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The New Corvette Stingray: Worth the Wait?


GM shows off the first update to its classic Chevy sports car since 2005.

"It's finally here, folks," says Nelson Ireson at The Christian Science Monitor, "and it looks great." General Motors (NYSE:GM) on Monday officially unveiled the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray at Detroit's North American International Auto Show. It's the seventh generation of the iconic American sports car, and the first new version in eight years. (See a close-up of the new Corvette and a vintage one here.) The look and the resurrection of the Stingray subtitle, which dates to 1963, "hint at the past of the Corvette," while some other cues - the old round tail lights are gone, the hood is vented, and the improved interior is wrapped in leather and aluminum - point to the car's future. The question is whether after such a long wait, the design changes and interior upgrades will "make for a substantial upgrade over the outgoing - and very capable - car."
The latest iteration of Chevrolet's iconic sports car can accelerate from 0-60 in less than four seconds.

GM better hope so, says Lawrence Ulrich at The New York Times. "The Corvette has been in an unprecedented sales funk. With rivals, including the redesigned Porsche 911, finally gaining post-recession sales momentum, Chevrolet is counting on the 'Vette to rebound in a big way." Visually, it hits and misses. "The exterior's jet-age Stingray logo is a neat touch, but "after months of Chevy hype, the interior, dressed up but oh-so-familiar, seems a letdown." The base price should come in around $56,000 - about $5,000 more than a current base-model coupe, "but still a relative bargain for a near-exotic performer" that can rocket from 0 to 60 mph in four seconds. Over all, the new Stingray is "a bold, necessary departure for a car that often suffers from design complacency," which might be what Chevy needed "to expand beyond its graying, flyover-state fan base to ensure its continued relevance."

The 2014 Stingray is, at least, a step in the right direction, says James Shorrock at Autoblog. It "marks a return to the Corvette's roots after several years of less-than-stellar models. It's V8 engine's 450 horsepower is plenty of power, and its "more chiseled and aggressive look" live up to the name. The main thing Corvette has going for it is that it offers "supercar performance without the supercar pricetag," which is bound to make many fans think it was worth the wait.

The fact that this car exists at all is a miracle, says James R. Healey at USA Today. This vehicle "has survived a troubled birth, quality problems and development delays." It outlasted the "threats from recessions and regulations," as well as lengthy "waffling by Chevy parent General Motors" over whether to build it at all. In the end, though, this new Stingray was something GM had to produce, even though it can only count on selling 30,000 in a year, which is about the number of full-sized pick-ups GM sells in three weeks. Why? "More than an exotic indulgence by an automaker rescued from ruin by U.S. taxpayers, Corvette is an international symbol of GM's status as a top-tier automaker - the kind of credibility that GM needs as it continues to rebound from its 2009 bankruptcy reorganization."

Editor's Note: This story by Harold Maass was originally published by The Week.

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