Well, nobody’s perfect – not even the highly acclaimed 2014 Corvette Stingray.
At least in the eyes of one European auto journalist, Jethro Bovingdon, who seems to have mixed emotions about the seventh-generation Corvette in his video post test for EVO magazine.
Bovingdon starts out praising the car and winds up saying that he really quite likes it. In between he has some harsh, but perhaps constructive criticism for the Stingray.
Of course, he takes the Corvette on a “wet, wild, bumpy” ride in the UK in conditions that most American drivers will never put their car through.
“This is where we come when we want to get to know our car properly, and it’s a billion miles away from California,” Bovingdon says. “If the 455-horsepower, 6.2-liter V8 Stingray can cut it here, then maybe this is a Corvette we should finally take seriously.”
While he does point out weaknesses in the C7 throughout the video, he nevertheless calls it “a big, big leap up from the C6.”
Describing the engine as “absolutely brilliant,” Bovingdon notes that it is “so much sharper than before. It just revs and it’s properly angry. Sometimes these small block Chevy engines got big numbers, but they don’t quite translate to the road. But this one is proper. It’s 911-plus performance.”
He also likes the fact that a manual gearbox is available for the Stingray, though he does wish there was a lockout as on the 911 when shifting from fourth to seventh gear.
“The steering’s really good,” Bovingdon says. “That means you can lean on the car and the chassis itself is very, very supple, much more so than say an F-type Jag so you can drive the car quick even on the bumpy roads. The payback for that suppleness which initially feels really good is as you heard earlier the body control is not as good as an F-type, certainly not up there with a 911.”
He says sometimes the chassis and the body feel slightly out of sync with each other, taking away “a little bit of the confidence of the car … through the steering and the balance, which is really, really good. So it’s a shame, but the body control (is) not quite there at the moment.”
Still, he notes that while there may be a few chinks in the armor of that body control, the balance itself is really, really good.
The Stingray, he says, is “quite a calm car; it doesn’t have that instant bite that something like the F-type has. What that means is it’s a calm car to drive quickly, too and you can feel what both axles are doing. You drive up to the limits with real confidence. I like that about it. It doesn’t feel jumpy at all. It’s just got a smooth confidence about it, and it’s got loads and loads of grip. Point to point, this thing is really quick. You’d expect it to fall all over on these roads and slide everywhere, but no, this thing properly goes.”
Bovingdon calls the brakes “a bit strange.”
“They are very, very powerful. The ABS actuation is really nicely judged, but the pedal is so inconsistent,” he says. “Sometimes it’s rock hard. Other times it’s really long and soft. And then the next time it will be somewhere in between. It’s a real shame that every time you get on them you don’t really know what to expect.”
Bovingdon concludes that the first taste of the Stingray in the UK on “these really, really testing roads” leaves him satisfied for the most part.
“I’ll tell you what, it’s not bad at all,” he says. “It’s got really good steering, mega engine, precise and adjustable chassis, proper gearbox, and a noise that is genuine, not synthesized.”
He laughs as the rear end of the Stingray swings around while he negotiates a curve. “OK, so it lacks that last bit of precision that some of its European rivals have, the interior is still nothing on an F-type or a 911 if that’s your thing, but even here a million miles from its comfort zone, I can actually make a pretty good case for this Corvette.”
In fact, Bovingdon concludes, “I really quite like it.”
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