Lower trim levels on some cars make you feel like you’re getting just what you’re paying for: a bargain.
Not so with the entry-level 1LT C8 Corvette, according to a new review by Motor Trend.
If you can make do without fancy extras like heated and ventilated seats, head-up display, rearview mirror camera, and blind-spot monitoring, the base Stingray, which leaves the factory at just $59,995, doesn’t leave you feeling like Chevy cut corners when you’re sitting behind the steering wheel, MT says.
“After our extended time with the 1LT Corvette,” the magazine writes, “we’re having a difficult time calling it a ‘base car’ because it looks and feels like a premium product worth far more than its sticker price.”
Only 14.4 percent of customers chose the 1LT package in 2020, with the top-of-the-line 3LT (46.8 percent) and mid-line 2LT (39.1 percent) finishing ahead of it by far.
Since all levels of the new Corvette include the same 495 horsepower LT2 V8 engine behind the passengers for the first time and the new 8-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, performance is virtually the same no matter which one you choose.
Motor Trend, which earlier had named the 2020 Corvette its Car of the Year, says the standard seats in the 1LT model they recently tested “stood out” during their figure-eight testing. “Despite the lack of side bolster adjustments, the standard seats provide a good amount of lateral leg and torso support,” they praised while also noting that the leather “feels good” and likewise “appears to be fairly durable.”
The downside to the base car, for some folks, is that only three color combinations are available for the interior – all black, black and gray, or the black and red combo featured in this test car. While the 1LT doesn’t have as much red on the door panels or instrument panel, MT noted that the red contrast stitching on those parts does “a great job of tying everything together for a premium look,” with the brushed aluminum on other interior parts “tastefully done” while helping break up the black dashboard.
Even though it’s less expensive, the 1LT also still gets the two digital screens for the instrument panel and infotainment system, with MT praising Chevy for making the touchscreens “fairly intuitive and sharp looking” and befitting of a premium sports car.
While some of the high-tech features are missing on the 1LT model, MT notes that even the base model includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (now wireless for 2021), an available Wi-Fi hotpot, dual-zone climate control, and a 10-speaker Bose sound system “that sounds fantastic.” In fact, they find it “hard to imagine how much better the premium 14-speaker Bose setup in the 2LT and 3LT is.”
All in all, for those 2,946 folks (including just 283 convertibles) who wanted to take advantage of General Motors’ generosity of pricing the new mid-engine Corvette so low and opted for the bargain-basement 1LT Corvette, it sounds like maybe they aren’t all that far from the penthouse after all.
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