Many times, when any yearly award is given to one person or thing, it tends to be a bit of a popularity contest. Watch the news landscape prior to the award and you can tell who is in the running, and perhaps the winner.
In that regard, it’s a wonder that Motor Trend even remembered any other cars were built for the 2020 production model year. In fact, if you check out their website, they’ve made use of the car’s popularity on multiple occasions, sometimes for corrections. Can’t blame them though. The all-new, mid-engine Corvette is red hot right now, our appetite for mid-engine goodness being whet from way back in the early ’60s when Zora first penned the idea for Corvette.
The folks at Motor Trend just revealed their annual Car of the Year Award, and America’s supercar has come out on top. Of course, they had a strict list of guidelines they must adhere to, but we could simply look in the eyes of Corvette’s competition and see that this one was a winner!
According to Motor Trend, “To become a Motor Trend Car of the Year, you have to punch hard against our six, key criteria. To quickly break it down, the new Corvette fares worst in terms of the advancement of design. However, as a car’s interior is included in this metric, the C8 did OK.”
Not sure if that’s a textual-based, back-handed kiss or a smiling punch, but, I’m sure they have GM’s address to send the trophy. There is some room for debate as to whether the 2020 Corvette meets the “advancement of design” criteria. I mean, all Chevrolet’s engineers did was move the engine to the other side of the passenger compartment, right? And, let’s not forget, they likely still have the dog-eared napkin that Zora first drew the design upon! Nope, no advancement of design going on here, but I digress. Again, if “OK” is good enough to bring home the tin, I guess we’re okay with it.
The interior has been a bone of contention within Corvette for generations and the folks at Motor Trend wouldn’t let those chromed, spring-joint calipers go without pointing this out. They did have good things to say about the C8’s innards though. “The interior actually has great build quality. What a miracle!” stated MT’s associate online editor Stefan Ogbac. Other judges coddled up to various interior cues such as the “Squircle” steering wheel, the transmission levers and buttons, and the drive mode selector. All voices seemed to agree that the interior of the 2020 Corvette is on par with its competition.
They also seemed to agree, in various levels of distaste, over the car’s exterior. Summing it up as, “If the new Corvette has a weakness, it’s the exterior design.” If we take a step back and look at the battlefield, I think we gain a better view. In the story, the folks at MT contend, “The main issue: As you get closer to the vehicle, you see tributaries of pointless lines going off in every direction. This sort of sloppy linework—folds and creases that exist for the sake of existence—first appeared on the previous generation.”
On the other side of the coin, the Corvette faithful reacted to the abrupt change in Corvette’s design and how “European” the new car’s sculpting appeared to them. Perhaps, rather than finding meaning or purpose in a line to nowhere, with fashion factions on both sides of the chasm, maybe we could accept it as the design engineers successfully building a bridge over the gap between the two? Time will tell.
Overall, the team at MT came to see the 2020 Corvette for its biggest strength – its value. If you had more money, you could build a better car. So could the folks at Chevrolet. But, re-playing the gasps and applause when Mark Reuss proclaimed the C8 would go on sale for under 60,000 puts it all in perspective.
Motor Trend summed it up nicely. “Value is where the C8 goes off the charts. Why would you buy a BMW M4 for the same money? Why would you spend half again as much for an equivalent 911? Besides a badge, what does a Ferrari give you? And just wait until the more powerful Corvette iterations show up.” Exactly. Just wait!