Roadshow Video Reviews
2009 Chevrolet Corvette ConvertibleNot a major tech ride, but that's OK--style and speed make up for it.
>> This is why you want to live in California. Now, the car is part of it, but today is January 29 and it's actually too warm for this jacket -- just right for this drop top. It's the Corvette Convertible. Let's take it out, check the tech and enjoy the weather. ^M00:00:15 [ Music ] ^M00:00:24 >> Now the Corvette is not all about being a rolling electronics store, its' a muscle machine, but we're getting better-evolved tech in these cars than we saw a couple of years ago. This head unit is upgraded. It's Bose Audio as you probably noticed by the logos on the speakers. There are 7 speakers around the cabin -- one of those of course is a thumping sub. The display is simple, but very crisp, but I got to say it's pretty readable in all conditions. That's important in a convertible because you get a lot of sun lights splashed here. Overall input sources are AM, FM, XM -- no HD radio, no iPod, no Bluetooth streaming, you do have an aux jack, of course 6 disc CD player. If you do put the optional touch screen navigation system here, that 6 disc becomes a single slotter, so things begin to get a little crammed at that point. All but the base trim of the Corvette Convertible does have Bluetooth hands-free. So a lot of things are duplicated. You can do Bluetooth hands-free or use the OnStar calling. You could get navigation as I mentioned in this car or call OnStar for turn-by-turn directions. That's a GM thing. Our car, unfortunately has the automatic transmission. Not a bad one. It's got a sport mode in the very back. When you are in that position, you can use the paddles up here as well. Back for a down shift, thumb forward for an up shift and you've also got a knob right by it, which is for the selective ride, the magnetic ride control we have in this vehicle. Over on the left is touring, a little more soft and compliant; over on the right sport, a little more taut. ^M00:01:55 [ Music ] ^M00:01:56 >> All the convertible Vettes have a 6.2-liter V8 doing 425 horsepower and about the same torque number, while somehow avoiding a gas guzzler tax. 16/26 is the mpg, well clear of cringe inducing, certainly for a high powered sports car. The standard 6-speed manual would have been fun, but this is a pretty darn nice-tractable automatic. Check out the mechanism for the dual-mode exhaust. You can see the little whirly gigs down there opening up a freer flow path upon heavy acceleration. You can hear the payoff. ^M00:02:30 [ Car running ] ^M00:02:32 >> Aside from that great noise, it kicks off the horsepower and torque numbers a little bit. The ride quality is either firm or firmer. But it's nowhere near say, the Nissan GTR's level of un-livability in every day use. Of course half the fun of this car is that the top goes down, which eradicates one of my gripes about Corvette Coupes, namely that they make me feel like a goner in a pillbox. And when this top is down, you still have a separate trunk that is just about big enough for a crafty weekend's worth of gear for you and whomever. The upper trim level convertibles have a head up display. Its graphics are primitive compared to BMW's, but speed, RPM, lateral G's and a few other data points are right there. A Vette Convertible in LT4 Trim is about 62 grand including Bluetooth, head up display, XM, OnStar, Bose. Nav is another 1800. That dual mode exhaust is 1200 more, ditto the automatic transmission, magnetic ride control adds another 2 grand. So you're pushing 70,000 done CNET-style, but on a nice California afternoon, probably worth it. ^M00:03:46 [ Music ]