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Review: 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible

The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible is a perfect convertible for summer.

Snarling and incredibly quick, when you want it to be, the latest C7 Corvette is also a docile cruiser. This American-built, 460-horsepower sports machine is one of the best bang-for-the-buck bargains in the car world.

By Jeffrey Jablansky NEW YORK DAILY NEWS on Monday, June 16, 2014 at 3:42 PM

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Jeffrey JablanskyWe know the Corvette Stingray has the power to perform some tire-melting donuts. Apparently, the latest Vette is also good enough to score free donuts, of the breakfast variety!

It was Memorial Day weekend when a roadside stop in the Connecticut countryside in the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray convertible turned into a gesture of goodwill.

A troop of local Boy Scouts had posted at a rest area with free coffee and donuts for long-haul drivers for the long weekend. I wanted to return the favor by letting them be among the first to see the C7 convertible. My co-driver laughed the gesture off as shameless self-promotion.

We'd barely parked and shut off the engine, when a father asked us to take a photo of his son with the car. A motorcyclist then quizzed us on horsepower figures and talked about "the damage to his wallet." Then there was the friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend of the United States' largest Corvette customizer, along with the grateful troop leader, who so appreciated us stopping that he practically begged us to snag some donuts.

I happily obliged. Sprinkles, please, for me.

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Jeffrey JablanskyThe Corvette's back is as wild as the front. Those quad exhaust pipes are not for the faint of heart.

On the several occasions I've happened to possess the keys to a seventh-generation Corvette, road trips seem to find me. Last time, the Corvette coupe acted as a savior in an unforeseen skirmish with uncooperative weather. This time, the plan was for an extended weekend of top-down motoring in the Stingray convertible – fingers were crossed that snow wouldn't again intervene.

The donut pit-stop was the first occurrence of surprising and delighting the masses behind the wheel of the Stingray convertible, but it wasn't the last. Throughout the weekend, the convertible's sharp lines, blunt creases, quad exhaust, enormous wheels, and swoopy beltline drew attention everywhere we drove.

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Jeffrey JablanskyChevrolet is officially out of the weeds, so to speak, with the latest Corvette Stingray. This new model no longer has to make any excuses when taking on the best sports cars in the world.

The drop-top keeps the general shape of the two-door, upon which it's based, but trades the coupe's hatchback lift-gate for a flat decklid. You won't mistake it for anything but a Corvette! With the push of a button, the three-layer, glass-windowed ragtop descends in less than 25 seconds.

The Corvette Stingray convertible's interior is virtually unchanged from that of the coupe, down to the switchgear, reconfigurable thin-film transistor gauges, and fantastic bucket seats. A set of torso-hugging sport seats are optional, and even more comfortable. We liked the user experience of the MyLink navigation and entertainment system, which was quick to act through voice and touch commands. Harder to like was the control layout, which was not easy to master.

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ChevroletThe Corvette Stingray's 6.2-liter V-8 pushes out 460-horsepower and can be had with a 7-speed manual or 6-speed automatic.

The rear-wheel-drive Stingray convertible's 6.2-liter, 460-horsepower V-8 is shared with the coupe, as are its choice of 7-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmissions. An all-new, 650-horsepower Z06 performance variant is due in 2015, and it's rumored that there are hotter Corvettes yet to come. Once those two vehicles are available, this sub-4 second Stingray Convertible will (unbelievably!) be the slowest Corvette of this current generation.

The manual gearbox feels excellent and easy to use; paddle-mounted rev-matching capability is a thrilling, but slightly automated, match for a solidly executed heel-toe shift. The Corvette's light and user-friendly clutch is also a pleasure.

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Jeffrey JablanskyThe Corvette Stingray Convertible has a flat rear deck, versus the glass hatchback you'll find on the coupe.

What's most interesting about the mighty powerplant is how easily it changes character, thanks to selectable drive modes that range from comfortable, to economical, to downright wrathful in full-bore Track mode. The engine's power comes on quickly, though in that unhurried Chevy small-block manner, a paradox that makes the Corvette feel extremely sporty and relaxed.

This engine has enough power so that you could comfortably cruise all day using only half the available gears. You can hit passenger-terrifying velocity using only second and third. Seventh gear is intended for fuel economy, although there is enough low-end torque to keep things chugging along on the highway. The Corvette also features active cylinder deactivation at cruising speed, though this feature is only present in the Eco drive mode.

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Jeffrey JablanskyChevrolet has made enormous strides upgrading the look and layout of the Corvette Stingray's cabin. It's not perfect, but it's a huge improvement.

Active modification of the exhaust note is delightful at first, especially when you discover the added gravelly tone above 4000 rpm Track mode introduces a droning hum, however. As a happy middle ground, the Sport driving mode is the best balance of intimidation and not having to carry a bottle of aspirin.

Engineering work to significantly stiffen the Stingray convertible's body structure, without sacrificing ride quality, have turned the Corvette from a wafting ragtop into a true driver's car. This still feels like a fairly large sports car, if only because you sit low and look out over that curvaceous (and long) engine hood.

With a base price starting just under $60,000, the Stingray convertible qualifies as one of the performance bargains of this decade. As is the case with its European competitors' bottom lines, it's very easy to elevate the Stingray's price upwards to $70-grand, or more. Even at that price, the Stingray convertible remains a great value.

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Jeffrey JablanskyWith a starting price of $58,995, the Corvette Stingray has few (if any) rivals that match its performance and aggressive design.

But if it were our money, it's not the Vette we'd choose. We'll take a Stingray coupe, which offers everything the convertible does, while adding more usable cargo space and a slightly lower price-tag. And don't forget, the coupe offers T-top rootlessness whenever you want it.

We'd bet that it'll still put a big smile on all the faces who see it. With our without a top, the latest Corvette Stingray has earned its free coffee and donuts.

Vital Stats: 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible
Base price: $58,995 (includes $995destination charge)
Drivetrain: Rear-wheel drive, 6.2-liter, 460-horsepower V-8, 7-speedmanual or 6-speed automatic transmission
EPA fuel economy: 17 city / 29 highway mpg

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