Premium sporty/performance car; Built in USA
  • 2-door convertible
  • 2-door coupe
  • 2-door hatchback
  • longitudinal front-engine/rear-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $9,500 – $20,000*


1997 Chevrolet Corvette hatchback


1998 Chevrolet Corvette convertible


1999 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe


2000 Chevrolet Corvette coupe


2000 Chevrolet Corvette hatchback

Pros:
  • Acceleration
  • Standard antilock braking
  • Standard traction control
  • Instruments/controls
  • Steering/handling
Cons:
  • Fuel economy
  • Rear visibility
  • Ride (Continuously Variable Real Time Damping Suspension)

Big, bold, and brawny. That’s the kind of high-performance driving you get from a Corvette. If that sounds appealing, there’s no better all-around performance value, whether new or used. On the downside, some of the trim isn’t really finished with sufficient richness for a car in the Corvette’s price league.

Overview

Corvette fans had been waiting a long while for an all-new model. When it arrived during 1996, the fifth-generation rear-drive sports car delighted some enthusiasts but dissatisfied others. Arriving on the market in January 1997, the latest Corvette was practically a different breed of sports car. Again fiberglass-bodied, the 2-seater was 1.2 inches longer than its predecessor, on a wheelbase that gained a whopping 8.3 inches. The transmission moved from behind the engine to the rear axle. That change was intended to create a more even front/rear balance, and also to improve interior packaging. A removable roof panel was standard on the new hatchback coupe. Analog gauges replaced the prior mix of digital and analog instruments. No spare tire was included, due mainly to lack of space. That wasn’t exactly a drawback, since the standard tires could run for up to 200 miles with no air pressure at all. A 5.7-liter LS1 aluminum V8 engine produced 345 horsepower. A 4-speed automatic transmission was standard, with 6-speed manual shift the optional choice. Traction control was standard. Corvettes were in short supply for a while. At first, only high-volume Corvette dealers got cars at all.

Yearly Updates

1998 Corvette
Big news for Corvette fans was the arrival of a convertible to join the initial fifth-generation coupe. Chevrolet’s designers had engineered the latest Corvette to accommodate a convertible body with no additional structural bracing. Convertibles were expected to account for about 45 percent of sales. They were equipped with a manual folding top, containing a glass rear window and defroster. Not since 1962 had a convertible Corvette been sold with a traditional trunk. Magnesium wheels joined the option list, and the engine was revised to quiet the fuel pump. This year’s Corvette also got a provision for the automatic transmission to start in second gear, for cleaner getaways on slippery surfaces.
1999 Corvette
A new hardtop body style joined the removable-roof coupe and the convertible. Not available with some of the new options, the hardtop weighed about 90 pounds less than its mates and shared the convertible’s trunk. Hardtops came only with 6-speed manual shift and the sport-tuned Z51 suspension. Other models could have the standard suspension or an optional driver-adjustable setup with soft, medium, and firm settings. Among the options unavailable on the hardtop were a head-up display that projected instrument-panel readouts into the windshield, and a power-telescoping steering wheel. All models could have an optional Active Handling chassis control, which used the brakes to keep the car on line during severe cornering maneuvers.
2000 Corvette
The base-model fixed-roof hardtop gained some standard equipment for 2000, including visor mirrors and a remote trunk release. Hardtops could now be equipped with the optional head-up instrument display, as well as dual-zone climate control, fog lamps, and magnesium wheels.
2001 Corvette
Corvette gained an extreme-performance variant for 2001, and all models got standard antiskid control. The coupe was renamed Z06 and given special performance tuning including additional horsepower, upgraded suspension, and larger brakes.
2002 Corvette
The Z06 model got 405 horsepower for 2002–up 20 hp from ’01. It now came with the head-up instrument display that was optional on other ‘Vettes, plus revisions to its unique chassis tuning. Other models were no longer available with magnesium wheels, and a CD player replaced the cassette deck as standard equipment.
2003 Corvette
All ’03 Corvettes wear 50th anniversary insignia. The convertible and hatchback offered a 50th Anniversary Special Edition Package (1SC) with red paint, champagne-colored wheels, and unique trim and badging. Available for the convertible and hatchback and included in the Anniversary package was new Magnetic Selective Ride Control.
2004 Corvette
Trim packages commemorating racing Corvette’s are the main additions to the ’04 Corvette.

Engines

longitudinal front-engine/rear-wheel drive

Constructed largely of aluminum, the Corvette’s 5.7-liter V8 engine originally produced 345 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque. Either a 6-speed manual transmission or 4-speed automatic might be installed. In 2001, the same engine gained in horsepower and torque. All models have traction control. The 2002 Z06 gained 20 horsepower, bringing it up to 405.

ohv V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 5.7/346
Engine HP 345-350
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 350-375
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed manual
4-speed automatic
18/28
17/25
16.5
ohv V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 5.7/346
Engine HP 385-405
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 400
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed manual

19/28

19.0

Road Test

Simply put, the “C5” Corvette is one of the world’s fastest cars. While most late-model ‘Vettes accelerate to 60 miles per hour in a fierce 4.7 seconds, the powerful Z06 model introduced in 2001 is said to make it to 60 in just 3.9 seconds. Gas mileage is about as expected for a performance machine. We’ve averaged 16.5 mpg with an automatic-transmission coupe, and 16.4 in an automatic convertible.

Steering and smooth-road handling are race-car sharp. Unlike some prior models, however, the tail is now less likely to skitter sideways when encountering bumps during a turn. It can still tail-hop in bumpy corners, however. A stiffened chassis allowed engineers to fit softer springs to this Corvette, so ride quality is good enough to qualify it as everyday transportation. Three suspensions have been available, and we recommend the base setup as best all-around choice, furnishing a firm but not punishing ride. The Z51 suspension is harsh for everyday driving. Chevrolet’s Continuously Variable Real Time Damping option tends to feel either too soft or too rigid.

Corvettes are not quiet. You can expect a booming exhaust note, plenty of engine roar during hard acceleration, plus copious tire noise. Because of its inner-lined soft top, at least the convertible is hardly noisier overall than the coupe.

Entering an earlier Corvette could be difficult, due to their tall door-frame sills. Those are gone in this generation. So, getting in and out is about as easy as with certain less-racy sport coupes–though it’s still essentially a crouch-and-crawl proposition. Space is generous for two adults. Instruments and controls are sensibly designed and conveniently located. The convertible’s soft roof folds neatly beneath a hard tonneau, which flows into an intriguing body-colored panel between the seats.

Thick roof pillars impair visibility to all corners, but a low cowl creates a clear field of vision straight ahead. Both bodies have sufficient cargo room to hold two sets of golf clubs. Cockpit storage is limited to a tiny glovebox and a minuscule center console compartment. Test Corvettes have had solid structures, but detail flaws have turned up repeatedly even when the cars were close to new.

Ratings

Model Tested: 2002 Chevrolet Corvette base convertible, automatic

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 9
90%
Fuel Economy - 5
50%
Ride Quality - 3
30%
Steering/Handling - 9
90%
Quietness - 4
40%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 6
60%
Room/Comfort Front - 5
50%
Room/Comfort Rear - 0
00%
Cargo Room - 6
60%

Other

Value - 4
40%

Total: 51

Specifications

2-door convertible
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
104.5 179.7 73.6 47.7
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
13.9 19.1 2
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
37.6 42.8
2-door coupe
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
104.5 179.7 73.6 47.7
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
24.8 19.1 2
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
37.8 42.7
2-door hatchback
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
104.5 179.7 73.6 47.7
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
24.8 18.5 2.0
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
37.9 42.7
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1999 Corvette 2-door convertible

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Front Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision 163
Injury 55
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Climate control
Description: The rear defroster fails because the Velcro that holds the wires in place does not hold. (1998)
Dashboard lights
Description: If the steel belts of replacement tires extend into the sidewall the tire-inflation monitoring system could become inoperative. (1997-01)
Doors
Description: The audible key reminder continues to sound after the key is removed from the ignition accompanied by power door locks not working due to a problem in the lock cylinder. (1997-99)
Engine knock
Description: Engine knock and/or check-engine light could be cause by corrosion on the rear knock sensor. (1998-02)
Engine noise
Description: The serpentine belt is noisy due to a problem with the idler pulley and/or the belt tensioner. (1997-99)
Water leak
Description: Water leaks from above the door windows. (1997-98 coupe, 1998 convertible)
Paint/body
Description: On white cars, the door handles turn yellow from the lock-cylinder grease staining them. The company will replace the cylinders under warranty and there is a colorless grease available for service. (1997-99)
Accessory belt
Description: The dust shield for the serpentine belt bends easily. If bent it could cause belt squeal. (1997-99)

Recall History

1997
Description: Torn fuel-tank seal can cause fuel odor and/or leakage.
1997
Description: Seatbelt’s energy-management loop is inadequate.
1997-04
Description: Due to a manufacturing error, vehicles may be able to be driven when the steering wheel is locked, resulting in dangerous driving conditions. Dealers will inspect and replace affected parts.
1997-2000
Description: Lap-belt webbing can twist, allowing webbing to become jammed in retractor.
2004
Description: Washers for ball stud assemblies on lower control arm of some cars could fracture and loosen; separation of control arm from its knuckle will cause a corner of the vehicle to drop, and control arm may contact the wheel, resulting in dragging action and unwanted tendency to turn.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.