sport that I tested combines the regular Corvette's 6.2-liter 430-horsepower V-8 with the racier 7-liter 505-horsepower 'Vette Z06 version's wide-fender styling, wider track, larger brakes, race-bred suspension and other items. They include the harder-edged Z06's unique wheels and taller rear spoiler. (An optional two-mode exhaust system elevates the Grand Sport's power rating to 436 horses.)

The result is that the Grand Sport delivers a superb balance of road and race track performance-not that many are likely to take it to a track.

All Corvettes have plenty of standard comfort, convenience and safety items. Without options, the base Corvette coupe costs $48,930 and the base convertible version is $53,580.

The refined base version is just fine for the majority of motorists. Close your eyes when driving it normally and you almost feel as if you're in a Chevy sedan. Drive it aggressively, though, and it's immediately clear that this is a genuine world-class high-performance sports car. Most lack the training to drive it flat out.

Like most Vettes, the Grand Sport can be had with a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission with a manual-shift feature. The Z06 and ZR1 come only with a six-speed manual transmission.

Opt for the automatic if you live in congested areas because the manual has a rather stiff clutch that's tiresome in traffic and really isn't needed with the smooth engine's tremendous power and torque.

The Grand Sport costs $54,770 in coupe form and $58,580 as a convertible, without options. My test car was a convertible and was packed with options that brought its bottom-line price to a hefty $74,790.The Z06, which comes only as a coupe, is priced at $74,285, without options but with additional standard items..

I could have done without most of the Grand Sport's extras. (Do you really need $270 dealer-installed pedal covers with the automatic transmission?) In any case, there's a good variety of more useful options.

The top "Vette" ever built is the ferocious 200-plus mph ZR1, which also is sold only as a coupe. It has a supercharged 638-horsepower, 7-liter V-8 and lists at $106,880 without options but with such high-line items as ceramic brakes. That's cheap, considering rivals with comparable performance cost approximately $50,000 more-and up.

The Z06 and ZR1 come just as coupes for more body rigidity to enhance their ultra-high performance, although my test Grand Sport convertible was rattle-free.

Estimated fuel economy for the standard Corvette is 15-16 mpg in the city and a sparkling (for its performance) 25-26 on highways. The Z06 gets a little less and the super-horsepower ZR1 provides 14 city and 20 highway. High-octane fuel is recommended for all models.  

New features for 2010 Corvettes include standard side air bags, standard launch control with manual-transmission models for the fastest takeoffs, revised automatic transmission paddle shift control for easier return to automatic mode and a "Z06 3LZ" package that includes power sport seats and a power passenger seat.

The 2010 Corvette is considerably better than our 1987 "Route 66" Corvette because 'Vettes have undergone constant improvements since introduced in 1953.

The original 1953-55 Corvette was gorgeous, but was essentially a General Motors auto show "dream car" with futuristic styling and wasn't very fast or comfortable.

The much faster 1956-57 model had cleaner, superb styling, but drove like a truck by today's standards. The 1960s Corvette Sting Rays were a major leap forward, at least without the optional big V-8s that had awesome power but were nose-heavy and too much for the that era's skinny tires.

And so it goes with America's most popular sports car, which has survived good and bad economic times.

One reason for the Corvette's popularity has been its affordability. It was never cheap, but almost any financially responsible person with a regular job could afford one.

The Corvette got slicker styling in 2005, when its concealed headlights vanished. But it's still a low-slung "drop-in, climb-out" car that calls for some athletic moves. And its long doors make it awkward in tight spots.

Gauges can be quickly read, but the tiny interior push-button door handles are a nuisance. While improved from earlier models, interior materials still don't measure up to the car's price.

Steering, braking and handling of all Corvette versions is superb-helped by stability and traction controls. And the ride is comfortable for most models. You can even order the base model with a sophisticated $1,995 Magnetic Selective Ride Control, which provides a driver-selectable "responsive" suspension.

Dan Jedlicka

Dan Jedlicka's Website

Dan Jedlicka joined the Chicago Sun-Times in February 1968 as a business news reporter and was named auto editor later that year. He has reviewed more than 4,000 new vehicles for the Sun-Times--far more than any newspaper auto writer in the country. Jedlicka also reviewed vehicles for Microsoft Corp.'s MSN Autos Internet site from January, 1996, to June, 2008.

Jedlicka remained auto editor at the Sun-Times until October, 2008, and continued writing for the newspaper's AutoTimes section, which he started in 1992, until February, 2009. While continuing his auto writings at the Sun-Times, he served as assistant financial editor of that newspaper from 1970 to 1973, when he began his automotive column.

He has appeared on numerous radio and television shows, including NBC's "Today," ABC's "20/20" and "The CBS Evening News." He was a host, consultant and writer for Fox-TV Channel 32's 1991 New Car Preview show and that Chicago-based station's 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1995 Chicago Auto Show Previews.

Jedlicka's auto articles have been printed in national magazines, including Esquire and Harper's. His auto columns have been reprinted in U.S. government publications and economic textbooks and he is profiled in the "World's Greatest Auto Show" history book about the Chicago Auto Show. In late 1975, Jedlicka was host and technical advisor for three one-hour television specials, "Auto Test 76," which aired nationally on PBS and were the first nationally televised auto road test shows.

In 1995, Jedlicka was the recipient of the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois Inc.'s Consumer Education Award, given annually to a person who has gained distinction in the field of consumer education. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award in the Media category and inducted into the Legends of Motorsports Guild at the Carquest World of wheels custom car show in Chicago in January, 2006.

Jedlicka was a member of the North American Car and Truck of the Year jury, composed of a select number of auto journalists from throughout the country, from 1995 until 2009. From 2010 to 2012, he was a member of Consumer Digest magazine's auto experts panel that gave Best Buy new vehicle recommendations.

He is a 1987 graduate of the Bob Bondurant Race Drivers School and later of the BMW "M" and Skip Barber Advanced Driving schools. He was a member of the U.S. team that participated in the 1987 1,000-mile Mille Miglia race/rally in Italy and has been a race winner at the Chicago area's Santa Fe Speedway.

Jedlicka has owned 25 classic cars, including 1950s and 1960s Ferraris and 1950s and 1960s Porsches, a 1965 Corvette, a 1967 Maserati and a 1957 Studebaker supercharged Golden Hawk. Jedlicka resides with his wife, Suzanne, in the Frank Lloyd Wright historic district of Oak Park. They have two children, James and Michele.

For more reviews from Dan, visit Facebook.