Chevy’s mid-engine dream car delivers on its promise of day-to-day practicality.

Dan Carney, Senior Editor

March 19, 2024

7 Min Read
The 2024 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible's folding hardtop.
The 2024 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible's folding hardtop.General Motors Co.

At a Glance

  • $95,755
  • 490 horsepower
  • Roof folds in 16 seconds

The Chevrolet Corvette, like the Porsche 911, is renowned for its ability to blend the requirements of sports-car styling and handling with a modicum of practicality so that it can be used as a daily driver and for weekend getaways for two.

I’ve had the good fortune to track test each iteration of the mid-engine eighth-generation (C8) Corvette, including the base Stingray, the track-focused Z06, and the hybrid-electric E-Ray. These drives have included a sampling of highway miles, but there was no chance for an overnight road trip, so I’ve now put the 2024 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible to that test.

Living with the Stingray at home for a week has provided a different perspective on a variety of the car’s details that might have been overlooked in more performance-oriented testing and during brief first impressions. Plus, driving in suburbia presents the opportunity to get waves and thumbs-ups from school kids every time you leave home, putting a smile on your face in case you’ve forgotten that you are fortunate enough to be piloting a mid-engine dream car.

This car is equipped with the LT2 trim package, which combines with the power-operated convertible top and $11,600 of individual options like the front lift for negotiating steep driveways and kind-of-silly red seatbelts to bring the bottom line to $95,755. That is a lot for a Corvette Stingray, but it is reasonable when compared with anything from Porsche and in a different league from Italian exotics.

Related:Cosworth Performance Data Recorder Provides Corvette Video

To recap, the Corvette Stingray employs the 490-horsepower 6.2-liter pushrod LT2 small block V8 engine mounted in the middle and driving the rear wheels through a Tremec-supplied 8-speed dual-clutch transmission with steering wheel-mounted shift paddles.

Drop Top

The power folding convertible top, unlike the removable roof panel on regular Corvette hardtops, is power-operated and retracts in just 16 seconds. Even better, it can be done remotely using the car’s key fob or while driving at speeds as high as 30 miles per hour. That means that you can raise and lower the roof while driving on your street rather than sitting stationary in the driveway.

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And you can do that before loading luggage for a weekend getaway for two in the Corvette because the folded roof does not intrude on the car’s rear trunk. There is also a front trunk suitable for a couple of backpacks or briefcases. Chevrolet likes to boast of the ability to stow small golf bags in the Corvette’s trunk, but I’m more appreciative of the fact that the cargo bay holds two airline roll-aboard suitcases even when the top is down.

Related:Hammer Down in the New Corvette Stingray at Spring Mountain Motor Resort

Breath of (Not) Fresh Air

Opening the roof remotely has the advantage of flushing the cabin with fresh air. Corvettes have been plagued over the years with the smell of resin from their composite bodywork. I’d hoped, based on past exposure to the current C8-generation vehicles, that this problem had subsided.

But when I first slid into my Torch Red test car, I was immediately transported back to my model-building 12-year-old bedroom, because the car’s cockpit smelled exactly like the Testor’s model glue I used to use to assemble plastic scale models. I know Chevrolet is aware of this issue, but until they find a real solution, German car intenders are going to be hard to convince to buy Corvettes.

Don’t Look Back

Settling in to the driver’s seat, the lack of view out the inside rearview mirror becomes apparent. The Corvette’s rear bodywork is so high that it obstructs the view out the mirror. Chevy’s solution is a camera mirror that displays a video image on the mirror.
I don’t normally like these virtual mirrors, but the Corvette convertible’s is better than others because the camera mounts to the back of the cabin, just behind the driver’s right shoulder. That makes its point of view very close to that of the mirror, rather than the cars whose cameras are back near the license plate.

Related:2023 Corvette Z06 Delivers Supercar Goods on the Road and the Track

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If I could, I’d narrow the camera’s field of view slightly to better mimic the view in a conventional mirror. And I’d like to be able to dim the image more at night because adding another glowing screen to the cockpit at night just brings in more unwanted ambient light to the inside of the car when the driver needs to be focused on things outside the car.

Something that the driver does need to be able to see inside the car is the steering wheel-mounted buttons for the infotainment volume. Fortunately, there is a dash-mounted volume knob, but it is a pretty long reach, making the buttons an attractive option. But Corvette’s volume buttons are mounted down low, forcing the driver to move his or her right hand and to probably look down in search of the buttons.

Back-of-the-wheel buttons, as used in some other General Motors vehicles, or front-of-the-wheel scroll wheels remain the best no-look solution for controlling volume on the steering wheel.

Making Friends and Influencing People

Hitting the Corvette’s Start button brings the small block V8 to life. The Corvette team has programmed the engine to ignite with a flare of throttle, followed by a fast idle when cold. During the day, this seems fine and is in line with the car’s sporting nature to show off a little bit. But at 6:30 a.m., when heading to the airport for an 8 a.m. flight or going to the YMCA for a morning swim, the Corvette’s start sequence is entirely too loud for people who live in a neighborhood where they like their neighbors and want their neighbors to like them too.

I tried backing the car in so the exhaust faced my house instead of facing outward, but I was assured subsequently that the change did not mitigate the 6:30 starts. A car that is meant for daily use needs a stealth startup mode that doesn’t annoy the neighbors.

Most of the 250 miles I put on the ‘Vette during its visit were accumulated during the drive to and from the B&B for the weekend. Even when the weather turned cooler than expected, the Corvette’s open cockpit remained comfortable thanks to the seat heaters and the ability to raise the rear window glass and side windows while driving at highway speeds.

The test car was equipped with Chevy’s “GT2 Bucket Seats” ($1,695!), which have the appearance of racing seats. But unlike some other companies’ sporty seats, these are very comfortable and are power-adjustable in seemingly every direction. They are both good for ingress/egress and for spending hours in the saddle, so they are a nice alternative to the racing-inspired seats that leave drivers racing to get out of the car.

Gas mileage for the week was a solid 20 mpg, which beat the combined EPA rating of 19 mpg. That makes sense, because many of the miles were on the highway, and the car’s EPA ratings are 19 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway.

Open Wide

The around-town miles included trips to the supermarket and the aforementioned Y. In those parking lots I became aware of the practical price of one of the Corvette’s styling details. The car’s heavily contoured sides and prominent side scoops cause the bodywork to protrude outward significantly in the area around the trailing edge of the doors.

Opening the doors in a parking lot means that these protruding edges contact adjacently parked cars when the Corvette’s doors have not yet opened widely. This makes it easy to inadvertently ding other people’s cars while simultaneously making it hard to enter or exit the Corvette through the narrow opening that is available.

It is not a deal-breaking sort of problem, but it is the sort of everyday headache that will aggravate drivers and encourage them to look for parking based on the available space to open the doors. Hopefully, Chevy’s stylists are spending some time daily driving Corvettes so they can imagine alternative solutions that provide the look they want without imposing this headache on those people who really do use America’s sports car every day.

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You could consider this the price of fashion, and really, the Corvette Stingray Convertible doesn’t ask us to make many sacrifices (though it may also ask some of our neighbors!). The car’s all-around comfort, efficiency, and practicality confirm its place as a user-friendly supercar that is realistic for daily driving. Just look for a parking space at the end of the row, where you can swing the driver’s door open wide to get out!

About the Author(s)

Dan Carney

Senior Editor, Design News

Dan’s coverage of the auto industry over three decades has taken him to the racetracks, automotive engineering centers, vehicle simulators, wind tunnels, and crash-test labs of the world.

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