How Much Is A Corvette? The Complete Guide On Prices And Features

How Much Is A Corvette? The Complete Guide On Prices And Features

With nearly 70 years of history behind it, the Chevrolet Corvette is an uniquely American sports car. First released in 1953 to widespread acclaim, the Corvette proved wildly successful for General Motors, which has produced the car virtually uninterrupted across eight different generations.

That alone is worth celebrating. It’s not uncommon for a sports car to last for a single generation before a new model replaces it. Alfa Romeo, for example, has created more sports car models than most people have eaten hot meals. By that standard, the two-seater Corvette’s enduring longevity is nothing short of astonishing.

And it’s all thanks to a winning formula, centered around three key pillars. The first? Affordability, or at least, by the standards of a high-performance sports car. Throughout its history, the Corvette has been priced within reach of the upper-middle classes, making it a tempting proposition for motoring enthusiasts.

Then we get to appearances. Available as a coupe or a convertible, the Corvette has always had a distinctive, refined aesthetic, in part thanks to General Motors’ embrace of new design technologies. The inaugural models were the first mass-productuction cars to use an all-fibreglass construction, which proved lighter and easier to shape, with later generations among the first the pioneer polymer-based materials in the automotive space.

Finally, performance. It should go without saying that the Corvette is fast, with the latest 2021 models hitting 60MPH in just 2.9 seconds. Earlier models perform similarly well, in part thanks to General Motors’ decision to standardise on V8 engines during the first few years of its existence, as well as its early adoption of fuel injection technologies.

In short, the Corvette ticks virtually every box on the sports car check-list. With nimble performance and eye-catching looks, it competes with even the finest Italian roadsters. And most importantly, it’s relatively affordable.

But how much does a Corvette cost? And can you find a bargain on the used market?

The Latest Generation

General Motors introduced the latest Corvette generation in 2020. Codenamed ‘C8’ and available in two body styles (a targa top coupe and a fully convertible hardtop), the latest edition represents a significant change when compared to its predecessor. The most significant is the decision to introduce a mid-mounted 6.2L V8 small-block engine.

The repositioning of the engine has a direct impact on the driving experience, particularly when it comes to handling. With weight more evenly distributed across the vehicle, and a lower overall center of gravity, the C8 is better equipped to handle tight corners. This architectural shift has necessitated a more fundamental redesign to the vehicle itself, and the latest generation touts a more aerodynamic frame compared to earlier models.

So far, we’ve seen two model years of the C8, with the most recent, the 2021, entering production last December. To date, little has changed, save for some moderate price hikes, a few new colours, and wireless Android Auto and Apple Carplay. As with the 2020 model year, General Motors continues to offer the Corvette in three trims: the 1LT, 2LT, and 3LD.

The base 1LT model starts at $60,995 for the targa top coupe, and $68,495 for the convertible. Despite being the entry-level flavour, the 1LT is remarkably well-equipped, particularly on the technology front. Expect a 10-speaker Bose sound system, an 8-inch infotainment system, SiriusXM radio, a HD reverse parking camera, and a set of luxurious 8-way adjustable Mulan Leather seats.

The 2LT, starting at $68,295 for the coupe and $75,295 for the convertible, builds upon that further, including a heads-up display, wireless phone charging, an improved 14-speaker Bose sound system, and power-folding mirrors.

Finally, the 3LT incorporates everything found in the 2LT, but offers a bit more on the aesthetics front. With a suede and leather-coated interior, as well as a set of Napa Leather seats, this is intended to be the height of luxury. This retails at $72,945 for the coupe and $79,945 for the convertible.

Hitting the used market

The Chevrolet Corvette has proven itself relatively hardy against the forces of deprecation, particularly when compared to sports cars, which lose value almost as quickly as they can accelerate.

There are a few reasons behind this phenomenon: as a mass-market vehicle, repairs are cheaper and simpler than on comparable sports cars, making them more attractive to pre-owned buyers. It also helps that the Corvette has long enjoyed a reputation for reliability that other sports cars simply lack.

Still, there are bargains to be found if you look closely enough.

The 7th Generation Corvette (from $47,000)

The 7th Generation Corvette (from $47,000)

The C7 generationis both evolutionary and revolutionary. On one hand, General Motors opted for a somewhat conventional front-engine, rear-wheel-drive powertrain. This allowed the Corvette to remain within the realms of affordability, which has long been a hallmark of the car. 

In other respects, GM broke with tradition, giving the C7 a chassis that proved more reminiscent of the competing Camaro, rather than previous generations well-received Corvette models. 

The entry-level C7 Corvette LT1 uses the same small-block 6.2L V8 engine used across previous models of the lineup, which delivers outstanding on-road performance. Delivering 455HP and 460lbs of torque, owners can expect blazingly-fast rates of acceleration, with economical rates of fuel consumption. At least, by the standards of a sports car. You can expect 16MPG in the city and 29MPG on the highway. 

Although this model represents that year’s base configuration, there’s still plenty of finer touches to admire. On the entertainment side of things, you can expect an infotainment system that supports all major audio inputs, a premium sound system, as well as an LTE Wi-Fi hotspot. The driving experience is improved further by the inclusion of a reverse parking camera, cruise control, multi-zone AC, and luxurious leather bucket seats.

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The 7th Generation Corvette (from $47,000)

The C7 generationis both evolutionary and revolutionary. On one hand, General Motors opted for a somewhat conventional front-engine, rear-wheel-drive powertrain. This allowed the Corvette to remain within the realms of affordability, which has long been a hallmark of the car. 

In other respects, GM broke with tradition, giving the C7 a chassis that proved more reminiscent of the competing Camaro, rather than previous generations well-received Corvette models. 

The entry-level C7 Corvette LT1 uses the same small-block 6.2L V8 engine used across previous models of the lineup, which delivers outstanding on-road performance. Delivering 455HP and 460lbs of torque, owners can expect blazingly-fast rates of acceleration, with economical rates of fuel consumption. At least, by the standards of a sports car. You can expect 16MPG in the city and 29MPG on the highway. 

Although this model represents that year’s base configuration, there’s still plenty of finer touches to admire. On the entertainment side of things, you can expect an infotainment system that supports all major audio inputs, a premium sound system, as well as an LTE Wi-Fi hotspot. The driving experience is improved further by the inclusion of a reverse parking camera, cruise control, multi-zone AC, and luxurious leather bucket seats.

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The 6th Generation Corvette (from $30,500)

The 6th Generation Corvette (from $30,500)

The C6 generation strikes a more traditional tone, particularly when it comes to aesthetics. This was the first edition to use exposed headlamps since 1962, although there were some more modern refinements, particularly when it came to the cabin, which was extended to afford more personal space for the two occupants. 

Under the hood, the base C6 Corvette touts a 6.0L VS2 V8 engine, which is capable of producing 400HP and 400lb of torque. Fuel consumption varies depending on what transmission you pick, with the 6-speed automatic variant delivering 15MPG in the city and 25MPG when highway driving. As you’d perhaps expect, manual performance is slightly better, with the 6-speed stick-shift transmission offering an EPA rating of 16MPG in the city and 25MPG on the highway. 

As an older model, you can’t really expect much in terms of high-tech conveniences, although with 0-60MPH acceleration speeds of just 4.2 seconds, you’ll be having too much fun to care. 

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The 6th Generation Corvette (from $30,500)

The C6 generation strikes a more traditional tone, particularly when it comes to aesthetics. This was the first edition to use exposed headlamps since 1962, although there were some more modern refinements, particularly when it came to the cabin, which was extended to afford more personal space for the two occupants. 

Under the hood, the base C6 Corvette touts a 6.0L VS2 V8 engine, which is capable of producing 400HP and 400lb of torque. Fuel consumption varies depending on what transmission you pick, with the 6-speed automatic variant delivering 15MPG in the city and 25MPG when highway driving. As you’d perhaps expect, manual performance is slightly better, with the 6-speed stick-shift transmission offering an EPA rating of 16MPG in the city and 25MPG on the highway. 

As an older model, you can’t really expect much in terms of high-tech conveniences, although with 0-60MPH acceleration speeds of just 4.2 seconds, you’ll be having too much fun to care. 

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The 5th Generation Corvette

The Corvette lineup was traditionally where Chevrolet experimented with new manufacturing approaches, and the C5 is no exception, using a hydroformed frame that was better-suited to a convertible style, and offered a quieter in-car experience. It also introduced a new 5.7L LS1 V8 engine on the base model, which delivered 345HP (subsequently upgraded to 350HP) and acceleration speeds of 0-60MPH in 4.5 seconds. 

Although modern touches are few-and-far between, Chevrolet offered a heads-up display on some high-end trims. Added charm comes from the C5’s pop-up headlamps, which have since been replaced by more conventional static lamps. 

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Style and substance

Whatever generation you end up settling with, you’ll end up with a Corvette: fast, attractive, and attainable. While newer models offer a distinct advantage when it comes to the sophistication of the trims offered, you don’t lose out on the all-important performance when you opt for a pre-owned model. 

Looking for your next all-American sports car? At Shift, we make buying a used Corvette easy, thanks to our simple no-haggle prices that are based on real-world market data. And with a seven-day returns policy and a free 150-point mechanical inspection, as well as a free 30-day warranty on our certified vehicles, you can be assured your next sporty two-seater won’t let you down.

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Author
Shift Editorial Team