Orlando Sentinel's view

When the most notable improvement for the 2007 Chevrolet Corvette over the 2006 model is a larger glove box, either Chevy has run out of ideas or there isn’t much to fix.

There isn’t much to fix. This Corvette, known as the C6 — Corvette, 6th generation — came to market as undeniably the most refined, least-troublesome new model in Corvette history. The new 6.0-liter V-8 with 400 horsepower feels even stronger than that, and the new six-speed automatic transmission is a perfect match to the engine.

The Corvette’s cockpit does not require gymnastics to access the way older models did. Once you’re inside, the leather-clad bucket seats are superb. It surprises first-time passengers just how comfortable a Corvette is on the highway; it’s arguably one of the best cross-country vehicles of any size or configuration.

I prefer the Corvette coupe with the removable roof panel over the convertible only because of the difference in price — the regular Corvette starts at $44,170, and the convertible at $52,510 — but this is, I have to admit, an awfully good convertible. Twist a latch above the rear-view mirror and press a button, and the top stores itself beneath a panel just behind the driver and passenger. It cuts the 11 cubic feet of trunk space pretty much in half when the top is down, but there’s still room for some soft luggage back there. With the top up, the trunk is big enough for two rollaway bags.

At speed with the top down, there’s surprisingly little wind buffeting. Top up, it’s quieter inside than you’d suspect, with most of the noise you hear coming from the huge, rigid run-flat tires, P245/40ZR-18 up front, P285/35ZR-19 in the rear.

The six-speed automatic transmission is a $1,250 option over the six-speed manual, and as much as I like manual transmissions in sports cars, I’ve always preferred an automatic in Corvettes. There are little paddles on the steering wheel that allow you to shift manually, but the transmission seems to know what it’s doing.

Besides the automatic, the test Corvette was loaded with options, many of which I could do without, including a $5,540 package that added memory steering-wheel and seat settings, a head-up display (the speed is projected on the inside of the windshield so the driver doesn’t have to look down at the speedometer), and a few other relatively inconsequential features. At $1,750, the navigation system is a pretty good buy. At any rate, options and shipping raised the $52,510 base price to $63,320, which — given the car’s capability — is still a bargain. But if I were paying for it, I’d be just as happy with the base convertible, even happier with a base coupe.

Such is the general goodness of the 2007 Corvette — any model, any color, any time.

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