2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 (397)

This weeks Corvette Z06 brought a lot of looks and oooh’s and aaah’s but at the end of the day it’s just an old fashioned muscle car. Wow, did I say that? Yea, I guess that’s the truth.

Sure I was looking forward to testing this car, but it did remind me of my youth and how we were always impressed with brute force and big block V8’s. But that’s all there was then. That was the best there was. But since those good old days American Car makers can’t seem to abandon the old technology and move European and Japanese engine technology that uses variable valve timing, for example. American power plants simply have failed to mature.

You only need to drive European and Japanese sports cars to appreciate the maturity available in today’s auto world. Two that come to mind are the Acura NSX and the Porsche Boxster S. Although they are also two seater cars, unlike the Vette they are both mid-engine cars, with better control characteristics. They are wonderful performers too, but with a lot more class.

Oh, you’re right, and a lot more money. You got me. I agree that you get a better price to performance ratio in the Corvette. But that is true of most domestic versus import cars, and why I almost always lean toward American built “anything”.

General Info:

Parts –  USA

Assembly – USA

Class:  – Two Seater

Cars: – Coupe, Convertible, and Z06.

Handling & Performance:

0-60 in 4 seconds will flat give you a generous adrenalin rush. Wow says it all. Even in the rain I always felt confident the car would keep me out of trouble, thanks to the “Active Handling” system that controls driver over steering. Weight distribution has also been improved by incorporating the transmission and differential in the rear axle.

It takes the corners like it were on rails, but with a much more bouncy ride than I care for. And if money weren’t an issue I’d surely lean toward buying the Boxster S for a little more and if I were loaded (cash) the Porsche 911 or the Ferrari would get the nod.


This is the best Corvette design since its introduction in 1953. That was the cats meow then and appealed to the macho gear head guys in high school. The Ford Thunderbird of the day was a girl’s car. Corvette has earned a place in the world as perhaps the most recognizable and distinctive looking “All American” car in the world. And when you go to Europe don’t bother looking for Porsche on the autobahn. You are more likely to see a Corvette. After all, over there it is an “Import” sport car from America.

Fit and Finish:

Much improved from the typical Corvette of the past that tended to be a bucket of bolts shortly after you drove it off the showroom floor. The big engines just seem to shake them to death. And what do you expect from engines and drive trains that are not very well balanced. You only need to crank one up and set at idle and listen to your teeth chatter. Not so in the Boxster or NSX. They are smooth and well mannered.


Storage spots are limited because, after all, it is a two seater, but the trunk / cargo area is good relative to other two seaters. But when it comes to standard features Corvette beats out the competition that cost 2-3 times more.


Unquestionably the best for a high performance sports cars.

Consumer Recommendation:

If you’re into performance and want to replace your pacemaker, this will do the trick.  Corvette comes in Coupe/T-Top, Z06 or Convertible. And let’s get real; money is a factor for 99% of us so if you want high performance this is, hands down, the best buy.

I have driven all except the Ferrari 360 and Lotus Esprit. The only Ferrari products I’ve driven were the older GTB and Daytona, so I left those blank in the rating below. This subjective ranking factors in price very heavily.

Manufacturer Recommendations:

Although you’ve tightened up the bailing wire a bit and added more chewing gum to hold it together and quiet it down, more fine-tuning is needed. I understand from engineers that Corvette doesn’t balance the crank and fly wheel and thus they run rougher than others.

The Competition:

(1) Corvette Z06 $41-50,000, (2) Acura NSX $89,000, (3) Dodge Viper $72,000, () Ferrari 360 $141-171,000, () Lotus Esprit $89,000, (4) Porsche 911 $68-180,000.

Good News:

Far and away the best price to performance ratio of any sports car in the world.

Bad News:

Still loosy-goosy, hard ride and rough engine at idle.

Standard Equipment:

5.7 liter 405 horsepower V8 engine, 6-speed manual trans, active handling, traction control, power ABS disc brakes, speed sensitive power steering, dual air bags, remote keyless entry and theft deterrent system, power mirrors, stereo with CD player, climate control, head up display (tach and speedometer projected on windshield), cruise control, leather, tilt leather wrapped wheel, power seat, windows and locks and remote fuel and deck lid opening.

Gas Stats:

19 City and 28 Highway MPG.


MSRP $49,705.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@autolove.com
Copyright © 2014 – An Automotive Love Affair.

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