One-Day Drive

First Drive Review: 2020 Chevrolet Corvette is faster, more comfortable than predecessor

The first review of the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette is in.

Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

It's an icon and a supercar and it's been long-awaited. The eighth generation of this American thoroughbred, dubbed the "C8", has hit the streets for a fortunate few auto testers, however a huge host of passionate enthusiasts will be delighted to hear that the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray will be on sale soon.

This Chevrolet Corvette has been radically reimagined for the 2020 model year with a new mid-engine platform, modernized fighter jet-inspired styling, and a collection of new technologies and features that make it not only faster, but more comfortable and fun to drive. Competitors include the Acura NSX, Audi R8, and Porsche 911.

General Motors' halo car boasts its own museum and will continue to attract its core fan base; many have owned several Corvettes and Chevrolet hopes to lure new performance-minded buyers seeking Corvette's pristine weight distribution and the type of agility typically reserved for six-figure supercars.

2020 Chevrolet Corvette The Corvette's looks are inspired by a fighter jet.Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

It comes in 3 trims; 1LT, 2LT, and 3LT. Savvy Corvette owners are already thinking about Grand Sport and ZR1 versions. A convertible version comes next year.

The newest model is lean, muscular, and athletic with canopy-forward exterior styling that adapts many quintessential Corvette design features. Longer, lower and wider, it wears an updated front end that hides a mini trunk for cargo. Side air intakes for engine cooling are the focal point of the profile, while dual LED taillights sport animated turn signals and sit above the quad tailpipes. The rear hatch glass cleverly showcases the engine.

Corvette's next-generation 6.2-liter V8 is the only naturally-aspirated engine in the mid-engine sports car segment. It produces 495 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque and moves the Stingray Z51 from 0-60 in 2.8 seconds with bigger brakes, an electronic limited-slip differential and performance suspension/traction management. A new eight-speed dual-clutch transmission is backed by paddle shifters and can be motivated for six different driving parameters: weather, tour, sport and track, My Mode, and Z Mode.

2020 Chevrolet Corvette engine The Corvette Stingray is powered by a 6.2-liter V8.Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

The driver-focused upscale interior features a customizable digital instrument panel and slender vertical ventilation slots. Hand-wrapped leather, thick press stitching, real metal, and carbon fiber fill the interior, depending on trim.

There are three seat options, a Corvette-first. Standard are GT1s with eight-way power; GT2 brings heated/ventilated surfaces; Competition and Sport adds bolstering for aggressive motoring.

The 2LT trims get a front curb camera view, heated steering wheel, and available GT2 seats in Napa leather while 3LTs are adorned in a leather-wrapped interior, with 13 colors choices, suede trim and GT2 seats.

A new squared-off, two-spoke steering wheel allows for an unobstructed view of the 12-inch reconfigurable cluster display.

2020 Chevrolet Corvette interior The cabin of the Corvette has been the subject of much consternation.Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

A rear stowage area has been carved out to hold two sets of golf clubs.

Corvette's next-generation infotainment system is faster and simpler, with a higher resolution display. Chevy is offering one-touch Bluetooth pairing with Near Field Communication, wireless charging, and improved real-time traffic. Buyers get a choice of two new Bose audio systems: a standard 10-speaker premium system or a 14-speaker Bose Performance Series (2LTs and 3LTs).

The industry-pioneering Performance Data Recorder is an advanced driving analysis tool upgraded with a high-definition resolution camera that joins with the new, in-vehicle user interface to record circuit and point-to-point road courses.

Standard safety features include anti-lock brakes, stability control, side-impact airbags, and a security system with an ignition disable device that prevents the engine from starting without the original manufacturer key.

The 2020 Chevrolet Corvette will be on sale in early 2020 and will start just under $60,000. Buyers who desire the more heightened-race-feel and engineering of the Z51 Performance Package will need to spend an additional $5,000, while enthusiasts that want added luxury appointments should look at top-end models; 3LTs start near $72,000.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

There are no coincidences in the automotive world, so it was no surprise that I found myself riding shotgun in a 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E electric vehicle prototype in front of SpaceX and Tesla's offices in Los Angeles. Ford's all-electric crossover is their most ambitious electric vehicle project to date. With styling, range, and debut location, they proved that they are targeting Tesla and their customers.

The Mustang Mach-E is, according to Ford, 100-percent Mustang. For those who are used to seeing the Mustang as a sports coupe with rear-wheel drive, an electric crossover with available all-wheel drive bearing the Mustang name might be eyebrow raising.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E The Mustang Mach-E has many exterior design attributes usually reserved for the Mustang coupe.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

That skepticism is one of the many reasons why, during a secret reveal ahead of the global debut, Ford shuttled me around Hawthorne, California in one of the Mustang Mach-E prototypes. The company was out to prove to me that they built a vehicle worthy of the Mustang name.

The model Ford put me in was the Mustang Mach-E Premium all-wheel drive, extended range model. That EV runs to 60 mph from a standstill in a hair over 5 seconds. Because electric motors make torque immediately, the car pushes the driver and passengers relentlessly back in their seat as they make that run. The torque makes the car feel faster than it is.

For folks who want to go faster, the Mustang Mach-E GT Performance trim should do that same run in around 3 seconds. When the GT Performance goes on sale in early 2021 (late 2020 for the other models), the quickest accelerating Mustang you'll be able to buy will likely be electric.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E interior seats cabin The cabin of the new model is spacious.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

On a route around Hawthorne, I was able to experience the car's on-road manners. Even though it was an early prototype, the cabin was quiet. That's in part due to the lack of a motor but also because of the car's three performance modes for the Mach-E – Whisper, Engaged and Unbridled. In Unbridled mode, which is what I experienced, the car allows computer-generated internal combustion engine-like sounds to flow into the cabin when accelerating hard.

Unlike the Jaguar I-Pace's piped-in growl, the Mach-E's sounds natural for a performance car. It doesn't exactly sound like a gasoline-powered car, but it adds a soundtrack to the spirited drive that this author doesn't find obtrusive. In Whisper mode, the car is relatively silent.

Cornering, at least from the passenger seat, felt relatively flat. The low center of gravity of the battery pack helps a ton. Right now, there is no adjustable suspension system, like MagneRide, that is available on other Mustang models.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E infotainment screen steering wheel dashboard Ford has simplified the interior of the car in a very Tesla-esque fashion.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The Mustang Mach-E takes many interior cues from Tesla design though many elements are unmistakably from the Ford team. There is a large, center-mounted screen that handles most of the controls of the infotainment system and vehicle functionality. Interestingly, while the center screen handles most of it, there still is an instrument cluster to provide vitals – something Tesla has done away with.

Display vehicles had gobs of space inside, including numerous of storage cubbies for nearly everything. Fit and finish were solid for vehicles this far along in the process and it felt more Tesla Model 3 inside than Mustang.

The new infotainment system supports routing based on how long you'll sit at a charger and which chargers you need to stop at – basically what a Tesla does. Another first for Ford is support for both wireless Apple Car Play and wireless Android Auto.

Additionally, the Mustang Mach-E has truly hands-off Level 2 semi-autonomous driving. It'll be an over-the-air update after launch for customers, but there are cameras in the car that watch the driver to make sure they are paying attention. If they are, and the roads are digitally mapped, the Mach-E will handle most of the driving duties for the driver. The system is very similar to how Cadillac's Super Cruise technology works and is not hands-off.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E rear seat back sunroof moonroof panoramic vegan leather The rear seats of the Mustang Mach-E offer more legroom than what you'll find in the Jaguar I-Pace.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

It's difficult to determine how good a car is going to be based on a ten-minute ride in the passenger seat. However, it is obvious even after that little time that Ford checked all the right boxes during the development of their new EV. This is likely the first viable mainstream competitor to Tesla, and Tesla should consider themselves put on notice.

In short, the Mustang Mach-E should have performance similar to the Jaguar I-Pace or Tesla Model 3, but with more rear seat headroom than the I-Pace, and better reliability. It looks far more attractive than the Nissan Leaf or anything the Korean automakers are doing, and since it'll be available in all 50 states, you'll be able to purchase and repair it in a town near you, just like what you could do with an F-150.

Chevrolet has started a campaign urging people to sign a Change.org petition showing support for the Suburban to be named "National Vehicle of Texas."

Image courtesy of Chevrolet

In 1986, Texas Monthly declared the Chevrolet Suburban the "National Car of Texas," saying that it was, "the most Texas vehicle there is… It's big, it's strong, it's fun, it doesn't put on airs, but it doesn't keep you from putting on a few." In the time since, the Suburban has undergone many iterations, but still maintains its original focus as being a capable people-hauler.

A new Change.org petition started by Chevrolet seeks to bring attention to the Suburban and gain support to name the vehicle the "National Vehicle of Texas." Why not the State Vehicle of Texas? That designation was given to the chuckwagon in 2005.

"Honestly, the petition is not intended to result in any official proclamations," Monte Doran, Manager, Chevrolet Truck Communications said. "Instead, the petition is a way to celebrate the long-lasting connection between Texans and the Suburban." This year, the Suburban nameplate turns 85 years old.

According to Chevrolet, more Suburbans are sold in Texas than in the lower 25 states combined. Five of the top 10 Suburban dealerships in the country are in Texas.

"Suburbans are a familiar sight in the parking lot of the Argyle Club in San Antonio, which is not surprising since it's hard to drive a block in surrounding Alamo Heights without seeing one," said Doran. "At the end of a school day in North Dallas, Suburbans are lined up outside Hockaday and St. Mark's. On weekday mornings Memorial Drive in Houston is a processional of Suburbans hauling children to private schools."

They're not just for families. "Around the Capitol in Austin, Suburbans are so popular with the influence-peddling crowd that they are known as lobby wagons. A single lobbyist can take as many as eight legislators to lunch, while tinted windows all around … ensure the anonymity of his passengers."

Suburbans translate into life beyond the city and suburbs in Texas. You can find them on boat ramps, on rugged ranch roads, hunting and fishing locations, and camping areas. "Last year when the hunting season opened at the venerable St. Charles Bay hunting club in Rockport, there were 12 vehicles in the parking lot and every one of them was a Suburban," Doran (rightly) bragged.

Every Suburban sold in the world is built in Arlington at Arlington Assembly Plant.

The next-generation of the Suburban will be revealed on December 10 along side the redesigned Chevrolet Tahoe. Both SUVs will be 2021 models.