The 5 Most Fuel-Efficient Modern Chevrolet Corvettes
Five most fuel-efficient modern new and used Chevrolet Corvettes article highlights:
- A 2022 C8 Chevrolet Corvette Z51 can get up to 26 mpg on the highway in real life, while a non-Z51 one can get over 29 mpg
- Manual C7 Corvettes get even better gas mileage than their C8 equivalents
- You can hypermile your way to over 30 mpg in a stock C6 Chevrolet Corvette
Yes, I’m aware that buying a Chevrolet Corvette to save fuel is like an energy drink to stay hydrated. But some people require a bit of justification before you bring a two-seater V8 sports car into your garage. Also, the ability to sip fuel might keep some of these ‘Vettes from sitting idle thanks to today’s gas prices. And whether you’re planning a road trip or just looking to save some cash, these Corvettes have higher mpg ratings than you might expect.
A brand-new 2022 Chevrolet Corvette gets good mpg for a V8 sports car
Now, the 2022 C8 Chevrolet Corvette is by no means the most fuel-efficient sports car on sale. However, keep in mind that it’s packing a 6.2-liter V8 that makes up to 495 hp with the Z51 Performance Package. So, yes, an official EPA rating of 16 mpg city and 24 mpg highway isn’t great per se. But that still puts it ahead of the Ford Mustang GT, Shelby GT500, and the Challenger Hellcat family.
EPA estimates, though, aren’t always 100% true to life—sometimes they’re better IRL. Car and Driver’s Z51-equipped C8 Chevrolet Corvette, for example, got 26 mpg on the highway. That’s thanks in large part to the C8’s standard cylinder deactivation. And keep in mind that Car and Driver runs highway tests at 75 mph, the speed limit in Michigan.
However, while the C8 Corvette has decent fuel economy, several other ‘Vettes are even better at sipping gas.
The stick-shift C7 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport beats the C8’s highway fuel economy slightly
If you want the newest front-engine Corvette, a used C7 is your best option. The last Corvette to stick its V8 up front, the C7 is also the last one with a manual. And with that manual, the C7 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport beats the C8 in a highway mpg competition.
Quick recap: the Grand Sport is basically a C7 Corvette Z51 with a few Z06 goodies. Specifically, standard magnetorheological shocks, an electronic limited-slip differential, upgraded tires, and bigger Brembo brakes. And under its hood is a 460-hp 6.2-liter V8 that, like the C8, features cylinder deactivation.
Given that manual cars are usually less efficient than automatic ones, it might be surprising to hear that the C7 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport has better gas mileage. But it’s true: Car and Driver got 27 mpg on the highway in its long-term C7 Grand Sport. Furthermore, the long-term car got 20 mpg overall, beating the long-term C8 Z51’s overall fuel economy by 2 mpg. It even beat the EPA’s official estimates, which put the manual C7 Corvette at 16 mpg city/19 mpg overall/25 mpg highway.
Without the Z51, the C8 Corvette gets even better gas mileage
But the C8 Chevrolet Corvette has a trick up its mpg sleeve. See, the Z51 Performance Package’s active exhaust, sportier suspension, electronic LSD, bigger brakes, and summer tires are great for the racetrack. So is the extra horsepower and torque that performance exhaust adds. However, the Z51 Package also includes a shorter axle ratio that trades fuel efficiency for better acceleration.
If you order a C8 Chevrolet Corvette without the Z51 Package, though, you get that gas mileage back. And based on Cars.com’s experience, you get it back and then some. Over 400 miles, its non-Z51 C8 Corvette got 29.1 mpg on the highway and 25.4 mpg overall. That’s roughly what I got in my NB Miata, which is far lighter and has a far smaller engine.
Yet that still doesn’t make the C8 the most fuel-efficient Chevrolet Corvette.
A stock C6 Corvette can get over 30 mpg on the highway
In coupe or convertible form, the C6 Corvette remains a fun sports car even a decade after the last one left production. And it’s affordable, too, if you can ignore the Z06 and ZR1 models. But there’s another way passing on the C6 Z06 can save you money: at the pump.
Compared to the Z06, the C6 Chevrolet Corvette’s V8 is smaller and less powerful, especially in pre-2008 models. But even the weakest C6 makes 400 hp. Plus, unlike the C8, the C6’s Z51 Package doesn’t include a shorter axle ratio. But even without it, you can still rip off sub-five-second 0-60 times.
More importantly, because the C6 Z51 has shorter gear ratios, for maximum mpg, you’ll want a base C6 Chevrolet Corvette. And ‘maximum’ in this case might surprise you. Popular Mechanics eked out 32.8 mpg on a highway in a stock manual 2009 C6. That’s better than even the Corvette’s computer estimated; it claimed the car got 30.5 mpg.
Admittedly, the testers had the A/C off, the windows closed, and the cruise control set at 55 mph. But that still means it’s possible to get over 30 mpg in a Chevrolet Corvette.
With a bit of care, you can see 37 mpg in a C7 Chevrolet Corvette
There’s another modern Chevrolet Corvette that gets even better mpg, though. Remember how the C7 Grand Sport is basically a Z51-equipped Corvette with some Z06 features? Well, like the C6 before it, the C7’s Z51 Package includes shorter gear ratios. And, just as with the C8, the C7 Corvette gets better gas mileage without it.
After its C6 hypermiling test, Popular Mechanics later tested a manual C7 Chevrolet Corvette in similar conditions. The C7, though, did even better, achieving 37.3 mpg on the highway. That’s thanks not just to cylinder deactivation, but also to tires with lower rolling resistances and the C7’s seventh-gear overdrive ratio. And once again, the testers beat the computer, which claimed the C7 got 34.0 mpg.
As of this writing, that makes the stick-shift C7 the most fuel-efficient stock Chevrolet Corvette with verifiable results.
Gas mileage bonus: A modified C5 hypermiles to 40 mpg
Up until now, we’ve been discussing stock modern Chevrolet Corvettes’ gas mileages. But with some mild tuning, a near-classic one can burn even less fuel. Behold, YouTuber LegitStreetCars’ 40-mpg ‘Ecovette.’
The Ecovette started life as a stock manual 1999 C5 Corvette. LegitStreetCars, though, wanted to maximize its fuel efficiency. So, he pumped up the tires to 38 psi and replaced the transmission, differential, and engine oil. And, most importantly, he tuned the ECU to run a leaner air-to-fuel ratio during low-throttle, low-rpm conditions. In other words, highway cruising conditions. And the result is 40.2 mpg on the highway and a minor horsepower and torque gain.
Before you try this with your own Corvette, though, know that a lean air-to-fuel ratio can cause long-term engine damage. Plus, they also create more NOx pollutants. But it does show that Chevrolet Corvettes can deliver more-than-decent mpg if they need to.
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