Corvette, an American sports car icon since 1953, has a new standard remote-entry system and new aluminum wheels among its few changes for 2000. Previously, a passive remote-entry system automatically unlocked the doors within a 30-foot radius, but the new one operates the old-fashioned way: The driver pushes a button on a transmitter.
The current Corvette generation was introduced for the 1997 model year only the fifth redesign in its 47-year history. The original model came with a six-cylinder engine, but all Corvettes starting with the 1955s have had V-8s.
The body is made of fiberglass, as all Corvettes have, and it retains some traditional Vette cues, such as side air scoops, concealed headlights and quad taillights.
The Corvette comes in three ways: as a base hardtop coupe with a fixed roof, as a coupe with a removable roof panel and as a convertible with a manually folding soft-top. The convertibles rear window is glass and comes with a defogger.
The front tires are 17-inch diameter ion, and the rear tires are 18-inch diameter. The tires are manufactured with run-flat technology that allows them to run up to 200 miles without air, so there is no spare.
Corvettes always have had two seats. In the current crop, they are clad in black leather. Body-hugging sport bucket seats are optional except on the hardtop coupe.
The steering wheel has a manual tilt feature and a power telescoping feature. The analog instrument cluster can be supplemented with an optional head-up display that projects vehicle speed and other information in front of the windshield in the drivers sight lines.
Some previous Corvettes lacked a trunk, but the current models have enough luggage space to hold a pair of golf bags. The only interior storage, however, is from a small glove box and console bin.
Under the Hood
The rear-drive Corvettes 5.7-liter V-8 has an aluminum block and cylinder heads and produces 345 horsepower. The base hardtop coupe comes only with a six-speed manual transmission. On the other coupe and the convertible, a four-speed automatic is standard, and the six-speed manual is optional.
The engine is mounted in front, but the transmission is mounted in the rear to improve interior packaging and weight distribution.
Antilock brakes and traction control are standard. An active suspension system that applies the brakes to maintain control is optional.
Previous Corvettes were noisier, had a stiffer ride and were harder to enter and exit. The current models are more civilized and accommodating, though theyre still not cushy and wont be without giving up some performance capabilities. The Corvette has stayed true to its heritage, yet it is still contemporary and fresh.