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Although we test hundreds of cars every year, we rarely get to take a look at base trims—especially when it comes to supercars. But during the media launch of the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8 last week, we were able to see the much hyped $59,995 model, and we got a chance to sit in it and see how the materials compare with the car we evaluated last year and ultimately named our 2020 Car of the Year. We didn’t drive the $60K model, but we got to drive a non-Z51 Corvette C8 for the first time, which was very similar to the base car. We were impressed to see the long list of standard equipment on the base model and appreciated how there are almost no compromises with its performance. Here’s an overview of what you get when you buy the cheapest C8 Corvette model in the lineup.
You buy a Corvette because you care about driving, and the C8 delivers on that front. That’s one of the reasons we named it Car of the Year. And even on the $60,000 car, you still get a lot for your money. The 6.2-liter V-8 engine produces 490 hp and 465 lb-ft of torque, which is 5 hp and 5 lb-ft less than what you get with the optional performance exhaust. Just like on the higher trims, an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission sends power to the rear wheels. Four-piston Brembo brakes are also standard, so you’ll get that hard stopping power when you need to. And you still get the mechanical limited-slip differential.
Non-Z51 C8 Corvettes ride on all-season tires, so this was our first time driving the car with the Michelin Pilot Sport all-seasons and the standard suspension. The ride is a little stiffer with this setup, but it still continues to be comfortable on the road. You’ll have to drive the Z51 and regular models back to back to notice the difference. The standard suspension is also very competent, though I still prefer the optional magnetic Ride Control adaptive damping system, which adjusts every millisecond to the road surfaces and rides more comfortably than the base suspension when set to Tour mode (driving modes are still offered even without the MR shocks on the base C8).
There’s no doubt about it—the C8’s interior design is just as good as (or perhaps even better than) its exterior design. You’ll note that the biggest difference between the 1LT (base) and 3LT (top trim) is on the dashboard, where the absence of leather is notable. But even then, you’re still getting a lot of standard equipment. The dash still has a premium feel, and you still get the contrast stitching throughout the cabin. You also get a lot of leather in the standard interior. The seats and steering wheel are wrapped in leather and you don’t really see any hard plastics (except where the wireless charger is located, which you can’t get on the base trim). You don’t get the suede headliner, but the standard fabric headliner is pretty decent.
The 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is standard on the Corvette C8, so you don’t lose any major technology. What you don’t get is the Performance Data Recorder (PDR), which is able to record the view of the front camera along with the speed and g force readings when you’re on a track. The reason you don’t get the PDR is because the base C8 doesn’t come with the front camera. You’ll miss that feature when parking as the display automatically shows the camera view when you’re approaching a curb block or other potentially front end-scraping object. Another pro is the 10-speaker Bose audio system, which sounds crisp and will have you rockin’ and rollin’ wherever you go.
Although it’s weird not to see them on a $60,000 car, blind-spot monitor and rear-cross traffic alert are not included on the base C8. Those are part of the 2LT package, which increases the price by more than $7,000.
Although you might not get some safety features, there’s a long list of convenience features that come at no extra charge. Keyless access with push-button start, dual-zone climate control, power adjustable GT1 bucket seats, automatic LED headlights, and a 12.0-inch digital cluster display are standard on the base C8. The removable roof panel is also standard, so every C8 can be driven topless.