The 2020 Chevrolet Corvette is undoubtedly one of the coolest cars in our long-term fleet. But due to COVID disrupting our typical car signout process, I hadn’t driven it much since we bought it in mid-2020. My fortunes changed earlier this year when I approached car czar Mike Schmidt with a request: Put me in a car that I could stay in for a while. Mike identified the Corvette as a suitable candidate; outside of the occasional video appearance, there wasn’t a strong business need from our team.
And that’s how I ended up spending four out of seven months this year in the long-term Corvette. Here’s how the Corvette held up as my daily driver, from using it as an airport shuttle, grocery getter and pregnant-wife transport.
Easy to use in most circumstances
Backing up a bit — in the interest of full disclosure, Mike had also offered the Shelby GT500. At 6-foot-4, I fit in the Shelby more comfortably, but its pinchy Recaro seats and cumbersome around-town handling made it less appealing in my eyes. I was willing to deal with the Corvette’s tighter interior in exchange for the superior driving experience.
My takeaway: Though the cabin isn’t spacious, the Corvette’s easy maneuverability, pleasant ride, supportive seats and always-there power made it an excellent companion for everyday tasks.
The Corvette’s steering is wonderfully direct and quick, with a good amount of resistance as you move from the center position. You don’t have to wrestle with the wheel to get it to turn, but you are always aware of where it (and thus the tires) are pointing. The steering action goes a long way in making the car feel easy to drive on a commute — neither darty nor ungainly.
I haven’t driven a C8 Corvette without the adaptive suspension, but I suspect it’s worth the extra spend. We ticked the box for the magnetorheological dampers when we specced our long-termer, and I can say without a doubt that this is one of the best-riding sports cars on sale today. The Corvette glides over cracks in the road that would produce a jittery ride in other high-performance coupes. It’s similarly composed at high speeds when you might strike a bump or expansion joint on the freeway.
The seats are another high point. Even though we opted for the midrange GT2 buckets — sportier than the previously available standard thrones but less hardcore than the Competition Sport seats — I found them quite comfortable. They’re highly adjustable and, despite being a more aggressive option, well suited for most trips. Score yet another win for the Corvette’s everyday usability.
Finally, there’s the absolutely perfect 6.2-liter V8 just behind your head. Even when you’re low in the powerband, you can feel the gobs of torque at your disposal if you give the throttle the most momentary of blips. Kind of like the Porsche 911, the Corvette has an accelerator pedal with some resistance baked into its physical action. The little extra effort required means that the drivers are conscious of the request for power that they’re making. You aren’t going to accidentally press the pedal and rocket forward, in other words. It’s all very purposeful. And the V8 has no problem quickly ramping up the miles per hour. The Corvette feels so quick, it’s almost hard to believe that this will eventually be the base engine in a lineup full of even spicier powertrains.
The stuff that doesn’t work
Even though the Corvette is quite practical by sports car standards, it’s still a mid-engine coupe. The cabin is on the small side, and given my body’s silly proportions, I have to make some sacrifices in order to fit. This means choosing between scooching closer to the wheel so my head isn’t butting up against the roof, or moving the seat back and propping my head against the roof’s metal crossbar. I usually opt for less legroom/more headroom.
My wife and I also found out that a pregnant woman can comfortably get in and out of the passenger seat until about halfway through the fifth month. Scrunching to reach the door handle after you get in is a little tricky but can be mitigated by the presence of a helpful partner on the outside. Past this point, though, getting in and out of the low-slung Corvette becomes too much of a hassle. Once the kid’s home, the Corvette goes into the garage. You might as well get used to it now.
Finally, storage options for larger items are limited. I had to pack heavy for a recent trip, which meant breaking out a large suitcase. I’m a poor planner and didn’t think to try placing the suitcase into the car before I packed it. On the morning of my flight, I realized the case wouldn’t fit in the Corvette’s passenger seat. I ended up swapping into my wife’s compact SUV as airport transport. Another trip a few weeks later revealed that even a standard-sized carry-on couldn’t be stowed in the rear trunk. I could technically place it in, but the hatch wouldn’t close. Into the passenger seat it went — snug, but doable.
Aside from a handful of cargo and personal space issues, using the Chevrolet Corvette as a daily driver is no problem. That’s pretty amazing given its performance capabilities.