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2014 Kia Optima, Metal Bronze, 6 mi., $22,595
Review of the 2012 Chevrolet Corvette
IntroductionThe 2012 Chevrolet Corvette is a two-seater available as a coupe with a removable roof panel (base and GS only), a fixed-roof coupe or a convertible in base Corvette (1LT), Grand Sport (GS), Z06 and ZR trims. Corvette is Chevrolet's flagship premium sports car and takes on the Ford Shelby GT500, Dodge Viper and Nissan GT-R. the 2012 Chevrolet Corvette is a carryover model for the year 2012.
Exterior Design and Special FeaturesThe 2012 Chevrolet Corvette is one of the world's best performance vehicles. Also, the Z06 has one of the world's best motors and the ZR1 is one of the world's best. Standard equipment of the 1LT coupe and convertible are xenon headlamps, 18-inch front alloy wheels and 19-inch rears, full power accessories, cruise control, keyless ignition/entry, OnStar, leather seating, a six-way power driver seat, a manual tilt steering wheel and dual-zone automatic climate control. A seven-speaker audio system which includes a CD/MP3 player, satellite radio, steering-wheel-mounted controls and an auxiliary audio jack is standard. The 2LT Package gets Bluetooth and perforated power leather sport seats with power-adjustable lumbar support and side bolsters. The convertible comes with a power-operated top with the 2LT package. The 3LT has more equipment including a power telescoping steering column with manual tilting, heated seats, a head-up display, driver memory settings and a Bose audio system. The top-of-the-line Corvette 4LT is like the 3LT but gains an exclusive two-tone leather interior. The GS is available as a coupe or convertible with the same four equipment packages plus a sport-tuned suspension; front fender stripes and vents; wider front and rear fenders; a Z06-style front splitter and tall rear spoiler; unique alloy wheels; Z06-size brakes and tires; specific manual-transmission gear ratios and a specific rear axle ratio on automatic-equipped models. Depending on the model, a navigation system, a transparent roof panel for the coupe, a two-tone interior, a six-CD changer (not available with navigation), a dual-mode exhaust system and different wheels are available as stand-alone options. A Magnetic Ride Control suspension that automatically stiffens and relaxes the suspension according to how the car is being driven is optional on the base Corvettes. The coupe-only Z06 is similar to the base and GS models and gets a race-inspired 7.0-liter V8, a lighter frame and body panels, a stiffer suspension, a fixed roof, more muscular rear fenders and other bodywork, big brakes, special seats and a unique tan-colored interior dubbed "Cashmere." The top end ZR1 is powered by a supercharged V8, driven by larger wheels (19-inch front, 20-inch rear), and is equipped with carbon-ceramic brakes. An exclusive suspension with adaptive dampers, and additional lightweight body panels, including a carbon-fiber roof panel and a carbon-fiber hood with a clear polycarbonate "window" that reveals the engine's intercooler are its key features.
EngineA standard 6.2L V8 engine rated at 430 hp and 424 pound feet of torque drives the base and the GS. The Z06 is equipped with a massive 505 hp 7.0-liter V8 engine while the ZR1 comes with a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 good for 638 hp and 604 lb-ft of torque. All 2012 Chevrolet Corvettes have a six-speed manual gearbox with launch control as standard. Also, a six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters is a no-cost option for the base and GS models. The EPA fuel economy data show 16 mpg city and 26 mpg highway for a manual-transmission Corvette. With the automatic, these numbers drop by 1 mpg. The Z06 delivers 15/24 mpg, and the ZR1 yields a respectable 14/20.
SafetyThe standard safety features include four-wheel anti-lock brakes; Onstar with one-year safe and sound plan; electronic stability control; daytime running lights; pre-tensioners; traction control; auto crash notify; child seat lower anchorage; trunk release; advanced airbags; tire-pressure monitor and an energy management feature.