Ace of Base: 2019 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
ace of base 2019 chevrolet corvette 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.

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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2 of 46 comments
  • John Boschen John Boschen on May 10, 2018

    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!

  • Edsel Maserati Edsel Maserati on May 22, 2018

    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.

  • Analoggrotto By the time any of Hyundai's Japanese competitors were this size and age, they produced iconic vehicles which are now highly desirable and going for good money used. But Hyundai/Kia have nothing to this point that anyone will care about in the future. Those 20k over MSRP Tellurides? Worn out junk sitting at the used car lot, worn beyond their actual age. Hyundai/Kia has not had anything comparable to the significance of CVCC, 240Z, Supra, Celica, AE86, RX-(7), 2000GT, Skyline, GT-R, WRX, Evo, Preludio, CRX, Si, Land Cruiser, NSX etc. All of this in those years where Detroiters and Teutonic prejudiced elitists were openly bashing the Japanese with racist derogatory language. Tiger Woods running off the road in a Genesis didn't open up a moment, and the Genesis Sedan featuring in Inception didn't matter any more than the Lincoln MKS showing up for a moment in Dark Knight. Hyundai/Kia are too busy attempting to re-invent others' history for themselves. But hey, they have to start somewhere and the N74 is very cool looking. Hyundai/Kia's biggest fans are auto Journalists who for almost 2 decades have been hyping them up to deafening volumes contributing further distrust in any media.
  • Bd2 Other way around.Giorgetto Giugiaro penned the Pony Coupe during the early 1970s and later used its wedge shape as the basis for the M1 and then the DMC-12.The 3G Supra was just one of many Japanese coupes to adopt the wedge shape (actually was one of the later ones).The Mitsubishi Starion, Nissan 300ZX, etc.
  • Tassos I also want one of the idiots who support the ban to explain to me how it will work.Suppose sometime (2035 or later) you cannot buy a new ICE vehicle in the UK.Q1: Will this lead to a ICE fleet resembling that of CUBA, with 100 year old '56 Chevys eventually? (in that case, just calculate the horrible extra pollution due to keeping 100 year old cars on the road)Q2: Will people be able to buy PARTS for their old cars FOREVER?Q3: Will people be allowed to jump across the Channel and buy a nice ICE in France, Germany (who makes the best cars anyway), or any place else that still sells them, and then use it in the UK?
  • Tassos Bans are ridiculous and undemocratic and smell of Middle Ages and the Inquisition. Even 2035 is hardly any better than 2030.The ALMIGHTY CONSUMER should decide, not... CARB, preferably WITHOUT the Government messing with the playing field.And if the usual clueless idiots read this and offer the tired "But Government subsidizes the oil industry too", will they EVER learn that those MINISCULE (compared to the TRILLIONS of $ size of this industry) subsidies were designed to help the SMALL Oil producers defend themselves against the "Big Oil" multinationals. Ask ANY major Oil co CEO and he will gladly tell you that you can take those tiny subsidies and shove them.
  • Dusterdude The suppliers can ask for concessions, but I wouldn’t hold my breath . With the UAW they are ultimately bound to negotiate with them. However, with suppliers , they could always find another supplier ( which in some cases would be difficult, but not impossible)