2021 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible Review: The Friendly Supercar

Kyle Patrick
by Kyle Patrick


Engine: 6.2L V8
Output: 495 hp, 470 lb-ft
Transmission: 8DCT, RWD
US fuel economy (MPG): 15/27/19
CAN fuel economy (L/100KM): 13.5/9.1/11.5
Starting Price (USD): $68,495 (inc. dest.)
As-Tested Price (USD): $94,325 (inc. dest.)
Starting Price (CAD): $80,398 (inc. dest.)
As-Tested Price (CAD): $113,363 (inc. dest.)

Accelerate Yellow is the exact right color for the 2021 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray convertible.

I wasn’t sure of it at first. I prefer a hue with more orange in the mix, not the hint of green here. The mid-engined ‘Vette is already a busy, eye-catching shape, so this tester’s almost fluorescent paint just demands even more attention.

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But that’s the point. If the story of the modern car is playing out on these city streets, then the Stingray is the highlighted passage you can’t miss. The C8 has bona fide supercar presence now, an exotic mid-ship experience at a (comparatively) affordable price. It’s even better in convertible form too, providing all that stunning performance with an extra helping of vitamin D.

What’s new?

Not the idea of a ‘Vette ‘vertible, that’s for sure—it started as a drop-top way back in 1953, after all. The move to a mid-engined layout has brought with it some changes to the roof setup, though. For starters, the lid is now of the folding hardtop variety. In many ways, this is good: it doesn’t impinge on rear trunk space, and top-up refinement is practically identical to the coupe. Drop the top on the move (anywhere up to 30 mph / 50 km/h) and it provides some stunning moving metal theatrics. And you thought people were already staring a lot?

The C8 convertible enters its second year of production largely unchanged from 2020. Chevrolet might’ve stuck the engine in a different spot for the first time in almost 70 years, but it still remains an iconic small-block V8. The beating heart of the Stingray pumps out 490 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque as standard. Check the Z51 performance box and those numbers grow to 495 hp and 470 lb-ft.

I won’t dwell on the styling much. It’s subjective, and after nearly two years to get used to the shape, most of us have made up our minds. The results of the styling are worth discussing, though. The nose drops away from the driver, giving them a high-def view ahead. It’s easy to point the C8 where you want, but there’s always the feeling of a lot of very wide bodywork directly behind you. In profile it’s clear, with the stretched tail required for the V8 and the golf-bag-swallowing rear trunk.

SEE ALSO: 2021 Ford Mustang GT Convertible California Special Review: Cloudy with a Chance of (V8) Thunder

From behind the wheel, rear visibility is a bit of a nightmare. The rearview mirror is filled with the slightly tented rear deck, done to clear the space for the folding roof. This also turns the space just aft of the rear glass into the world’s most exclusive tiny swimming pool during rain or a car wash. A glance over the shoulder reveals only the contrast-painted nacelles, big enough to completely obscure a car in the next lane. Thank goodness for the blind-spot detection, rear-cross traffic alert, and federally mandated rearview camera, then.

Mission control

If you think the Corvette’s exterior is dramatic, try being a passenger in the C8. You’ll feel lucky—but also isolated.

The bank of climate controls runs so high to the dash, and is angled in such a way, that the passenger won’t much want to fiddle with anything. Good luck if they want to handle navigation duties either, since the 8.0-inch touchscreen is also canted towards the driver. The base of the windshield seems like its own zip code too, with the huge stretch of dashboard ahead reminding you that, while the C8 is pretty big these days, there isn’t an abundance of space for actual humans. Even the wireless charging pad, located behind and between the seats, is surprisingly tight—and my phone case is very low profile.

The GT2 seats are great, striking a fine balance between comfort and corner-friendly bolstering. Plus, the hip point is practically skimming the pavement, which translates to helmet-friendly amounts of head space.

From the business side of the cockpit, the C8 pegs the sense-of-occasion-meter. The cliff of climate controls means only the important functions fall where the driver’s right hand normally does: the push-button shifter, and the drive mode select. There’s smooth leather and suede nearly everywhere, and those areas that don’t use either, use soft-touch plastics. Interior quality has long been the Corvette’s Achilles’ heel, but the C8 needs no qualifiers, nor excuses. It’s a very good place to be.

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The Chevy infotainment system works as well here as it does in everything else. It’s quick and customizable, with wireless Apple and Android mirroring, satellite radio, and a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot. More impressive is the slick 12.0-inch digital instrument cluster. It provides information on everything you could possibly want, and the entire layout changes depending on driving mode. A head-up display bolsters the available info further.

Sharp looks hide a big softie

The C8’s spec sheet reads like a modern-day Ferrari F430—only quicker. It looks at least as exotic. So I approach the Stingray with some trepidation, expecting a nervous, edgy supercar.

Those worries disappear before I’m out of the parking lot. The squircle steering wheel has a good amount of weight in the regular mode, building confidence early. Throttle response is deliciously linear, and the big V8 is tractable from anywhere in the rev range.

Is it lazy to suggest the optional Magnetic Ride Control magnetorheological shocks provide a magic carpet ride? Maybe, but I can’t ignore how close MRC and MCR are. The point is, in regular Tour driving mode, the C8 is as smooth and cosseting as your average sport sedan. It glides over broken pavement with more road noise, sure, but the Stingray remains composed. An optional nose lift function ($1,995 / $2,495 CAD) also includes a memory function. With the top down and windows up, conversations are possible right up to highway speeds. The Corvette is still a consummate cruiser.

Peel off onto a more challenging road, switch over to Sport mode, and the C8 continues to impress. What felt like a large car at first now shrinks around you, and the grip from the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S rubber seems endless. The balance has clearly shifted to a more neutral stance, too. On this road, getting greedy with the throttle in a C7 would have it getting sideways quicker than you could say “New Balances and jorts.” In the C8, it just grips and goes, the electronic limited-slip differential ensuring every bit of power translates to forward motion. Lift off the throttle mid-corner and the nose tucks in smartly. Need to shed more speed? The brakes are always up to the task, with a firm pedal and plenty of bite.

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Chevrolet’s eight-speed dual-clutch transmission (DCT) deserves praise, too. Some will bemoan the move to auto-only, but this is one of the best in the business. Left to its own devices, the C8 always picked the right gear for the task at hand. Low speed jerkiness was notable by its absence. In manual mode, the paddle shifters click home gear changes almost instantly—the change in exhaust note is the biggest clue a swap happened at all. Speaking of, while the V8 roar is great in the mid-range and above, a little more wouldn’t go amiss at lower engine speeds. It’s almost too reserved.

Do I miss a manual? Honestly, not really. Like the Porsche 911 Turbo S I drove recently, I don’t think three pedals would improve the experience. The Stingray is friendly and indulgent, allowing drivers to easily access its vast performance reserves while keeping them firmly in control.

Keeping a light foot on the highway saw the Corvette post numbers as good as 28 mpg (8.4 L/100 km). Officially, the numbers are 15 mpg city, 27 mpg highway, and 19 mpg combined. Canadian numbers are 8.7, 15.4, and 12.4 L/100 km, respectively.

Who’s the competition?

From a value perspective, nothing. The Corvette is still the bang-for-buck champ, even when loaded up to the as-tested $94,325 ($113,363 CAD) price of this yellow example. For that kind of cash, buyers will get just about everything, including the appealing Z51 performance package, trick magnetic ride control, upgraded interior trim, high-end Bose audio system, heated and ventilated seats, and more.

The much-ballyhooed $60,995 starter price ($71,498 CAD) puts the C8 coupe just north of the top Toyota Supra, another model that has its fair share of traditionalist fans and detractors alike.

SEE ALSO: 2020 Porsche 718 Spyder Review: …and Nothing Else Matters

Of course, there’s Porsche. The 911 has long been the European equivalent to the Corvette—giant-killer status, everyday usability—but it’s now the 718 Cayman and Boxster that align more closely with the Chevy’s ethos. The new GTS 4.0 models are the most similar in spirit, with their big, naturally-aspirated motor mounted in the middle. They’re still down on power though, but the Porsches maintain the option of a genuine row-your-own manual transmission.

Taking cost out of the equation, the C8 aligns closely with the likes of the Acura NSX and Audi R8. It no longer feels unfair to pit America’s sweetheart agains them, or others for that matter.

Verdict: 2021 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible Review

The 2021 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray lives up to the hype. Evolution was necessary, and the switch to a mid-engined setup has unlocked a level of performance simply not possible before. Over a year out from its launch, the C8’s capabilities are still barely believable, especially when one considers this is just the beginning.

Admittedly, the layout has brought with it some of the less satisfying aspects of supercar ownership. The Stingray is as hard to see out of as you’d expect any exotic to be, and at least around the city, it’s about as thirsty, too.

But something that looks so wild has no business being so friendly. Instead of a spiky, intimidating experience, the Stingray is one of the easiest 495-horsepower drives you could have. Crucially, it remains engaging, a thrilling drive whenever the situation allows. In convertible form, the C8 offers all that and the added open-air experience, with no real impact on its usefulness or performance. It’s a genuine American supercar—especially in highlighter yellow.

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  • Epic performance, friendly demeanor
  • Convertible doesn't compromise anything
  • Everyone wants to be your friend


  • Everyone wants to be your friend
  • Rear visibility is hilariously bad
  • Passengers will feel very isolated
Kyle Patrick
Kyle Patrick

Kyle began his automotive obsession before he even started school, courtesy of a remote control Porsche and various LEGO sets. He later studied advertising and graphic design at Humber College, which led him to writing about cars (both real and digital). He is now a proud member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), where he was the Journalist of the Year runner-up for 2021.

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