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Can the 2022 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Road-Trip?

chevrolet corvette stingray 2022 01 exterior front angle scaled jpg 2022 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray | photo by Aaron Bragman

June is recognized in most of the western world as Pride Month, a time for the LGBTQIA community to gather, march, celebrate, reaffirm our presence, fight for equal rights and come together as a community with friends, family, neighbors and allies to do all of the above. For car enthusiasts in this community, there’s an organization — Out Motorsports — that’s growing its online presence.

Related: Stingray Shock: Chevrolet Announces Upcoming Hybrid and All-Electric Corvettes

Earlier in June, the group held a road rally in the Shenandoah Valley area of Virginia. It was a gathering of likeminded LGBTQIA automotive enthusiasts and featured an amazingly diverse collection of iron ranging from a nearly 100-year-old Ford Model A (in phenomenal condition) to all the latest Teslas and Polestars.

chevrolet corvette stingray 2022 07 exterior group scaled jpg photo by Aaron Bragman

I decided to join the group this year for the “Hot Girl Summer Road Rally” (named after a Megan Thee Stallion song, if you’re out of the loop), driving from my home in Ann Arbor, Mich., to the rally’s starting point in Front Royal, Va. The good folks at Chevrolet were rally sponsors, and they asked if I’d be interested in driving something for the 1,200-mile round trip over three days. I said sure — as long as they had something interesting.

They did indeed: a 2022 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray coupe in top-of-the-line 3LT spec. Yes, I decided. That’ll do nicely.

chevrolet corvette stingray 2022 04 exterior front angle jpg 2022 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray | photo by Aaron Bragman

The Ride

I’ve been fortunate enough to test 2021 and 2022 versions of the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, both in coupe and convertible form. The C8, or eighth-generation model, is a radical departure from all previous Corvettes; its mid-engine configuration creates a vehicle and experience quite unlike any previous Vette. Whereas prior Corvettes are loud, uncomfortable, brash street brawlers that beat you up and laugh in your face, the latest Corvette is incredibly refined, smooth, quiet, comfortable and easy to drive. It’s as if a McLaren 720S and a Chevrolet Malibu had a fling and birthed a car that took the best traits from both vehicles — and left everything else behind. I used to think the Dodge Challenger was the Ultimate Fat Guy’s Sports Car, but that title now goes to the Corvette thanks to its accommodating cockpit, amazingly refined ride, and light and nimble steering.

The shape is the shape; some folks love it, some do not. You can see how Chevrolet tried to bring Corvette design cues to a mid-engined layout, which is not something that’s terribly easy to do. It mostly works; from the side or rear three-quarters, it’s absolutely sexy. The headlights, however, could use a little more sculpting, I think; the pointy daytime running lights make it look like an anime character expressing glee over something.

The powertrain is familiar and fantastic: a 6.2-liter V-8 engine nestled behind the cockpit and visible through the back glass. It pumps out 490 horsepower and 465 pounds-feet of torque (add 5 to each of those numbers if you opt for the available performance exhaust, which my test car did not have). The V-8 teams with an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission that can trundle around town smoothly, change gears with lightning speed on a twisty back road or cruise all day long at elevated highway speeds while the engine lopes along.

chevrolet corvette stingray 2022 02 exterior rear angle scaled jpg 2022 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray | Photo by John Fuqua

My test car did not have the Z51 performance suspension, nor the electronic Magnetic Selective Ride Control shocks, and that was perfectly okay with me. In this form, the Corvette is easily used as a daily driver and doesn’t beat up its occupants in the slightest. Ride quality is astonishingly compliant thanks to the suspension tune and the car’s all-season tires (as opposed to stickier summer tires). As I’ve said on prior occasions, if you plan on taking your Corvette to a track at some point, opt for the sporty packages. If you only ever plan on taking it on public road excursions, skip it all, as the standard Corvette tune is a perfect mix of sportiness and comfort.

It’s that comfort that sets the Corvette apart from other mid-engine supercars. Yes, you still have to do the supercar “sit n’ spin” to get in the cockpit, but the side sills aren’t overly wide and high like they are in a McLaren, and the seats aren’t made for narrow European racing butts. They’re made for American retirees, who tend to be slightly more ample than the Continentals. Our test Corvette 3LT had an Adrenaline Red interior with Nappa leather and suede-style microfiber on most surfaces. It looked and felt absolutely opulent, perhaps one of the finest interiors GM has ever put together. Combined with the Hypersonic Gray metallic exterior paint, my Vette was done up in a color combo more often seen on Porsches than Chevys. The whole car looked more expensive than it was, which is kind of amazing.

chevrolet corvette stingray 2022 06 interior front row jpg 2022 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray | photo by Aaron Bragman

The Route

With the Corvette warmed up and the removable roof panel stored in the trunk area behind the engine, I pointed the American supercar South towards the outskirts of Washington, D.C., where the rally was slated to start. My route covered about 600 highway miles — equal parts flat and monotonous Ohio interstate and hilly, twisty Pennsylvania turnpike. Speeds were kept to … well, most of the time the cruise control was set and I simply enjoyed the wind-in-the-hair feeling, at least until the curvy parts necessitated taking over and having a little fun.

One interesting characteristic of the Corvette is that it does not have a lot of driver assist systems like we see in most other modern cars. There’s no adaptive cruise control, no automatic lane-centering steering and certainly no Super Cruise hands-free highway driving system. But this is OK; you don’t buy this car because you want it to drive itself, you buy it so you can drive it. You just need to be more engaged in the process than you would in, say, a new Chevy Tahoe.

chevrolet corvette stingray 2022 10 exterior rear scaled jpg 2022 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray | Photo by John Fuqua

Once arrived at the rally point, the day’s festivities were a spirited drive through the Shenandoah Valley among groups of other enthusiasts. The roads are sublime in this part of the country — smooth and twisty, with some fantastic elevation changes and lovely pastoral scenery. Summit Point isn’t far, either, so if you find yourself with an event in this area, driving to it is the way to go.

The jaunt home on Sunday was another 600 miles, and it was just as comfortable, easygoing and simple as the drive down. The only downside to driving a Corvette on the regular is its limited outward visibility, which makes it difficult to see both what’s behind you and overhead stoplights. The first foible can be solved with the optional rearview camera mirror, which uses a camera to provide an unobstructed view of what’s behind you. The second one can be solved by simply being shorter than me (I’m 6 feet tall).

chevrolet corvette stingray 2022 03 exterior front angle jpg 2022 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray | photo by Aaron Bragman

The Results

So, after more than 1,200 miles covering six states over the course of three days, am I still as big a fan of the Corvette as I was the last time I drove it? You better believe it — maybe even more than I was before. For around $80,000 (the price of this very well-equipped 3LT coupe), you get an everyday-usable sports car with a huge V-8, Italian exotic-car looks, a storied pedigree and a simple-to-use multimedia system. It even managed to get just over 25 mpg for the entire trip, an astonishing figure considering the speeds it was driven. It’s as comfortable as it needs to be for its primary clientele, and this has given Chevrolet a lot of wiggle room for performance models like the recently unveiled Z06, the upcoming hybrid and electric versions, and the fully expected ZR1 variant.

The latest Corvette Stingray is good at so many things. I still maintain that it’s one of the few cars available today that I’d spend my own hard-earned money on. For my 40th birthday, seven years ago, I bought myself a new Jeep Wrangler. For the next big milestone, three years from now, I think I have a new target.

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Photo of Aaron Bragman
Detroit Bureau Chief Aaron Bragman has had over 25 years of experience in the auto industry as a journalist, analyst, purchasing agent and program manager. Bragman grew up around his father’s classic Triumph sports cars (which were all sold and gone when he turned 16, much to his frustration) and comes from a Detroit family where cars put food on tables as much as smiles on faces. Today, he’s a member of the Automotive Press Association and the Midwest Automotive Media Association. His pronouns are he/him, but his adjectives are fat/sassy. Email Aaron Bragman

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