I Traded My Saturn Sky for a C7 Corvette Because Small-Block Chevy
The Corvette is a happy car, and I could use a hell of a lot more of that these days.
As you may already know, I used to have a 2008 Saturn Sky Redline, a weird roadster that I loved for many reasons, most of them which I shared with you over the course of several blogs (and some rants, too). With a few modifications, the Sky was a truly fast convertible that most passersby enjoyed seeing, even if they often didn't know what it was and were too shy to ask. It was fun being the guy with the semi-sleeper Saturn, but I decided to double my cylinder count. I just swapped it for a Lime Rock Green 2014 Chevrolet Corvette C7. A couple weeks in, I'm never looking back.
The C7 is a performance bargain, that much is true. When it went into production in 2013, the Corvette name was still victim to jokes about New Balance shoes and cargo shorts. That soon started to change, in part because the C7 was just a really, really excellent car. The Corvette had found a new groove, and over the course of its seventh generation, it became a flag-bearer for American performance. When its run ended in 2019, not only had it earned the love and affection of many enthusiasts, but it had cleared a path for the incoming C8. GM itself has said so—the switch to a mid-engine powertrain was a long-awaited dream for many, but it also came about because the company pretty much maxed out the capabilities of a front engine-rear drive Corvette with the C7. Despite being eight years old, it still feels modern and on the same level with today's sports cars.
The journey began a while back when I set out to find a C6 Z06 in good shape, but to be honest, the C6 interior is on par with the Sky's (they were made at the same time after all). As much as I wanted an LS7—still do—I was willing to sacrifice some horsepower to get a newer, more reliable car with a better-looking cabin. That's when I began considering the next generation instead.
You might be wondering if something was wrong with the Sky. No. My biggest issue with it was that I don't commute on a regular basis, and the car simply wasn't a cruiser. When I drive, it's typically for several hours at a time, so I really needed something that was better at longer distances, something bigger and more comfortable. Once I started looking at C7s, I quickly fixated on an ideal spec—Lime Rock Green exterior with the Kalahari tan/brown interior and Z51 package—and after a couple months of searching, that's exactly what I ended up buying from a dealer in New York in June, trading in the Sky in the process. If you're curious, that kind of resolution is really satisfying for your brain but really unsatisfying for your wallet.
My C7 has a 460 hp, 6.2-liter dry-sump V8 and a seven-speed manual transmission that together have seen under 20,000 miles of road. It's a 3LT so it has the nice leather-wrapped dash, though it is slowly shrinking and destroying itself like many other 3LT C7s, but that's ok. Even with its faults, it's pretty much exactly what I wanted. The only things I didn't want were the chrome wheels, but I'll live with them for now.
If you want an exhaustive review of the C7, that'll come at a later time. For now, the gist is this thing is exactly what I needed. It's quick and fast, it's smooth, it's got loads of room. I've found it's also an effective cure to doom-scrolling on social media—that's how good it is.
Even just leaning into the throttle is grin-inducing. The cohesive feeling you get from the drivetrain is something that was missing from my Sky. At 75 mph, it rides at just a tad over 1,500 rpm in seventh gear. The Corvette was built for cruising, and cruising comfortably. I've even seen highway fuel economy as good as 33 mpg with minimal effort. That's a figure a lot of cars struggle with nowadays, but the C7 does it with little trouble despite packing eight cylinders and 460 horses.
The same can be said for the handling. At high speed, the stability this car displays is just amazing. The sort of maneuver that I would've reconsidered doing in other cars—newer cars—is absolutely no problem for it. Just the same, though, at low speeds and in tight corners it feels like it might still bite me. How it can strike a balance like that, I don't know.
Every vehicle has its trade-offs, though, but I don't think many strike a balance like the C7 does, not even the C8. There's plenty of cargo space, it's quiet when it needs to be, and it has magnetic shocks so its ride is precisely adjustable. It's just so nice. The C7's biggest issue is that you can only share its greatness with one other person because it only has two seats.
This C7 was around $75,000 out the door when new in 2014, but I paid far less for it. And I feel like that's what Corvette is all about. Every Corvette ever sold is a worthy car, and nobody is unworthy of owning one. It will always be an all-American steal, and I'm thankful for the opportunity to own one.
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