The current Chevrolet Corvette is a beautiful piece of art that has slowly been evolving over the years. Now with a supercharged V8, 19 inch front wheels and 20’s on the rear, Performance Traction Management, carbon ceramic brakes, adaptive suspension, and a clear panel over the supercharger so nobody overlooks the power under your hood, the 2013 ZR1 (in my personal opinion) is the best Vette to go into production thus far. But at $120,000 or more it very well should be. The ZR1 gets a supercharged 6.2 liter V8 which kicks out 638 hp resulting in a 3.8 second 0-60 time, which although isn’t much faster than the Z06 it feels significantly quicker. The fuel economy isn’t much to brag about, coming in at 14/21/17 but the one I drove achieved 11mpg in the city and 13mpg on the highway. Granted, I do have the heaviest foot in the known universe.
Although the good things (primarily the nearly flawless engine) are magnificently intoxicating, unfortunately they’re not intoxicating enough to distract me from the bad. I’m a sucker for practicality. This is obviously not the most practical car but Corvettes were never made to be practical, except financially. These are budget supercars. The only reason to buy this Corvette is because you can’t afford the 458 Italia. Anyone who disagrees probably owns a Corvette and just doesn’t want to admit they have settled. Power on a budget is the entire purpose behind this machine, but with your wallet taken into consideration, the most inconvenient aspect of any Vette is its swift depreciation.
The dated interior is disappointing but somewhat of a staple for the Corvette line. It appears Chevrolet is content being surpassed by manufacturers such as Fisker and Audi as far as interior styling and gadgets are concerned. Over all, the dash and equipment are lackluster and less than you would expect from a car over 100 grand. The deficiency of refinement and technology is not surprising for Chevrolet, but it is an unfortunate let down nevertheless.
To make matters worse, this Corvette (like all Corvettes in my opinion) feels noticeably less nimble than comparable (but infinitely better) competitive options from other manufacturers. Although the braking is of the highest caliber, handling is not. Many people may find the handling to be more than sufficient. Those people would be wrong. It is barely adequate but it’s all you can really expect from a bargain supercar. Yes, I said it.
There is one more redeeming quality worth mentioning. I personally find nearly every angle of the exterior to be extremely beautiful. Unfortunately, a pretty face doesn’t make up for the fact that for around the same price as the ZR1 you could do much better for yourself. For example, you could get a Porsche 911. With the 911 you’d be sacrificing 1 second of your 0-60 time but gaining significantly better fuel economy in this handling dream machine.
If the 911 isn’t quite your cup of tea, I have another much better alternative to the ZR1. The 2013 SRT Viper. The handling is world class, the styling department knocked it out of the f*cking park, you gain an even more powerful engine by stepping up to the V10, nearly a full second is shaved off of the 0-60 time, and if that isn’t enough for you the Viper is approximately $4,000 less than the Vette.
Side by side of Corvette ZR1 and SRT Viper. Which do you find sexier?
If you didn’t expect this review to slowly transform into a “this car sucks so here’s a better one” rant but were expecting a list of praises to the ZR1, you’re probably among the dying breed of gearheads who think Chevy understands American muscle. Or perhaps you’re just an idiot.