2021 Chevy Corvette Convertible review: Why waste a trunk?

Yes, you can still cram golf bags into it.

Andrew Krok / Roadshow

All Chevrolet Corvettes are convertibles, if you think about it. A detachable roof panel turns the standard Corvette coupe into something sunnier, but there’s a catch: storing it makes the rear trunk otherwise useless, so it’s hard to sunbathe and, let’s say, go shopping. Enter the Corvette Convertible, which collects a whole host of new tricks in the transition to a mid-engined layout, tricks that could make the soft top an even more attractive car than the coupe.

Non-original topless joke goes here

Having already spent an inordinate amount of time on the road with the C8 coupe, I feel like I’m in a good position to discuss adding a folding hardtop and how it makes the Corvette feel different – or rather, how it doesn’t. .

The specs are quite similar to what you see from other car manufacturers. This electromechanical roof takes about 16 seconds to raise or lower and will operate at speeds up to 30 mph. It’s a little fun to watch: after pressing or pulling the roof switch, which is positioned like a traditional window switch on the door panel, a massive cargo bed cover lifts off the rear half of the car while the hardtop multiple folds into place. If people weren’t already stopping and staring – a frequent occurrence for all C8 Corvette variants – they will once the body starts to spread apart in every way. It’s smooth and quiet, which gives me the confidence that it should last longer than previous hydraulic ragtops.

The advantages of the new hardtop are quite obvious. When the top is raised, the ‘Vette is demonstrably quieter in the cockpit at speed, perhaps a little noisier than the coupe, but not by much; not close enough to drown out the giant V8 that lives a foot behind my head anyway. With the roof down and the windows up, there is a negligible amount of turbulence on the highway and by moving the rear window up or down you can adjust it to your taste. Turn on the heat (and heated seats) and you could rock this baby with the top down for many months to come.

It is also much safer from a theft standpoint, because you can’t cut off the top and slide in, at least not with my knives.

One of the most obvious advantages of the Corvette Convertible? The boot is usable again. The entire trunk is needed to store the coupe’s detachable roof panel, while the convertible is hidden under the tonneau but above the engine, which is now covered so that the hardtop doesn’t melt. Better yet, the cargo capacities of both Corvettes are the same, meaning no livability is lost in the transition to the ‘vert.

The biggest drawback of the Corvette Convertible hardtop is just an amplification of a problem that exists on the coupe. The forward visibility is excellent, but they are the absolute boxes on the back. A quick glance to either side fills my eyes with aggressive gondolas instead of cars, and looking through the rearview mirror offers plenty of coverage for the tonneau (if I don’t pass the camera view, which is available, thank goodness) . Changing lanes requires more reliance on the blind spot monitor than I’d prefer, with some good luck thrown into the mix. Sure, I could get up from the seat and watch over the ships, but then I’d lose my hat in the wind.

Second verse, same as the first

Roof aside, the Chevy Corvette Convertible experience is roughly the same as the coupe experience. The breadwinner is a 6.2-liter V8 that produces 495 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque when equipped with the $ 1,195 exhaust – an option that, for a pipe enthusiast like me, is a must. It also adds 5 hp and 5 lb-ft, to sweeten the deal. Motive power is available pretty much everywhere on the tachometer, with the rumble behind my head turning into a roar as the Corvette pushes forward with authority. I don’t know if it’s the mid-engine layout or what, but despite the car being very fast, it never feels overwhelming. It is an accessible type of power that is not normally obtained when the engine is mounted amidships.

The standard eight-speed dual-clutch automatic is impressive given Chevrolet’s lack of experience in a sports car with this type of gear shift. I wouldn’t even be able to tell it went up a gear if the engine note hadn’t changed, it’s just that smooth. Even on the way down, there’s more velvety goodness than I remember, with little in the way of annoying head shots. It’s pretty damn smart when it comes to choosing gears as well, so even with some decent shift levers in there, I find myself letting the computers do the work.

Chevrolet needs some brighter LEDs. Controls along the tunnel are very difficult to see during daylight hours.

Andrew Krok / Roadshow

I’m also thrilled to announce that, while excellent, the optional Magnetic Ride Control magnetorheological shocks are not entirely necessary. Although the suspension has been optimized to account for the 80 pounds extra the convertible top brings to the table, the stock non-adaptive shock absorbers strike an impressive balance between softness (for cushioning) and stiffness (for pushing). There are more modes on offer, but I find the best middle ground is the Sport, which has a slightly more energized throttle that doesn’t sacrifice much in terms of minute adjustment. Throw in some well-thought-out steering and properly gripped brakes, and there’s no shortage of fun available in a snap, even if it’s just a quick blast up to the speed limit.

Inside, my mid-level tester with 2LT finishes is pretty comfortable, with soft leather in many places and hard plastic in very few. Bright red skin isn’t my personal cup of tea, but points are given for audacity. It’s not the most ergonomically sound interior, with a hard-to-grasp mode switch when there’s something in the cup holder and a long string of buttons on the high center console that are hard to memorize, creating a pretty annoying experience unless I ask. only my passenger to take care of it. The heated seat indicators also lack the brightness to be seen clearly on a sunny day with the top down. My tester rocks the extremely supportive GT2 seats ($ 1,495), but the GT1 seats and their base siblings are both comfortable and sufficiently bolstered. Storage space remains limited to two small pockets on the door, an armrest compartment large enough for a couple of wallets, and a wireless charging cradle against the rear firewall. It is definitely on the cozy side.

The Corvette’s technology is the same regardless of the roof, which is good, because it is great. An 8-inch touchscreen operates the Chevrolet Infotainment 3 system; it’s fast, lets you customize preferences based on a login, and packs a ton of features like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, satellite radio and 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot. The 14-speaker Bose sound system that comes with the 2LT coating offers plenty of volume and clarity to beat highway wind noise into submission. The 12-inch display offers solid customization and crisp graphics while managing to display a whole boat of information on, well, pretty much anything you might need while driving. While a high definition backup camera is standard and while the 2LT trim includes blind spot monitoring and additional cameras, that’s it for security systems. I want more? Buy an equinox.

Even without the optional nose lift, the Corvette Convertible did a great job of climbing my steep driveway without any scratches.

Andrew Krok / Roadshow

Up to brass tacks

While the Chevrolet Corvette Convertible is more expensive than the coupe, it’s still a steal in terms of performance. Starting at $ 67,495 including destination, my 2LT tester offers some additional goodies that raise its price to a slightly less exciting $ 79,075. But look at its competitive set – the Acura NSX costs twice as much (as well as being coupe only), and you may need a second mortgage for something with a McLaren badge on it. Hell, even the longtime rival of the Porsche 911 Cabriolet can’t be had for any less than six figures.

Just like the coupe, the 2021 Chevrolet Corvette The convertible is practically in a class of its own. The ‘vert takes the coupe’s impressive performance and jumps off the top in exchange for … very little, actually. It’s one of the least compromised drop-tops available today.

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