1995 CHEVROLET CORVETTE CONVERTIBLE
Used Car - 1995 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible in Bedrock, Mn
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1995 Chevrolet Corvette ReviewThis car review is specific to this model, not the actual vehicle for sale.
It's not just a car, it's an adventure.
The Chevrolet Corvette is the dream machine of thousands - maybe even millions - of people young, old and in-between, and as such it's more than just speed and performance. It's a sexy, low-slung adventure, complete with the sound of a good ol' rumbling V8 exhaust.
This year will be the last for the Corvette ZR-1, with its all-aluminum DOHC 32-valve 405-hp V8. Those who want the strongest, most technologically complex Corvette ever may mourn, but it's really not that big a loss. The LT1 engine, the 'standard' Corvette engine with 300 hp, is as fast as anyone could reasonably desire and is not very demanding to drive.
The Corvette is available as a coupe or convertible. There's only one trim level, and almost everything a motorist might want is standard equipment. Our test car was a Corvette ZR-1 Coupe, with optional power seats added to its equipment list.
As it has been since the beginning, some 40 years ago, the Corvette's body is fabricated from molded composite, or fiberglass, panels. These panels are exceptionally dent-resistant, ding-proof and will not corrode or rust. However, any accident leading to damaged bodywork will result in considerable repair costs.
Much about the Corvette represents interesting technology, and virtually all of it is performance oriented. Suspension components are made of forged aluminum. The brakes are big, powerful vented discs front and rear, and anti-lock braking is standard equipment. The front and rear springs are a monoleaf design made of glass-epoxy composite.
The Corvette's exhilarating performance comes from a 5.7-liter V8 that has been in continuous development for four decades. It generates 300 hp and 340 lb.-ft. of torque, enough punch to accelerate the car from 0 to 60 mph in less than 6 seconds and reach a top speed (if you can find a test track big enough) of over 160 mph. Chevrolet is wise to have made traction control a standard feature.
Speaking of standard features, the Corvette is fitted with an electronically controlled 4-speed automatic transmission. A 6-speed manual is available as a no-cost option.
It's indicative of the majority of today's Corvette buyers, and their driving habits, that the automatic is standard and the manual is an option. The manual is awkward to use, and includes a mechanism that forces the shift to go from first to fourth, bypassing second and third gears, in leisurely acceleration. This is done for fuel economy reasons but detracts from the pleasure of the around-town driving experience.
Although insurance companies take a dim view of the Corvette's performance potential, its sports-car agility does have active safety overtones. In addition, standard safety features include dual airbags and a reinforced safety cage around the passenger compartment.
Although the Corvette's pricing starts well north of the luxury frontier, it's no luxury cruiser. Just getting in and out requires some contortions. The car is low, but making things worse is a very high door sill that you have to climb over before snaking your feet and legs past the steering wheel and down into the footwell.
Once inside there are more problems. Numerous secondary control functions are poorly located and inconvenient to use. The instrumentation, though flashy, is odd. Supplemental gauges are arranged so that the gauge needles operate in opposition to the value being indicated. For example, as temperature increases, the needle on the temperature gauge moves downward. It makes deciphering the information needlessly confusing.
The seating position is generally acceptable, even for tall people, as the footwells extend far forward. Once you figure out the awkward seat controls and get everything adjusted, the driving position can be made comfortable for just about anyone, with the reaches to the steering wheel, shift lever and pedals obviously configured for high-performance driving.
Outward vision to the front is good, and vision to the sides is adequate. But vision to the rear corners is somewhat limited, something that's true of many sports cars.
In the coupe there's a fair amount of cargo space behind the seats, reached by opening the rear hatch-like window. The convertible, however, offers only minimal capacity for luggage, so pack lightly.
The fit, finish and apparent quality of materials on a Corvette is only average. Gaps and seams aren't handled particularly well. Much of the plastic looks just a little too much like plastic, and on the whole it lacks the kind of tight, solid, rattle-free feel consumers have come to expect in a modern car, especially one costing this much.
This Corvette body has been in production for more than 10 years, and in that time the quality has improved dramatically. But it still doesn't have the secure, all-in-one-piece feel that characterizes other high performance sports cars such as the Porsche 968, Toyota Supra, Nissan 300ZX and Acura NSX.
The Corvette's levels of acceleration, cornering, braking and top speed are simply beyond the realm of most drivers' experiences. And it takes a highly skilled driver, in a test track environment, to search the limits of its capabilities. For most of us, an occasional (if brief) romp on the gas pedal, or an enthusiastic fling around a freeway cloverleaf, will be about the most that can be experienced on a public road. With a car like the Corvette, stand on the gas for just a few seconds and you're going very, very fast.
On the test track, the Corvette holds its own with the world's best. Even for those long familiar with this car's capabilities, its ability to accelerate, go around corners and stop is awe-inspiring.
This kind of all-out capability has little relevance for daily driving, but it does promise a huge reserve that the skillful and aware driver can use to help avoid many emergencies. Even at normal, legal speeds, superior cornering gives a car the ability to steer around potential danger, and better braking might make the difference in a potentially dangerous situation.
With all this high-performance capability, the Corvette's ride is surprisingly comfortable, particularly on smooth roads and highways. People accustomed to family sedans might find the ride quality slightly harsh, but it's actually quite good in the context of the car's performance level. Only on rough surfaces, such as poorly maintained city streets, does the ride start becoming objectionable. The current Corvette has come a long way in this regard.
There's an optional ride and handling package for serious off-road use only (such as autocross and other competitive driving). We recommend it only for those who will use the Corvette in competition, as its ride is just too harsh for normal street use.
As a 2-passenger, high-performance machine, the Chevy Corvette isn't for everyone. It lacks the refinement, build quality and technological sophistication of some of the imports, but it's big, powerful, fast and stylish.
Mainly, though, it's a Corvette. Most people who buy one do so for its image rather than to actually use all that performance. That's why the great majority of Corvettes are sold with automatic transmissions, a sure sign their drivers are interested in style first and performance second.
But style is an important part of sports-car ownership, and that's why the Corvette is strong in this suit.
Beyond that, of course, this is an all-American classic. And if a Corvette is what you really want, nothing else will do. There's no substitution.