Road Raves: 2014 Corvette Sizzles

Posted Wednesday, Mar. 06, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Chevy hasn't announced the price of admission, but it says that if you could afford the old one, you can afford this one. For dealers in your area, go to www.chevydealers.com. For more information, contact:

Bruce Lowrie Chevrolet

711 S.W. Loop 820

Fort Worth

817-984-4968

Bankston Chevrolet

Fort Worth

7769 Grapevine Highway

North Richland Hills

817-500-5428

Moritz Chevrolet

9101 Camp Bowie Blvd. West

Fort Worth

866-475-2623

Vandergriff Chevrolet

1200 Interstate 20 West

Arlington

866-264-2735

Classic Chevrolet

Grapevine

1101 W. Texas 114

Grapevine

682-223-9519

Graff Chevrolet

1405 E. Main St.

Grand Prairie

469-212-9721

Jerry's Chevrolet

3118 Fort Worth Highway

Weatherford

888-905-8398

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rivers drooled when Corvette's second generation debuted in 1963 with the sharklike Sting Ray. Also drooling: little kids. They barely had enough money for a Spider-Man comic, but when a Sting Ray rumbled by, they stopped tossing baseballs in their front yards and stared long and hard. And they dreamed. One day, one day ...

Rejoice, all you grown-up little kids. Here comes the new Corvette Stingray (one word now), and it's everything you dreamed about -- except being actually here. January's media-soaked official reveal merely stoked the dream, as the Stingray doesn't hit dealer showrooms until the third quarter.

But the fact that it even exists at all is a bit of a miracle. GM's bankruptcy, slumping sales and overseas competition dogged the Corvette in recent years, along with an unfair reputation as mobile Viagra for aging boomers. But times are always tough, and hand-wringing killjoys always lurk behind every new fun thing. With apologies to the song Feelin' Good, "it's a new dawn, it's a new Stingray, it's a new Corvette for me."

"New" being the operative word, this seventh-generation (C7 in the parlance) Vette keeps to tradition with composite body materials, rear-wheel drive and a V8 up front. The 2014 Stingray's 6.2-liter engine, dubbed "LT1" for those GM aficionados with long memories, cranks out 450 horsepower and ditto for torque, guaranteeing a 0-60 romp in under four seconds.

In fact, it's the most powerful standard Corvette engine ever, combining advanced technologies like direct injection, continuously variable valve timing (two valves per cylinder), an advanced combustion system and "Active Fuel Management" (which turns off four of the eight cylinders under light loads). With all that, the new Stingray should best the outgoing C6 Vette's 26-mpg rating.

Helping keep things on the lighter side: a carbon fiber hood and removable roof panel; composite fenders, doors and rear quarter panels; carbon-nano composite underbody panels; and a new aluminum frame, all of which help shift the Stringray's 3,350-pound weight rearward for an optimal 50/50 weight balance.

Brakes incorporate four-piston fixed calipers, bringing the Stingray to whoa in a hurry. Mated with a seven-speed manual that electronically matches revs while shifting or the optional six-speed paddle-shift automatic, one can reasonably predict that the aroma of smoking rubber will permeate the air around the happily hustling Stingray.

One thing not permeating the air: curses about the cabin's lack of comfort, especially after long drives. For too long, Chevrolet allowed Corvette seats and surrounding environs to be designed by the Spanish Inquisition. Mercifully, that day has come to a close.

Drivers can choose from track-ready seats or standard seats built for long-range comfort. From an aesthetic point of view, the cabin is nice -- really nice -- redolent with soft-touch materials and light years ahead of what it was in terms of finish: From the standard vinyl wrap to the higher-end aluminum, microsuede/leather/carbon fiber wrappings, the Stingray's cabin is an inviting place to spend quality fun-time.

Finally, just look at this thing! With its finely chiseled lines, aggressive stance and functionality courtesy of the Corvette Racing team -- every scoop, front and side, cools something -- the oh-so-hot Stingray screams awesomeness.

America must always have a car to dream about. To all the dreaming little kids of 2013 (and drivers and boomers, too), rejoice: The all-new Stingray is a winner. It's almost here, and we're feelin' good.

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