There is an axiom that has pretty much held true for more than a half century now regarding the Corvette. According to the axiom, there are two types of people: those who own a Corvette, and those who want to. It's that simple. Few can deny the Corvette's prowess, incredible performance and handling as well as its sleek, sporty styling.
The true debate, at least when it comes to Corvettes, is over what model to buy. Over the years, some of my biggest car arguments have centered around which Corvette model is better.
I have long maintained that the convertible, equipped with the six-speed automatic, is by far the top choice.
Of course, this immediately draws the ire of the true sports car enthusiasts who believe the only way to go is with the Z06 with the six-speed manual. While I agree, the Z06 is a great ride and winding out the gears is a blast, to me, it's a matter of practicality.
I don't race; therefore, I really don't need the 505 horsepower provided by the Z06's 7.0-liter V-8 engine.
The 400 horses provided by the 2007 Corvette's 6.0-liter V-8 base engine gallop plenty fast for me. And since I do the majority of my driving in town or in stop-and-go situations, having to constantly shift gears without going very far or very fast is more work that pleasure. Give me the automatic with paddle shifters. It's a great transmission and if I get on a winding road I can always toggle the shifters. If the majority of my driving was on the open road (or on the track) I'm sure I'd feel a lot different.
But in the debate between coupe and convertible, the convertible wins hands-down.
Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't turn down a Corvette Coupe, but if had the pick, it's a no-brainer. With a push of a button, the new power-operated soft top can be raised or lowered in a matter of seconds transforming the ultimate rear-wheel drive sports car into the ultimate two-seat roadster. When you factor in keyless entry and keyless ignition stop/start - along with all the other premium features - for a base price starting below $45,000 (convertible models have a base price below $53,000), it is one of the most affordable aspirational sports cars ever made.
And since we're putting a "wish list" together, be sure to add the following optional equipment: Premium Bose audio system with XM Satellite Radio, Head-Up Display (once you use it, you won't want to drive a car without it), DVD navigation and Magnetic Selective Ride Control (that allows the driver to switch suspension settings between Sport and Tour modes.)
For those fortunate souls who are actually in the buying stage, now is an ideal time as the 2008 Corvettes are beginning to arrive in dealerships. The new model features revised styling and an all-new 430 horsepower base engine. While you might want to opt for the new '08 model with the bigger engine, you absolutely can't go wrong with the 2007 model. I know I certainly enjoyed it. But until the kids are out of college, my wife is adamant that I'll remain in the "want to" category. Someday, however, I will move into the "owner" category.
Neal White has been covering the automotive industry for more than 15 years and is affiliated with the Texas Auto Writers Association and the Midwest Automotive Media Association. Comments may be sent to Neal at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2007 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible. X07CH_CR008 (United States)
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