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2021 Chevy Corvette: Is the 3LT Worth $5,000 Over the 2LT?

Chevy Corvette Stingray — three words sure to make your car-loving heart go pitter-patter. The first C1 Corvette rolled off Chevrolet’s Flint, Michigan assembly line on June 30, 1953. However, it wasn’t an immediate success. The automaker produced 300 Corvette units in 1953 but sold only 183, presumably thanks to its subpar 150 hp and two-speed automatic transmission. 

Much has changed in the past 67 years. Chevy moved Corvette production to Bowling Green, Kentucky, and the 2021 Stingray is certainly in no danger of wearing the “subpar” label.

2021 Chevy Corvette trims

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Available in three trim levels — 1LT, 2LT, and 3LT — the latest C8 Corvette (AKA Stingray) packs a 6.2-liter, direct-injected V8. Boasting rear-wheel drive and a dual-clutch eight-speed transmission with automatic and manual modes, this mid-engine sports car harnesses 490 hp and 465 lb-ft of torque. 

According to U.S. News, 2021 Corvette trim starting prices are as follows: $60,995 for the 1LT, $68,295 for the 2LT, and $72,945 for the 3LT. Though the 1LT’s MSRP is a significant $12,000 below the 3LT’s price, there are also significant differences in standard equipment and technology in the infotainment and suspension systems. Unless your primary goal is to own a new Corvette at the lowest price, the choice ultimately comes down to the 2LT or 3LT trim. Let’s compare the two.

2LT vs. 3LT Corvette highlights

According to Chevrolet‘s website, the Corvette’s 3LT trim offers several features that aren’t available with the lower 2LT. Among the most notable is contrasting stitching on seats, instrument panel, doors, and console when you opt for the Jet Black interior. Custom interior combinations include Adrenaline Red with Jet Black Nappa leather seating surfaces with perforated leather or sueded microfiber inserts. You can also opt for custom yellow stitching, but it could cost extra and might require purchasing other extras. 

Some interior upgrades are standard on the 3LT trim but not available on the 2LT trim. They include leather-wrapped upper instrument panels, door trim panels, and console cover, along with a sueded microfiber-wrapped upper interior trim package including the headliner, visors, A-pillar trim, and trim above the windshield and rear window. 

The Corvette 3LT also boasts GT2 bucket seats, but they’re available as an option on the 2LT. Both GT1 (standard on 2LT Vettes) and GT2 bucket seats offer eight-way power adjustment and superb comfort. However, only the GT2 seats offer power lumbar and bolster controls, along with heating and cooling. GT2 bucket seats are also the only ones available in two-tone color schemes.

Another major difference is that the GT2 seats get Nappa leather, but the GT1 seats have Mulan leather. The superior Nappa leather offers a smoother, suppler texture. But it’s unclear which one would wear better.

Is the 3LT worth $5,000 over the 2LT?

Ultimately, deciding on a Chevy Corvette Stingray trim level comes down to what’s important to you. Of course, the 3LT offers more luxury and amenities than the 1LT and 2LT trims, but is it worth thousands of dollars extra? We think that unless you’re on a strict budget, set aside the 1LT, so the real choice is between the two higher trims. 

Obviously, if money isn’t a huge concern, the 3LT is the way to go based on its trim-exclusive options. And, really, that extra $4,650 to get into a 3LT instead of a 2LT is only a 6.8 percent increase. Buying a new sports car is a once-in-a-lifetime event for many drivers, so don’t let saving a few dollars become your biggest regret.