There’s a good reason why the Corvette is an iconic American car and the 2011 model lives up to every inch of the legend. The 6.2 liter V8 under the hood blasts out 430 hp and ticks off the zero to 60 jump in 4.2 seconds. The six-speed manual transmission is just sexy — there’s no other word — and if you bump up to the Corvette Grand and spring for the two-mode exhaust, you’re looking at 436 hp. That may not seem like much of a gain, but to a power junkie it counts.
Opening at $49,045 and climbing to $59,045, it’s as affordable as the most direct competition; in some instances, depending on configuration, a little more affordable. The 2011 Porsche Boxer is $48,110 to $61,800 and the Cayman is $51.900 to $62,100. You’re not going to get good gas mileage with this kind of power, but let’s face it. You don’t buy a Corvette to go green. Expect 16 mpg around town and 26 on the highway.
The current design carries over from 2010 and is available as both a coupe and a convertible with a good variety of trim packages. (The high-performance versions are the Z06 and the ZR1.) The car’s low stance and long nose have been trademarks since it was introduced in 1953. When people see a Corvette, they know it’s a Corvette, which is a great deal of the appeal.
There’s no denying that the interior finish and fit aren’t up to European standards, with a lot of grained plastic and textured leather. It’s not an M3, but it’s not shabby. The seats are supportive, a must for most sports car enthusiasts, and comfortable. The options run the bill up in a hurry, but the base cabin lays out logical controls with a good display. A huge plus is the 22.4 cubic feet of cargo space that blasts the competition out of the water. (Go with the convertible, however, and you only get 11 cubic feet.)
It’s rare for cars in this price category to be crash tested, so neither the federal government nor the insurance industry has put the 2011 Corvette through the paces. There are, however, excellent safety systems including full driver and passenger airbag arrays, traction control, electronic stability control, and OnStar automatic crash response.
When you go shopping for the 2011 Corvette, chances are you’ve made up your mind before you ever step in the dealer showroom. The Corvette is a purely American sports car with a well-loved reputation. It does not disappoint.