Car Review: 2019 Chevrolet Grand Sport a real performance car that’s on sale ahead of the new 2020 Corvette
September 3, 2019, 4:22 AM
The end is near for the front engine Corvette and that means a performance bargain if you act fast.
Corvette has been fighting above its price class for years as a serious sports car that can humble other more expensive cars at tracks around the world.
The Corvette has always been a front engine and rear wheel drive.
In 2020, the biggest change happens when the Vette goes mid-engine and at a much lower price than the exotics.
Since 2019 is the end of the front engine Vette, I decided it was a good time to accept a Corvette Grand Sport for a week.
This is the pinnacle of the normally aspirated Corvette with all the go-fast goodies of the pricey, supercharged ZO6, but with just 460hp.
I know I just said 460hp like it’s not much. To most drivers, it’s plenty, even though it’s about 190hp less than the ZO6 Vette.
I have to say I didn’t miss the extra grunt. The LT1 small block V8 packs a punch and its sounds mean at full throttle.
While the Grand Sport is pretty quick, its handling is even more impressive.
You can only really exploit its limits safely on a racetrack. Back roads and sharp turns are handled with ease.
The optional $1,995 paddle- shift automatic was a bit slow to respond at times when using the paddle. I usually let the auto do its thing; a bit of a letdown, honestly.
I would look for a manual transmission if I were buying.
The grip is something else and those huge summer tires help out. It doesn’t hurt that each rear tire is about 13 inches wide.
Along with wide performance tires are huge brakes which haul down this Corvette with authority.
While the performance is truly impressive, the Grand Sport can also play nice and turn into a docile cruiser.
Much of the credit goes to the Magnetic Ride Control that allows you to go from comfort to a more firm track setting with a turn of a knob.
The Corvette Grand Sport is still an eye catcher even after several of this body style.
The look is low and wide with extra wide fenders able to house those massive tires.
That aggressive body is also borrowed from the supercharged ZO6 and there are some cool aerodynamic tricks along with extra cooling for the engine and brakes.
Those are mostly on the lower portions of the car and they look trick but make the Corvette even lower to the ground.
Ground clearance can be a concern.
That lower front spoiler needs some extra caution on speed bumps and curbs.
There is heavy use of Carbon Fiber on the Grand Sport like the removable roof; while large you can remove and install with just one person. Even the hood is made of Carbon Fiber which keeps some weight off the front of the car.
There is even a cool-looking rear spoiler that seems to fit the Grand Sport perfectly. The Shadow Gray Metallic downplays the racy shape of the Vette a bit.
Inside the Corvette Grand Sport is mostly a businesslike cockpit.
There are three trim levels for the Grand Sport. I drove the 1LT or lowest trim level.
It stickers for less than $69,000 but prices are much lower than sticker as dealers look to sell 2019 models.
The heated leather seats kept me in place on twisty roads just fine. But if you are going to hit the track, I would spend the extra money for the sport bucket seats that are built for the high G forces this car can produce at speed.
You sit pretty low in the Corvette and the Grand Sport has those larger fenders so vision is slightly compromised for shorter drivers.
There is a surprising amount of space for a two people but you have to get used to stepping down to get in, especially if your other ride is a truck or SUV. Cargo space is also a plus in the Corvette.
The removable roof minimizes the space when you store the roof in the cargo area though. The Grand Sport 1LT trim level is a bit basic inside for some buyers.
The materials used in the cabin aren’t as high quality as you get on higher trim levels.
Some of the switch gear looks and feels a bit dated. No complaints about the simple to use 8 inch touch screen, NAV is by OnStar or you can use your phone via Android Auto or Apple CarPlay.
All good things must come to an end and the front engine Corvette’s time is nearly complete.
While the 2020 Corvette is going to grab all the headlines, the outgoing 2019 Corvette Grand Sport is the high performance bargain of the year.
Mike Parris is a member of the Washington Automotive Press Association. The vehicles are provided by DriveShop, FMI, NAVS DC or Motus One for the purpose of this review.
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