For 2020, the Corvette has undergone the most radical redesign in its 67-year history. Chevrolet’s engineers decided a new mid-engine layout was the way to go for its inherent advantages in weight distribution. Risky? Yes. But the result is hugely impressive. In terms of performance, the Corvette equals or outshines cars costing twice to three times as much. The new 6.2-liter V8 and dual-clutch automatic transmission are a formidable combo on the track but offer plenty of oomph and smooth operation in nearly any condition. The 2020 Corvette also imparts more information about its handling balance and grip, thereby giving its driver more confidence in taking the car up to its handling limits.
As with past Corvettes, the C8 is practical for both daily driving and long trips. There’s space for the coupe’s removable targa roof panel top in the rear, and the lack of an engine up front means there’s a small frunk in the nose. The new interior has a sharp, driver-focused design and fine materials throughout. A Corvette convertible is on its way too.
It’s stupid fast, it looks exotic and it hammers home what the Chevy’s sports car has always done: Give you maximum performance at a reasonable price. Even in a class full of impressive performance cars, the Corvette stands out. In Edmunds testing, using launch control rocketed our Z51 test car from 0 to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds and cleared the quarter mile in 11.5 seconds at more than 120 mph. Both times are very quick. Braking performance is impressive, but that’s largely down to the narrow front tires. We recorded panic stops from 60 mph in 105 feet, which is still a good number, and noted the Corvette’s stability and excellent pedal feel. Steering and handling are both much improved. Skid pad testing showed the chassis’ excellent balance with an eye-opening 1.09g, which is a number you’d expect from much more expensive performance cars. Likewise, the new eight-speed automatic transmission impresses with its smooth and quick shifts.
The new Corvette is one of the more comfortable cars in its class. Our test car had the optional MagneRide adaptive suspension. We found that it offers excellent compliance over a variety of road surfaces and smooths out bumps that would likely upset other sports cars. Adding to the comfort is the relative lack of wind and engine noise, though tire noise can be prominent on rough road surfaces.
The climate system provides good airflow from its stylish vents. Maybe just as striking as the exterior design, the Corvette’s interior is certainly eye-catching. Getting in and out of the Corvette was a little difficult. This predicament is exacerbated in tight parking situations. But buyers will likely figure out a way and won’t be too bothered. The compromised rear visibility will take some getting used to as well. Chevy added a camera-based rearview mirror display to help, but the blind spots created by the rear pillars are still significant.
The Corvette benefits from Chevrolet’s newest infotainment system. The graphics are crisp and modern, and the touchscreen’s proximity to the driver makes it easy to operate. As small as the interior is, the optional 14-speaker Bose audio system manages to produce a decent soundstage with plenty of power. The front trunk can hold a couple of grocery bags, and the rear is big enough for two golf bags. Rear storage all but disappears, however, when you store the Corvette’s removable roof panel in the trunk. Corvette returned 20.1 mpg, which is commendable given that some hard driving was done.