2010 Chevrolet Corvette
Environmentalists have succeeded in categorizing C02 as a harmful greenhouse gas. While some believe that the argument over C02's effect is completely understood, legitimate scientists counter the negatives may not exist at all. Regardless of whatever the truth may turn out to be, C02 is a byproduct of combusting carbon-based fuels, and to meet future emissions regulations, vehicles must burn less fuel. On this, math is math and everyone agrees.
Currently, the 2010 Chevrolet Corvette takes a decidedly Detroit approach to fuel efficiency. Its powertrain formula matches a large displacement, high torque engine to a drivetrain that features tall gearing. Packaged in an aerodynamic body with a chassis that features minimized rolling resistance, the big engine barely needs to rev above an idle to motor the Corvette down the road.
The stock 430-horsepower LS3 generates 424-lb-ft of torque at 4600 rpm, but more than 300 lb-ft is available at 1000 rpm. This would be the definition of low-end grunt. Transmission gearing for 5th and 6th gears is 0.71 and 0.50:1, which translates to a 70 mph cruise with the engine barely turning 1500 rpm for cars equipped with a six-speed manual gearbox and the standard 3.24:1 final drive ratio. Given room to run in 5th gear, thusly equipped, the base Corvette can achieve 190 mph.
With an aerodynamic Cd of just 0.286, the Corvette officially achieves 26 mpg on the EPA highway cycle. Unofficially, the web and some respectable media outlets are full of anecdotal evidence of Gen 6.5 Corvettes averaging over 31 mpg at highway speeds.
The Corvette's approach to efficiency yields huge benefits on the performance side of the equation. The same features that benefit fuel economy are plusses on the performance side of the ledger. When the big 6.2-liter overhead valve V-8 wakes up from its idle, its 424 lb-ft of torque generates serious hustle. Given a grippy launch surface and feet like Fred Astaire, one hits sixty mph in just 4.2 seconds. Mileage for that sprint will, however, be less than the Corvette's city rating of 16 mpg.
Greenies and bureaucrats choose to only recognize the Corvette's more aggressive side, while ignoring its efficiency. This makes America's sports car a favorite object of ire. If these groups only knew how efficient the 2010 Chevrolet Corvette was, perhaps they'd pick on somebody else and show Detroit a little love.