Every year at each major international auto show, you’ll find a bevy of concept cars. Some are meant to show off new technology or infotainment improvements, but most are front and center as automotive sculpture. They’re highly stylized visions of would-be future cars meant to draw the eyes of gearheads over to the automakers’ displays where they can then see the current, real world cars soon to be on sale.
The sad reality is the vast majority of those concept cars never get built. They’re deemed to stylized or too futuristic for the average buyer. They might look so flashy on a dealership sales floor that they make the other cars look frumpy. Time and again, the concept cars are considered unrealistic.
In the case of the Corvette Stingray, Chevrolet essentially built the concept car, filled it with power and released onto the streets. And, Chevy deserves endless piles of credit for building and selling this car.
Chevrolet claimed plenty of that credit, with the 2014 version of this same Stingray claiming Car of the Year honors at the 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The Stingray nudged out the Mazda 3 for the award. I like the current Mazda 3 and thought it was worthy of the award on its own merits. But, it really wasn’t a fair fight. While the Mazda 3 is an outstanding consumer vehicle, the Corvette Stingray is absolutely crazy, confidently powerful machine — a supercar priced for the masses (or at least the masses with at least a high five figure job).
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The exterior styling is nuts with bulging, sloping fenders and wide, high riding back end. It’s pure Batmobile and as unapologetically aggressive as anything built in Italy.
The Stingray packs a 6.2 liter V8 engine that provides buttery smooth power until you really kick it in the ass. At the moment, the power plant gets the message and absolutely roars — surging the car ahead of Plebeian traffic with irresistible suddenness. Unlike past Corvettes that could only manage straight-line speed, this Stingray manages four wheel independent suspension and 19 inch wheels so the big lady offers a lot of grip. Finally, a full set of Brembo brakes can bring the whole thing to a halt with ease.
Surprisingly, the Stingray offers genuine comfort as a touring car in addition to low-riding security while at peak performance. While the ride is a little rough due to the necessary tight suspension, the ergonomics work for longer drives — making this Corvette realistic as an everyday drive.
The driver can switch performance modes on the fly with the simple twist of a button. From the tightest and most thirsty level (Track), to the most comfortable suspension setting (Touring), to the safest (Weather), to its most economical (Eco), the transition from one to another is quick and flawless. In fact, after testing these drive modes and others like them, I haven’t tried out a drive mode a system that demonstrates a more immediate and noticeable change in performance than this Corvette version.
From that in-car technology and surprising comfort to its ruthlessly powerful engine defiant styling, the Corvette Stingray deserves the accolades sent its way. Considering that it starts around $55,000, those qualities make the Stingray a special car within reach of those buyers who don’t mind standing out from the crowd.