My Car Quest

December 8, 2019

2020 Corvette: Our Design Critic Rates The New Mid-Engine Corvette

by Wallace Wyss –

This design critique of the new 2020 mid-engine Corvette was made from public relations photos released July 18, 2019 by Chevrolet some of which are shown here. This is subject to revision when the author sees the car in person.

The biggest surprise is two body styles–a coupe with a retracting roof, which pulls down the roof to cover the view of the engine, and a convertible, which folds the top under a flush cover but leaves big headrest fairings.

2020 Corvette Design Analysis

2020 Corvette

Here’s the critique view-by-view:

SIDE: Cab is several inches forward. It will take some getting used to for drivers of front engined Corvettes. Big mistake to put the leading edge of the side scoops in a removable piece of plastic. Why? Because it looks cheap. And they made the scoop so wide that to replace the leading edge with a chrome aftermarket piece (which will no doubt be available within weeks…) will look too flashy.

2020 Corvette

2020 Corvette

Maybe with stainless steel, though…it could be carbon fibre–the flavor of the moment in high performance cars, but there’s already so many fake carbon fibre appliques at auto accessory shops that why make it look like it may have been covered with fake material even if it’s real carbon fibre. They show various styles of five spoke wheels. Wheels are tasteful, will not detract from the overall design by being too glitzy all on their own.

FRONT: The sneak shots before the official photos were released show a shiny bar across the front intake holes to the left and right of the min radiator intake. But the factory publicity photos show these are body colored, which emphasizes plasticness of the car. I predict aftermarket will have chrome covers for these bars in weeks. The hood and fenders have too many character lines, the big “vee” and two other lines but I think it only needed one or the other, not both.

2020 Corvette

REAR: The ’60’s styled rear spoiler is one of the biggest mistakes. It looks like a suspension bridge that was poorly engineered and sagged in the middle before it opened for traffic. Maybe they could have just had a ducktail molded into the rear deck. Or a spoiler that rises automatically when you went over a certain mph (as did the Chrysler Crossfire four cylinder version) which was very high tech not to mention James Bond-ish. How could Chrysler be more hi-tech than GM?

2020 Corvette

The rear–what would you call them—hot air exhaust vents (not for the exhaust pipes though) are tastefully not overly large. When they are too large it looks too much like look-at-me-ma-I’m-a-race car. The plastic grille in them looks cheap and this will be another area for after marketers–to come up with a metal grille to replace the plastic.

The exhaust pipes are rectangular with rounded corners, maybe they thought round ones look too old fashioned.

The taillights are disappointing, horizontal units right out of the Camaro reject pile. Why not a single round one per side, like, say, certain Ferraris? Why make an expensive car look like a mass-produced offering from the same brand that’s one third the price? Like building an expensive house but having one view of it dominated by the end of a house trailer.

The dip at the bottom of the rear window is really unfortunate. Since I didn’t see the car in person I can’t see if the area below the glass is porous, to let out hot air from the engine compartment. I would say the vee-shape at the bottom of the rear window looks too overly feminine (can we say that in the Me Too era?) The good news is that you can see the engine (but only when the targa top is still in place in the coupe). The top perimeter line of the coupe fastback window is also compromised by not having a continuous border, instead they break it into sections for a more dramatic look but it all smacks of an Egyptian influence–that same sharp jagged angularity swept the furniture and architecture world in the 1920s (after the discovery of King Tut’s tomb) but has no place on this car.

INTERIOR: Looks upscale. There better be few turns lock-to-lock considering the rectangular steering wheel. The main gauge seen through the steering wheel seems to be a tachometer, with a lot of subsidiary gauges electronically simulated on a screen to the right of the wheel. The contrasting color stitching (“French seams”) is classy.

2020 Corvette

The console looks like an unsurmountable wall between the driver’s seat and passenger seat–there’s no sliding from one sear to another to change drivers. Squeezing a lot of old fashioned manual switchgear into a narrow vertical divider to the right of the console is a surprising and interesting feature, sort of a reaction to the industry trend of late of having everything operated by touch screen, which is fine except for when your screen goes out. They are apparently going to have optional suede upholstery or a material that look like suede.

IN SUM: Good for a first try at a production mid-engined Corvette. Not great, and conservative really compared to the much more expensive Italian (and British) mid-engine exotics already out there. It breaks no new ground whatsoever. But thank our lucky stars they went for two versions of open car again, a targa roof and a soft top convertible. A fixed head coupe would have been a waste of time and money.

2020 Corvette

So I predict this is just the beginning for the 2020 Corvette. Various entrepreneurs will offer different body trim that will improve the areas where Chevrolet fell short. After these aftermarket-improved cars appear, there will be precious little separating the 2020 Corvettes from V8-powered mid-engined Ferraris, Lamborghinis and McLarens except the foreign exotics will be three to four times as much, and have a hard time justifying that vast price difference (base price of the Corvette is $60,000).

To compare just one price by the way, Ferrari’s 488 Spider will be replaced when the new F8 Tributo Spider is announced, but for now the 488 Spyder is Ferrari’s V8-powered mid-engined spyder, retailing at $280,900).

2020 Corvette

One problem though–finding a used stock 2020 Corvette will be rare, as owners vie with each other on who has the latest add-on. In the foreign exotic car world there’s few owners who want to “sully” their car with add-ons, but the Corvette crowd has always done that. Not exactly purists, they.

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Wallace Wyss

 
 
 
 
THE AUTHOR: Wallace Wyss has owned a mid-engine Ferrari, and authored 18 car books, including three on Ferrari and three on Corvettes. Prints of his paintings of the 2020 Corvette will be available at his Art and Books booth at the Concorso Italiano in August.

 
 

 

 

corvette logo

Summary
2020 Corvette: Our Design Critic Rates The New Mid-Engine Corvette
Article Name
2020 Corvette: Our Design Critic Rates The New Mid-Engine Corvette
Description
Finally after years of anticipation the mid-engine Chevrolet Corvette is here!
Author

Comments

  1. Wayne Watkins says

    It is the first Corvette ever to be manufactured in RHD , However in Australia it will be double your price , making it double the price of a Ford Mustang here . Still a clever car , but as you said a little over the top in the styling department and from what I hear , no manual transmission for the weekend Hertz boy racers .

  2. Robb Northrup says

    Couldn’t agree more with Wallace’s assessment. The overall design looks as if kids designed it! It does not have the emotional appeal (“hits you in the stomach”) of the original Stingray. Nor is it as clean. I bet Zora and Mitchell are turning in their graves…

    Why didn’t they just hire someone like Giugiaro to style it?

  3. SKIP HINOJOS says

    THE BEST, HIGH PERFORMANCE, SPORTS CAR, FOR THE MONEY, EVER DEVELOPED, FOR SALE TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC. WHY DID YOU NOT SHOW REAL PICTURES OF IT, RATHER THAN ARTIST RENDERINGS?

  4. wallace wyss says

    The lighting was bad–an old WWII blimp hanger.

  5. Robb Northrup says

    To Skip:

    Chevy and Corvette owners have been using that “best high performance sports car for the money” line for over five decades. Yes, that is true. But the fact that it is a Chevrolet and built as a Chevrolet means that there is an overall cheap feeling to the car — when compared to, say, a Porsche Boxster — that one walks away from the car feeling that it has missed the mark. Car and Driver mentioned something to that effect over 50 years ago when they test drove an E Type Jag and compared it to a Vette. Jeremy Clarkson said nearly the same thing when he tested a Z01 for Top Gear TV. The old straight axle cars had charm and quality and were good performers. The cheap feeling began with the Stingray Mid Year cars and hasn’t gone away. GM can build a quality car when it wants to (Cadillac), but a Corvette will always feel like a Chevy until GM makes it a separate marque. Imagine what that could do for the brand…

    • Benjamin d Lampson says

      @ Robb…. Do you really believe that a Porsche Boxster and a Cadillac are well built and are nice cars?
      Have you rode in or driven them? have you worked on them? have you seen their resale value?
      The Boxster to Porsche is like the Pinto to Ford, and any Cadillac post 1976 is junk, except the LSX V cars!

      This new mid-engined Corvette will have the European exotics re-thinking their outrageous sticker prices!

  6. wallace wyss says

    Ferrari can’t justify their over $200,000 price for a 488 Pista spyder when you consider it doesn’t cost them that much more to make than Chevy will be spending to make each 2020 Corvette. And my making more–say, 50,000 a year–the manufacturing cost per Corvette will drop, So it’s a little bit like that Dorothy moment in the Wizard of Oz when the little gal gets up close and sees the wizard is just a little man with a big microphone…their cover has been blown.

Speak Your Mind

*