Can a 2021 Chevrolet Corvette Z51 Serve as a Daily Driver? Motor Trend’s Scott Evans Says YES!
In an August 6, 2022 article written by Motor Trend’s Scott Evans, the question is finally answered – and quite decisively by all accounts – as to whether or not the new mid-engine Corvette Stingray is “all the car you need” for all of the day-to-day stuff…More simply put, is it a good daily driver? His answer is a highly qualified YES!
The article was written after Evan’s fourteen-month evaluation of a new, mid-engined Corvette – in this instance, a 2021 Z51 coupe. He used the car for a variety of day-to-day activities, including grocery shopping, vacations (sans children of course), trips to the hardware store, and even transporting the family Christmas tree! In each instance, the car rose to the occasion. It also performed mightily on the race track when pitted against a Porsche Cayman GT4.
The eighth-generation Stingray, at least from Evan’s perspective, provides reliable transportation and is adaptable enough to make it practical for most any situation. True, driving it to the aforementioned vacation required the use of multiple carry-on bags (given solely to the fact that the car’s trunk (and frunk) are both too small to accommodate anything larger than that. Also, on those rare occasions when a large item(s) needed to be delivered to the home, a courier service may have been called into action, but neither of these scenarios posed any real issue, and each had acceptable workarounds that sounded practical (how many of us have an Amazon truck at our front doorstep at least once (if not several times) per week?)
Part of what makes the new Corvette a viable daily driver is the level of comfort experienced by its occupants. The car proves to be equally comfortable for both local and long-distance commutes, thanks in large part to its “class-leading ride quality, unusually comfortable sport seats, and high-speed stability.” Evans also commented that the use of “My Mode” settings, which (for him) included softer suspension, better brake feel, a louder exhaust note, and lighter steering, all afforded him a driving experience that was at once comfortable and exhilarating. The fact that he could also cruise at 100mph without any trouble didn’t hurt matters either. Using the car’s built-in nose lift with GPS tagging feature was also a huge contributor, as it allowed the car to navigate curbs, steep driveways, and other obstacles with ease.
Affordability was another consideration given to the mid-engine Stingray’s overall “daily drivability.” Tires weren’t cheap, especially since Evans had the car’s alignment setup for track use, but even then, maintenance was less expensive than many comparable luxury vehicles. He commented that his 2015 Corvette Z51 came with complimentary maintenance, a benefit his C8 apparently lacked, but the overall consensus was that the new mid-engine Corvette required minimal maintenance and proved to be more reliable than his “trouble-prone C7.” (As a sidebar, I know several people (myself included) who own C7 Corvettes and drive them with a high amount of confidence.)
There were a couple of noted (though minor) criticisms of the Mid-Engine Corvette’s interior. First, the massive center console with its long row of buttons caused some consternation, especially when trying to hold hands with the passenger. Similarly, the location of the phone charger (which is currently behind the driver’s right elbow) was difficult to reach. Thirdly, given the limited visibility out the rear glass, a convenience hook or even a set of coat hooks would provide a little more functionality behind the driver and passenger seats. Finally, better insulation in the rear trunk was considered a must-have, especially when attempting to transport cold groceries. As Evans states, “cold groceries go in the front trunk, always.”
Outwardly, the biggest issues Evans experienced during his 14-month test drive related to pooled rainwater on the hood and decklid, neither of which presented a problem until he attempted to open the front or rear trunk assemblies. There was also some consternation were the “side blades” (the upper section of the side air intakes that protrude from the upper portion of the driver and passenger doors. These “blades” stick out significantly from the rest of the door and caused some challenges when attempting to enter or exit the vehicle in limited parking situations.
Of course, this handful of criticisms was more than offset by some of the many features that Chevrolet got right when building the car, including the car’s front hood release which has been carefully concealed beneath the headlight. Additionally, the car came equipped with downward-facing cameras, which afforded Evans greater visibility when attempting to park the car, especially in a confined space. It was also equipped with automatic proximity locking and automatic comfort entry/exit features.
Arguably the greatest feature of the mid-engine Corvette was the car itself. While it isn’t for everyone, the car turns heads everywhere it goes. It is the kind of car that promises thrills and chills on the open road, even when the open road is a quick trip to the local post office or grocery store.
While we have yet to experience an extended test drive of the eighth-generation Corvette Stingray for ourselves (hey Chevrolet, we’d welcome the chance to drive one – even if was just for a few days!!) we have to agree that, based on everything that was expressed in the original Motor Trend article, that the C8 Corvette IS the ultimate one-car-garage solution!!