Our 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray spent most of the spring and early summer on the interstate, but as of late, it’s been exploring the great state of Michigan. That’s not to say it hasn’t been piling on plenty of miles, though. Michigan, for the edification of those who typically just fly over it, is really big.
Deputy editor and Michigander-in-chief Joe DeMatio chose the Corvette for his 150-mile drive to his hometown of West Branch (population: 2,116). His family, as it happens, was marking 100 years since Theodore and Emma DeMatio, Joe’s paternal grandparents, arrived in the small mid-Michigan town in a Ford Model T. “I have to say, I got there a lot faster in our 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray,” DeMatio says. His kinfolk and the people of West Branch rendered their approval for the hot new Chevrolet:
“In all my years of driving test cars to my home town, I've never received so much positive attention. Heads swiveled in every car and pickup I passed. I don't think anyone had ever seen a car with this sort of livery: bright white with black accents and black wheels with red calipers. It is VERY noticeable.”
All of the DeMatio descendants, men, women, and children, regardless of age, were similarly smitten. “Everyone had to sit behind the wheel. My cousin Tim, who's a youthful 70, recalled driving a buddy's first-generation Stingray 50 years ago.”
The Corvette then hauled up to Traverse City, Michigan (population: 14,572), with this writer at the helm. The seating position, which some have found too high for a sports car, keeps legs and butts fresh on long trips. With the dampers set in Touring mode—most editors have forgone the stiff touring and track modes—the Corvette rolls rather comfortably over the Michigan moonscape, although we still try to steer around the worst potholes so as to spare the pricey wheels and low-profile Michelin Pilot Super Sport ZP tires.
The GPS estimated the 240-mile trip would take 4 hours. But I was running late, the roads were wide open and rural, and I had 460 hp on tap. Within three hours, I was coasting along Grand Traverse Bay. The people of Traverse City, wouldn’t you know it, liked the Corvette, too.
Perhaps the most fun can be had right near our new office, which sits about a block from historic Woodward Avenue. Executive editor Todd Lassa scored the keys for the annual Dream Cruise and found the new ‘Vette more than holds its own in “the world’s most interesting traffic jam.” Once he escaped the congestion, he was able to exercise the 6.2-liter V-8 for the benefit of his car-crazy nephew, who, from the passenger seat at least, preferred the powertrain to that of a Nissan GT-R.
“Although the techno-cool Nissan GT-R twin-turbo V-6’s 545 hp outpowers the Corvette, it’s hard to beat the exhaust note of a normally aspirated V-8.”
The Corvette also spent more than a week at a Dearborn Chevy dealer addressing a number of issues that have cropped up over 11,000 miles. The dealer performed an alignment under warranty to stop the car from pulling to the right. Editors have noticed the shifter clicks going into first gear and occasionally pops out, but mechanics claim it’s “working as designed” and say that we must push the shifter past a slight second detent in order to engage first. The techs also dismissed our complaints of chattering brakes, saying the rotors and pads pass inspection. (We suspect we’ll be revisiting this issue.) The dealer aligned the passenger door, which had been slightly askew since we picked it up in Bowling Green, and replaced a missing trim piece. Again, no charge. Finally, the dealer has ordered a new passenger-side airbag to satisfy a safety recall (yes, GM is doing lots of those). Until the part arrives, we’re advised to “not allow small children to ride in vehicles unbelted or in the front passenger seat.”
Those are a few more issues than we’d like to be dealing with after five months. But overall, the Corvette, much like our fair state, grows more appealing the more time we spend in it.
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