On January 18, the all-new C7 Corvette was named Best in Show by Autoweek editors in their 2013 2013 NAIAS Editors’ Choice Awards at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit. In addition, their preference did not include any runners-up. Autoweek editor Wes Raynal explained, “On rare occasions, at least one car premieres at an auto show that absorbs all the light and air in the building that takes our breath away, and takes every one of our editors’ votes without debate.” He added that the C7 was their “lights-out choice for Best in Show––the car we’ll easily remember from this show five years hence.
One week earlier, on January 13, GM unveiled its seventh-generation Chevrolet Corvette sports car; the automaker is hopeful that the vehicle will become the poster child for a 2013 product blitz designed to buff GM’s top-selling Chevrolet line. The C7 is one of a handful of new vehicles for 2013; thus, the company is in need of a boost. It finished last year with just 17.9% of US car and light truck sales, the lowest level since the 1930s. Without its Chevrolet stable, GM would be in a serious hurt, the brand accounts for 70% of the automaker’s vehicle sales in the US.
For the first time since the 1970s, the 2014 Corvette will carry the “Stingray” name; thus, it is rolling back the clock to a classic generation of the car that inspired many of today’s target customers: Baby Boomers in their 50s, when they were in their teens. Yours truly is a baby boomer; when I attended University High School in West LA, on many occasions my buddies and I walked by the Chevy showroom window on Santa Monica Boulevard to drool at the Corvette in the showroom window. I was able to purchase a Stingray in the early 70s (it set me back $6,300) and I spent many happy hours behind the wheel of my burnt-orange Stingray.
The entry level 2014 Corvette will set you back a few dollars more than my Stingray. GM hasn’t announced prices for the C7; however, the current model starts at just under $50,000. The higher price tag, compared to my Stingray, is accompanied by a tad more horsepower. It will have a 450 HP V-8 under the hood with a 0-60 time below four seconds. In addition, it is constructed of lightweight materials, including carbon fiber in the roof and aluminum in the frame, to deliver better fuel economy than the departing model’s 25 MPG in highway driving. The C7 will also offer options designed to help drivers perform better when racing the car on a track, including software that will automatically match the engine’s speed to the gear that the driver wants to select.
GM notes that the vehicle’s interior also is getting “a significant upgrade.” The company notes that this is in response to complaints from owners of the sixth-generation car that the quality of materials and styling in the vehicle did not match its price, or the sophistication of rival European sports cars.
For a complete listing of the Autoweek editors’ top picks, click on this link.