Chevrolet Corvette 2009 Detail Specification Video Reviews


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Exotic-car performance for real-world money, daily-driver functionality, surprisingly respectable fuel economy.

Not as nimble and communicative as some competitors, interior lacks pizzazz, Z06 and ZR1 look too much like the standard Corvette.

The big news this year is the late introduction of the Corvette ZR1, which boasts a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 producing 638 horsepower. It’s the most powerful (and expensive) road-going Corvette ever. The rest of the Corvette lineup heads into 2009 with just minor changes, the most significant of which is the availability of Bluetooth phone connectivity.

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If you tell the average person that you bought a new 2009 Corvette, they’ll likely scrunch up their face, as if they’d just gotten a whiff from a bad carton of milk. “Really, a Corvette?” they’ll say. It seems there’s a certain stereotype associated with America’s sports car, one that involves a midlife crisis and gold chains on exposed chest hair, possibly accompanied by visions of the hideous Vette Mark Hamill drove in “Corvette Summer.” However, you can reply with this: “Corvette Summer” was 21 years ago, gold chains haven’t come back into fashion yet and the 2009 Chevrolet Corvette has nothing to do with the stereotypes — it’s simply a fantastic sports car.

While there are certainly historical kernels of truth in this stereotype, most of them were excised with the debut of the model’s sixth generation (the C6) for 2005. Last year, Chevrolet made further improvements, including more power and a better interior. Even the stats for the base Corvette are enough to drool over. The 6.2-liter V8 cranks out 430 hp, just 50 hp shy of the almighty Porsche 911 Turbo. The track-ready Z06 model puts out even more power (505 hp) and weighs less than 3,200 pounds.

If this isn’t enough, there’s an additional model being added to the 2009 lineup: the ZR1. The ZR1 moniker was last seen from 1990-’95 (when it was spelled “ZR-1”) and represented the ultimate in Corvette performance. The new ZR1 starts with a hand-assembled, supercharged 6.2-liter V8 that cranks out 638 hp and 604 pound-feet of torque, making it the most powerful production Corvette ever — and one of the most powerful cars ever, period. Naturally, there are further modifications, such as a strengthened transmission, specialized wheels and tires, Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes, unique suspension tuning with adaptive dampers and additional carbon-fiber body panels for weight reduction.

Even if “all” the 2009 Corvette provided was performance equal to high-dollar exotics but at half the price, it would still be high on our list of recommended cars. But a surprising level of utility comes along for the ride, too. The Corvette offers a massive amount of luggage space and a user-friendly cockpit, along with enough ride compliance for daily-driving duty. There’s also a convertible body style for those who want to catch more rays (or hear more from that voracious V8), and even fuel economy isn’t too shabby — a standard Corvette has an EPA highway estimate of 26 mpg, the same as an upscale Chevy Malibu.

Our quibbles with the 2009 Chevrolet Corvette are few, though they may be significant for those who expect world-class refinement at the Vette’s elevated price point. Although the interior features a soft-touch dashboard material, it still looks rather plain and there are too many chintzy plastics. Nor can the Corvette provide the nimble and engaging handling offered by European sports cars, or the brutal effectiveness of Nissan’s new GT-R. But for many shoppers in this segment, these will likely be minor issues. Put down the gold chains and don’t worry about the scrunched noses — the stereotypes are long gone for America’s sports car.