When one vehicle takes car of the year honors from Motor Trend and a jury of 60 North American automotive journalists, there's little doubt it's something special.
Just look at the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray.
Eagerly awaited even before the mid-engine version of America's sports car was officially announced in April 2019, the redesigned icon is living up to its hype.
“One of the most amazing things about the new Corvette — and there are many amazing things — is that Chevrolet made this super car affordable for the masses,” said Kirk Epps, general manager of Bosak Chevrolet in Burns Harbor. “Too often sports cars like the 'Vette are priced so high that they are only a dream for the average driver. But Chevrolet has broken that ceiling and delivered a super car that starts at less than $60,000.”
Because 50% of Corvette buyers purchase the entry-level model, the base C8 lists at $59,995.
Affordability will attract a younger crowd to the Corvette, according to Epps. “Chevrolet wanted to do more than build a super car. They wanted to build a super car that was actually achievable to car buyers. It’s a racing machine for the masses.”
And super it is.
The engine is a small block V-8 with a dry oil sump version of the C7's LT1 that uses equal-length exhaust runners. It makes 490 horsepower in regular trim, or 495 with the optional active performance exhaust. Torque is 465 lb.-ft. and 470, respectively. Paired with a Tremec eight-speed dual-clutch automatic, the rear-wheel drive Stingray did zero to 60 mph in just 2.8 seconds as measured by Motor Trend during test drives.
The C8 steering is precise and lighter than previous models, with cornering almost as effortless as thinking it. Even adjusting the chassis-mode from Tour to Sport to Track doesn't make steering heavy. Magnetic dampers set to Tour mode provide a luxury sport sedan ride, cushioning impacts from expansion joints, rough pavement, or railroad crossings, according to test drivers.
“Our team will travel to Las Vegas ... to test drive a couple of models,” Epps said. “To say we’re excited is an understatement. We can’t wait to get our hands on this beauty.”
Runner-ups were the Hyundai Sonata and Toyota Supra.
“The Sonata has an amazing coupe style that attracts drivers instantly,” said Jim Logmann, sales manager at Nielsen Hyundai in Michigan City. “Then they discover that the driving platform is all new, and the excitement builds even more.”
The Sonata offers a 1.6-liter, 16-valve DOHC turbo 4 as well as a 2.5-liter, 16-valve DOHC 4. Both are accompanied by an 8-speed transmission described as solid and responsive by test drivers.
“The Hyundai warranty of 5 years/60,000 miles bumper-to-bumper and 10 years/100,000 miles on the powertrain make this car an amazing deal for the price,” Logmann said.
Curt McAllister, Toyota communications manager, is excited that the Supra has returned to the buyers’ market.
“Ever since the original 'The Fast and the Furious' movie (in 2001), the Supra has been a legend,” McAllister said. “With the return of the high-performance car, Toyota has energized the market with an amazing machine.”
Built in Austria, Supra offers a 3-liter turbo inline 6 that makes 335 horsepower and 365 lb.-ft. of torque. Add an 8-speed automatic and rear-wheel drive to do 0-60 in 4.1 seconds with a top speed of 155 mph.