My Uncle Mac was one of the coolest guys I knew growing up. A Korean War vet and Skyraider plane captain, he later owned a body shop and kept his yellow C3 Corvette in his garage with the T-tops suspended above it. This was the 80s, and I was used to my parents Datsun Maxima, so the C3 seemed like a spaceship at the time. But why didn’t I turn out to be a “Vette Guy”? Does the 2022 Corvette Stingray Coupe change that?
The 2022 Corvette Stingray Coupe Overview
Let’s pretend that I asked you to design a sports car from scratch. I bet you’d make it mid-engine, for excellent balance. A firm suspension for high-G handling. Of course, a sonorous engine, probably a naturally aspirated V-8 because nothing else sounds like it.
You’d want to look the part too, so add in a removable roof. Put the engine on display with a glass window at the back, and have a cockpit that wraps around you like a fighter jet.
But you’d want to be able to afford your creation. Anything mid-engine has a price tag that starts with a “1” and has two more spots before a comma, so let’s make this car cost less than 100 grand. Maybe less than 90 even? How about down to 62 with all the important bits in it?
That’s where this 2022 Corvette Stingray lives. And it is quite a machine.
Performance Score: 9. Go big, don’t go home.
We’ll start with the Vette’s V-8. Almost every car I’ve driven over the past 10 years has been turbo or supercharged, so it’s nice to feel an engine without forced induction. The throttle is easier to modulate, and there is no lag. Even the best turbocharged engines made today still have a point of hesitation, and it detracts from the experience.
This 6.2-liter engine might still have push rods, but it’s a thoroughly modern mill. Direct fuel injection, a dry sump oil pump and cylinder deactivation make this one of the best examples of a small block from Chevy to date. This car has an optional performance exhaust, adding 5 horses for a total of 495, with 465 lb-ft of torque. While there is plenty of power everywhere, peak torque is available at 5,150 rpm, so it’s ok to wring out the engine a bit for fun.
Acceleration? Violent. Sudden. Aggressive. Addicting. This is a car that will force you to look as far down the road as possible, because you’re going to be there very soon. What really brings the experience alive is having the engine right behind your head during all of this. We always want out sports cars to be special, and the C8 features a ton of theater with the engine bellowing behind you.
Adding to this sudden thrust is a Dual-Clutch Transmission. Driving the Vette around town, the DCT can sometimes feel a bit sluggish to respond off the line (as does any DCT). That goes away once you pick up the pace, and using the paddles on the steering wheel fires off shifts faster than a typical slush box could ever provide.
One cringe-worthy item on all previous Corvettes was a suspension with leaf springs. That goes away in the C8, replaced by a forged aluminum double wishbone setup for both front and rear. Despite my test car being equipped with Michelin Alpin snow tires and the impressive width of the car itself, the Corvette Stingray has go-cart reflexes. The mid-engine layout helps, but you’re also very low to the ground, with a nose that’s easy to see over.
Pick a spot on the road, and you’ll be able to hit it repeatedly with the Vette’s accurate steering. Choose from 5 driving modes (Winter, Tour, Sport, Race, and “My Mode”). Select Tour via the knob on the center of the dash, or even Sport, and the Corvette Stingray is a very capable grand touring partner, with a subdued ride and no engine drone. Press the “Z” button on the steering wheel for “Race”, where everything becomes firm. You really must pay attention with the car in this mode. Everything happens fast.
It needs no asterisk; this car is one of the best-handling cars I’ve ever driven. Skip the winter tires (at 305 wide in the back, you’re not going anywhere in the snow anyway), and the Vette heads into hyper car territory.
Brakes on a car are always tricky. The Vette has a firm pedal feel (adjustable with drive modes), and I’ll admit that at first, it was hard to modulate. But after a few days, my inner driver adjusted and the brakes felt fine. In fact, they work better the faster you go, which gives confidence. Slow stops require a firm push, but they scrub speed at higher velocity with just a brush of the pedal. Now, other cars feel softer when I drive them. Thanks Corvette.
To really bring this Corvette alive, you’ve got to drive it hard. It begs for it. If the G80 gets bored dawdling around on-ramps, the Corvette falls asleep. It’s always begging you to DRIVE it, ok!? Can we please go now?! I can pass that car, I can hit that turn!
I don’t want to give this impression that this is just a fast car. There’s a lot of feeling here, from the engine sounds to the feedback through the wheel. Anyone wondering why we can’t have modern cars with more feel should try this C8 out.
Utility Score: 5. Two trunks, one top.
The Corvette Stingray features two trunks; one in the front (a frunk), and one in the back, behind the engine. The rear trunk is fitted to allow the roof to securely stow away, but doing so means you’re down to the front only.
The Corvette is a big, wide car, but that front trunk is surprisingly small. And do keep in mind that the rear trunk is next to a fire-breathing motor, so it gets a bit toasty. You can take it to the grocery store, just leave the top on and get a bit creative. But really, this is the kind of car you can take with you for a weekend away with your significant other, and there’s plenty of room for luggage.
Efficiency: 8. Lean muscle.
Another neat trick with this LT2 V-8 is cylinder deactivation, and a display on the dash tells you when the car is running as a V-8 or V-4.
I’ll be frank, this car was great on gas considering its mission, with 19 MPG averaged during my week with it. That’s the same as my G80 M3. I’m no saint behind the wheel, but can we stop the charade that turbocharging is the sole answer for better gas mileage?
Features and Comfort: 7. Tight delight.
The 2022 Corvette Stingray does have everything you would expect in a modern car. Inside is a Head-Up Display, Apple CarPlay, dual climate control, and a very handy digital mirror. The rear-view mirror is actually a screen with a camera that provides a view out the back that would otherwise be impossible to see out of. It takes a little getting used it, but you’ll appreciate the wide angle view and how much easier maneuvering the low Vette becomes with it.
Speaking of low, there’s also an adjustable height setting for the front to avoid scraping the low nose, along with cameras that aim down and help you see how close to the curb you are.
Two things I didn’t appreciate were the tight GT2 bucket seats, which didn’t move down enough for my 6’1 frame, and the flat-bottomed (and top) steering wheel covered in Alcantara. The wheel was hard to turn and grip, and the Alcantara on the wheel was already wearing a bit.
Fighter Jet layout
The long divider of buttons for the climate control was disconcerting to read quickly at first, but I got used to it, and as this car is about theater, I can’t very well knock Chevy for trying to be different when so many interiors look the same.
The dashboard itself has many ways of configuring the display, and can change depending on drive mode. Regardless, you get a nice big tach at the center, along with a digital speedometer, as it should be in cars with digital clusters. I found the infotainment screen to be a bit smaller and lower quality than other cars at the same price point, but it’s nothing to worry about. Better the Corvette use those development funds on the amazing chassis and engine. And the Bose stereo was excellent. Though I’m no audiophile, it’s one of the better I’ve heard in a car.
Speaking of funds, the base price of a Corvette Stingray Coupe is $62,195. That’s amazing. The Porsche 911 is much more expensive, and the Cayman much less exciting. Neither can match the performance of the Vette unless you add a “GT” badge to your P car. Even this Hypersonic Gray example, fitted with such niceties as the adjustable front height, magnetic ride control, Bose stereo, GT2 seats and more, comes in at $80,115. But you could leave the LT2 package behind and still have everything that makes the Corvette such an experience to drive.
The 2022 Corvette Stingray Coupe is one of the best sports cars ever made.
Wow, that’s a statement. It all goes back to cars as costumes for the outside world. What do we want our car to say to everyone as we drive by? And what kind of experience does it provide in the details?
For Uncle Mac, it meant heritage. He was a mechanic that took care of that car himself. It was immaculate.
This new C8? For me, it means “serious”. Seriously fast, capable, and attainable. Consider me a Corvette convert.
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