By on May 9, 2018

2019 Chevrolet Stingray

This post is not to insinuate the base trim Corvette is the best of its range. It isn’t. In a family that includes a 650 hp supercharged sibling and an even more bonkers 755 hp bewinged brother, a naturally-aspirated coupe making 455 horses suddenly starts to look like the litter’s runt. What a time to be a gearhead.

No, this post is meant to ascertain just how good the $55,495 entry-level Stingray stands on its own merits. It’s often said the Corvette is one of the best American performance bargains on the market. Can a no-frills example nudge the Ace of Base meter? Let’s find out.

When the C7 showed up at the Detroit Auto Show in 2013, it was clear Ed Welburn and company set out to give longtime Corvette fans a collective coronary. Taking inspiration from the fifth-gen Camaro and its square butt, the car’s new angular tail lights caused plenty of consternation. Some corners of the internet ranted and generally frothed, while others quietly tut-tutted into their tea. The company responded by selling double the number of Corvettes it did the previous year.

Base Stingrays, dubbed the 1LT in the mesmerizing hierarchy of trims-within-trims, are bloody well-equipped. Under the hood is the hand-of-God 6.2-liter V8, cranking out 455 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque. Chevy says the car can scamper to 60 mph from rest in under four seconds. The vaunted Ferrari F40, whose sticker price when new was $417,000 before market adjustments, was no faster to sixty. It made about the same amount of horsepower, too.

2019 Chevrolet Stingray

An aluminum frame with composite underbody panels contribute to a near 50/50 weight distribution. A removable roof panel lets in the elements. Standard equipment to stir the gears is a seven-speed manual transmission, a unit which includes an active rev matching system, meaning your friends will think you can shift like Schumacher. In an age of whip-smart technology, the eight-speed paddle shift automatic reportedly hustles the Vette down the quarter-mile faster than the stick. Brembo branded brakes haul the Stingray to a stop.

Chevy was keen to bin all references too good “for a Corvette” when it came to the interior. It ditched the Barcaloungers found in the old model, installing new leather-appointed “GT” buckets that are powered eight ways for both the driver and passenger. Infotainment is housed in an 8-inch screen, with Bose branded speakers and smartphone integration through CarPlay and Android Auto. A flat-bottomed steering wheel twirls the electric power steering and rests at the end of a column that adjusts for reach and rake.

Any number of eye-popping colors are on offer for no extra charge, in addition to snazzy hues for the interior buckets. Admiral Blue Metallic looks especially tasty but any sort of extra exterior frippery will dent your wallet.

Stickered in the mid-50s, the Stingray represents one of the most complete performance packages for the money on sale in America today. Given 50 percent more cash, I’d obviously pop for the Z06. With 100 percent more scratch, I’d clearly get the ZR1. There are even a few options on the base Stingray I’d be hard pressed to pass up. But if my budget for a toy is in the range of the new pickup of which I just took delivery, I’m headed straight to a Chevy store.

[Image: General Motors]

Not every base model has aced it. The ones which have? They help make the automotive landscape a lot better. Any others you can think of, B&B? Let us know in the comments. Naturally, feel free to eviscerate our selection.

The model above is shown in American dollars with American options and trim, absent of destination charges and available rebates. As always, your dealer may sell for less.

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46 Comments on “Ace of Base: 2019 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray...”


  • avatar
    St.George

    Pushing the boundaries of the ‘Ace of Base’ concept? I like it!

    I would be very happy with one of these ‘base’ Corvettes, seems like decent value compared to any vehicles of comparable performance. I think that the ‘be-medallioned, chest rug mid life crisis’ stereotype is fading away as I see quite a few of these piloted by fairly well-off yet otherwise normal looking folks.

  • avatar
    wintermutt

    It is true that the Stingray is a bargain. Perhaps it is my imagination, but two bad things are associated with these. Lack of reliability is one, although in comparison to an Alfa Stingrays are very reliable. The other problem is not the vehicle’s fault – the public image of Corvette owners leans toward a white, older, obese male who knows little about cars and is having a mid life crisis. I doubt Corvette owners are in reality any older or more obese than in any other make or model of sports car, but that image seems to persist. To quote S and G
    “Because a vision softly creeping
    Left its seeds while I was sleeping
    And the vision that was planted in my brain
    Still remains”

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      I am curious about the lack of reliability you mention. Are you referring to the engine issues in the Z06/ZR1?

      The base cars LS3 cars are anvil reliable and need little modification other than an engine tune from HPtune to produce north of 500 HP.

      • 0 avatar
        TwoBelugas

        “Lack of reliability is one, although in comparison to an Alfa Stingrays are very reliable. ”

        Like the person above, I too am curious where you got that line. Base Corvettes are basically the Camry of the sports car world when we are talking about reliability.

        “The other problem is not the vehicle’s fault – the public image of Corvette owners leans toward a white, older, obese male who knows little about cars and is having a mid life crisis. ”

        well here is your chance to change that perception by buying one and be seen in public with it, since you are a….well I don’t know what you look like.

        • 0 avatar
          golden2husky

          As a C7 owner, I’ll comment. According to Consumer Reports, they rate the Vette as much worse than average. The biggest problem area in the C7 is the 8 speed automatic transmission, most notably the torque converter. This is also seen in other GM models with the eight speed. Mine is a manual, and as a 2014 it is a first year car albeit very late in that first year run. Other than the airbag and fuel filler screen recall, I have had no issues. Reliability wise- there is no reason not to consider one.

          Regarding that outdated image of Corvette owners, it is just that – outdated. Just like the stereotype of all Camaro owners having a mullet. Yes, the age of owners skews higher than average. Considering it is a car of limited practicality and is relatively expensive (mine was $75K) you can’t expect 20 and 30 year olds, who have kids and college to pay for, to be the prime market. This is no different for Porsches. As for the “mid life crisis” bit, well I’ll just say the only crisis I see is owning only boring cars. Obese owners? Sadly America is rapidly becoming the land of the free and the home of the blubber. Look what spills out of most cars these days. Ironically, the stereotype that I’ve noted most is that owners tend to me much more conservative politically than average. That sure does not describe me! If you go onto Corvette Forum and look at the Politics section you will find the most brain dead, closed minded Neanderthals that walk the face of the earth, that post such winner threads such as “Did the Blacks kill Detroit” or “Muslims like to kill Americans”…Most on the site don’t post such garbage, but the few that do – wow.

          • 0 avatar
            John Boschen

            I don’t understand your comment about reliability, not trying to start an argument here at all! The Corvette has a rock-solid reliability over all of its years as General Motors always put it’s very reliable engine in the Corvette starting with small block V8 not counting first-year inline 6 cylinder! All the people I know that have owned and or do own a Corvette speak nothing but very highly of its reliability!

    • 0 avatar
      DearS

      If the Porsche GT3RS was bought by the Donald Trumps of the world, I’d still want one just as bad, same for the Vette. Although not so much for a base Porsche, I hate the idea of overpaying for a car.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      “…the public image of Corvette owners leans toward a white, older, obese male…”

      You left out the gold chains.

      But of course these are mainly driven by older, white, obese guys who are going through a midlife crisis – these are the folks with enough money to buy one as a toy.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    In terms of what you get for 55k, the 1LT is a great value. If you have intentions of taking the car to a track, the Z51 performance package is very much worth the extra dough.

    I concur with St. George, I the demographic of the Vette’ owners is changing, perhaps not rapidly, but changing nonetheless. I count myself as one of the change, though mine is a 13 year old pre-owned example. Great car to DD.

  • avatar
    IBx1

    I saw a base model stingray yesterday during lunch that had the factory Corvette badges and a bunch of eBay Ferrari badges stuck on the fenders and hood. It was red, of course, and it was automatic, of course. That’s what you get lumped in with when you buy a Corvette that isn’t a Z06.

  • avatar
    arach

    I agree that this thing is a freaking steal.

    The problem is the people who own them.

    The Stingray is the only car I’ve ever configured, where I’d actually buy the base. I mean I can go through all the option list, and nothing is a “must have”.

    Sure the z51 is nice, but is it worth the 10% price premium? honestly, probably not unless your racing it.

    Is it considered “no longer base” if you pay for the orange or yellow?

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      I agree. I’ve played with the configuration tool before, and there’s no reason to pay for any options beyond the base model, unless you’re a true track rat (that can actually use a Z-Vette to its full potential) or you want some special color.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        I disagree. The Z-51 is a steal, and it improves the handling greatly. Same for mag ride. Two items no Corvette should go home without.

        • 0 avatar

          I was told by someone who owns a vette store that the c6, automatic and z51 is the sweet spot. He suggests a lower rearend ratio (so you kill the tires, not the torque tube) and that’s it.

  • avatar
    ajla

    If it wasn’t the fear of ripping the front end off I’d buy one of these.

    I’m happy I live in a place where I can drive whatever I want and not in Snootyville where I’d be ostracized for having the wrong wheel package on my LX570.

  • avatar
    kobo1d

    Could definitely be my next car, as the earlier C7’s continue to depreciate. Probably would try to find a Z51 optioned one though, as there’s not much price difference from what I’ve seen.

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    The main competitor for my C7 attention is not the ZO6 or ZR1, but the Grand Sport.

  • avatar
    EX35

    I’ve seen some new 2017 and 2018 base C7s listed for as low as 45k for the 7 speed. That seems like a steal.

    What I’m most concerned about is will it get tiring to drive as a DD? I have a short commute with zero traffic but would like to stay away from something too punishing. I’ve never owned a sports car but would love one.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      That’s the real problem with the Corvette in particular and sports cars in general. If you’re not tracking or hard parking, what else can do you do with them?

      • 0 avatar
        IBx1

        On-ramps; the legal drag strips of our daily lives.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        Trust me, there is plenty you can do with them. Disclaimer: mine is most certainly not a daily driver. Ride is actually rather good considering the performance capabilities. And for those with the mag ride, an new software update is available that makes it even better!

      • 0 avatar
        Noble713

        “That’s the real problem with the Corvette in particular and sports cars in general. If you’re not tracking or hard parking, what else can do you do with them?”

        Drift. You really don’t need too much space, nor do you get up to particularly high speeds. Single-car crashes while learning to drift late at night usually only result in bodywork and suspension damage, rather than hospitalization/fatalities.

        Expect to spend a lot of money on tires, though.

    • 0 avatar
      eliandi

      First, as a long time sports car owner I encourage everyone to own one.

      That said, the Vette might not be the easiest to live with. You sit low behind a long hood. The ride is a bit harsh, and you will never use much of the cars performance unless you are on a track. But yes, its a crazy value for the performance.

      To take things to the other extreme, a Miata obviously does not have the performance of a Vette, but visibility and ride are better and you can push it a bit on the road (very fun in the twisties)

      A Boxster/Cayman might split the difference between those extremes.

      My suggestion: see if a dealership will let you take one for a somewhat extended test drive, or find a friend you can borrow from to make the decision.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Have you driven the C7 yet? Ride was impressive over the occasional Vegas pot hole or rock laden highway shoulders in the desert when I drove it.

    • 0 avatar
      JuniperBug

      In my opinion, unless you live by some really nice, traffic-free roads, sports cars (and bikes) are a bit of a waste as a daily driver; you go through expensive tires without benefiting from their grip, they’re not comfortable, and you’re constantly frustrated about not being able to use anywhere near the thing’s capability. The second you do have some space to flex the car’s muscles, you’re into illegal/antisocial territory within seconds.

      Whenever I drive even my old Miata in a daily driver setting, I spend a lot more time wishing it rattled less, cushioned bumps better, and didn’t tramline than I do wishing it was faster. It wouldn’t take long of commuting regularly in it before I’d be ready to trade it in for a Civic.

      When I had sport bikes as my only vehicle in my twenties, not a day went by that I didn’t double a speed limit or do something else similarly stupid. Frankly, I’m lucky I survived it. Given that I did, I don’t regret the memories, but I also don’t feel the need to replicate the experience.

      A lot of people are into it just for the ego trip, and if that’s you, yes I guess you can get your money’s worth out of a performance machine in crowded environments.

      • 0 avatar
        eliandi

        I have dailied sports cars and sport coupes for more than 30yrs. Its not about the ego for me, I just like them. For the past ~10yrs I have also autocrossed and tracked them. Understand that is a personal preference, and yes they do not ride like an appliance commuter vehicle.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @JuniperBug – I agree with everything you have stated. IN BC where I live we have escalating fines and demerit points based on excess speed over posted limit. IIRC they are in the range of$140 to $480 for a first offence. Over 40 kph (25 mph) over the limit and it is an automatic impound. Since we have “public” insurance, penalties are tied to one’s ability to get insurance.

      • 0 avatar
        TMA1

        This is why I drive my Miata over the Mustang on some days. I can put the pedal to the floor without putting my license at risk.

      • 0 avatar
        Arminius

        +1
        I’ve got a Chevy SS because I always wanted to drive a V8 and it is the last of a dying breed. But I’ve come to realize exactly what JuniperBug described. You can’t come close to it’s ability and be anywhere near legal limits. On ramps are a blast but you are at 90 and on the breaks just as the car feels like it is really waking up. I would imagine it would be even more so in a Corvette. To be honest I had more fun in my 08 GTI. You never felt like there was so much untapped potential being left behind.

        • 0 avatar
          TMA1

          I’ve seriously considered swapping the Mustang for a new GTI for that same reason. I probably would have bought the GTI in the first place if VW would have let me configure it the way I wanted.

          • 0 avatar
            eliandi

            I traded a Mustang for a MINI for that reason…more chance to wring it out around town but also a fun track/autox tool.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        This is why I have a 75hp Triumph Spitfire as my sports car – I can have fun with it without losing my license. I just have no interest at all in this level of performance. Even my lowly 326hp M235i was boring in the US – you simply can never let it off the leash (it was sure fun in Germany though). The GTI seems about right – quick enough to be entertaining but not so quick as to be frustrating.

  • avatar
    Alfisti

    I dunno, cars like this .. i dunno. They have to be a toy no, DD this would be a massive headache.

    For the same money one could seat themselves is an Audi RS3, probably handles 95% as well with none of the headaches of the vette.

    • 0 avatar
      Nick_515

      Interesting. The biggest argument against RS3 is of course the Cayman. But when you think about daily driving it, the calculus certainly changes. [And maybe the fact that cylinder-wise, RS3 > 718 these days].

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      I’ve gotta wonder who’s comparing a Corvette to a MBQ car (aka, Golf) for the same price.

    • 0 avatar
      EX35

      One of the things that draws me to the C7 is the reliability of the engine and powertrain and the ability to DIY maintenance. German vehicles scare me wrt reliability and overly complex systems which have a steep learning curve to maintain and repair.

  • avatar
    cargogh

    I was 20 in 1983, the new ’84s were $21,800.
    The inflation calculator I used puts that amount at slightly over $55K for 2018.
    I hit 55 last month and will probably get a Corvette at some period.
    I’ve been a fan for decades and not much has changed for me.
    I’d still get a manual and skip the Z51.
    The DD now is a ’17 Fit EX 6 speed which is fine and the new 205/50/16 Pilot Sports helped.
    Absolutely positive the base ‘Vette would fulfill all the acceleration, cornering and appearance shortcomings of such a tall 130hp econocar along with everything else I’ve driven for the last few years.
    I’ve dicked around and become the old man who will own a Corvette.
    It’s a healthy future choice.
    I can’t get fat and develop bad knees and expect to get in and out of one.

  • avatar
    rpn453

    The Stingray is even better than 50/50. It’s 49/51 unladen, and probably 47/53 with occupants.

    Nice car. Good value. For street driving, I wouldn’t want any more engine than the Stingray has.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      Agree 100%. I have no problem with 460 HP; I can’t see owning the Zo6 or a ZR1. A Stingray has more of everything than you can possibly use, with the exception of interior room. When I retire I am certainly going to move someplace where I can use it more.

  • avatar
    pb35

    My wife drives an 11 year old Volvo. We’ve been looking around for its replacement for about 2 years now but can’t pull the trigger. She has now decided she just wants a 3rd “fun car” to drive on weekends and when she’s not ferrying the kids around and keep the Volvo for the school run. A base Stingray is at the top of the list, there are some smoking deals to be had on leftover 2017s.

  • avatar
    John Boschen

    I love all these comments about the Corvette some seem to stem from lack of knowledge some seem to stem from let’s just say being jealous of not ever having one but then most of them come from guys who actually have owned a Corvette and love them. No matter what the reasoning behind a person’s opinion of the Corvette it must be said that it is an exceptional sports car that usually has more power than it needs and is nothing more than a personal toy! That is the whole idea! Corvettes hold the record as being the longest running automobile brandishing the same name and same automaker! A lot has to be said for that! I have owned plenty of muscle cars and muscle trucks however I have never owned a Corvette I think I missed the boat with that as now I have become to Ill to keep up with getting in and out of one but if that wasn’t the case I would run right out and pick up a Corvette!

  • avatar
    Edsel Maserati

    The 460-hp C7 with the Z-51 option and a manual was the best Vette I’ve ever driven. I took one out on twisties in New England and it went through those turns beautifully. The only reservation I had was the open-pipes exhaust sound at high revs; when you passed someone, you were truly sticking it to them with that racket. I wondered if the people I was passing were calling up the police.

    I haven’t driven the current 650-horse Z06. Given the rapidity of the base car, that power seems superfluous (unless you’re drag racing). I’d always wondering if I’d be getting sideways.
    My previous favorite Vette was the C6 Z06 with the 427-incher making 505 HP. The sound of a full 427 at full roar is just chilling.
    The handling of the current Z-51 is at a much higher plane. I mean, it’s still not an elegant car — it’s brawny and rough. But man I like it.


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