The Corvette is one of the most iconic American-made muscle cars to come off the line. Since its inception in 1953, Corvette has come to signify class, refinement, and luxury among car enthusiasts worldwide. The most recent iteration, the C8, has been a significant shift for Chevrolet. However, some features have left the car lacking, particularly in the passenger department. Let’s take a look at the C8 passenger experience.
The C8’s redesigned cockpit
The C8 is the first mid-engine Corvette since the model’s introduction in 1953. The new design is a head-turner. However, for the die-hard Corvette fans, the new body design is too far-flung from the original. Purists will look at the new body style and proudly proclaim, “That’s not a Corvette.”
Exterior design aside, let’s talk about the interior. The driver’s seat envelopes the driver, making it seem like the car and driver are one. The wrap-around design is very reminiscent of a fighter pilot. However, the passenger seat appears to be an afterthought.
The passenger is left out of the fun
The cockpit of the C8 is very much a driver-centric design. Every control is facing the driver and the driver only. There is even a half wall between the passenger and the driver. If you are claustrophobic, you better skip this ride. The design of the passenger seat gives the feeling of riding in a sidecar on a motorcycle.
The awkwardly placed wall that separates the driver’s space from the passengers seems poorly designed. It houses the cabin climate controls, which seems odd and almost as though the designers forgot to include them and threw them in as a last-minute change.
Is it time for Chevy to get back to basics
For many Corvette enthusiasts, the new changes are most unwelcome. According to Chevy, there is a method to the madness. Interior design manager Tristan Murphy told Gear Patrol, “The whole point of getting that engine behind you is it allows you to have a much lower cowl…you no longer have to sit above the engine, and you can get these really great sightlines, and that’s what a mid-engine car does. The last thing we want to do was have this amazing down vision, then have this typical tall instrument panel. It was about, how do we change the game and how do we reconstruct a dashboard here to be as low and as thin as possible? That was the mission statement of the whole car.”
Some other features, including the thinnest air vents in the automotive industry and the odd placement of temperature controls, are all to keep the dash as low as possible. To that end, Chevy designed the cockpit with the driver in mind, and minimal luxury was afforded in the passenger department.
It seems that Chevy’s heart was in the right place when they made the changes, but the changes may be too drastic for Corvette’s aficionados and too far from the original design. Despite the initial hype when the model was first introduced in 2020, fans have cooled to the idea of the mid-engine re-design and are clamoring for a return to the original.
While the apparent lack of passenger creature comforts has been one point of contention for fans, Corvette would do well to revisit the interior design and listen to owner feedback on this one. The new Corvette is surprisingly affordable, which keeps it squarely in the realm of affordable high-performance vehicles for those of us that aren’t necessarily millionaires. Maybe they should also keep the design more conservative and not try to compete with brands like Lamborghini and Ferrari.