2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1

This is what I have always wanted: a Corvette that stands up to the best Europe can provide. Except that it doesn't. The quality is not there - the loose, clacking accelerator pedal with a half-inch of dead space at the top of the stroke is a good example of this - and its appearance is not sufficiently different from the regular cars.

Performance? Brutally effective engine, chassis that can't quite get all the power down in poor conditions (where a 911 could), rattles, creaks, movements that you do not want in the bodywork... it is just not world class yet. The engine is a marvel, the gearbox is not. And so on, with each virtue offset by a slip, an error, a disappointment.

I like Corvettes, would like to have one of my own, but I would surely choose a Z06, or even a base level automatic convertible, because no one can responsibly use all the available performance on public roads, and any Corvette is incredibly fast, and incredibly cheap for the performance on offer. And there's probably not a performance car that is less expensive to maintain in daily use.

As a statement, this is a great car. As a car, it's, well, a great statement, but not something really desirable to use regularly. Although I am sure you could.

Robert Cumberford, Automotive Design Editor

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