2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06
The all-new 7th generation Chevrolet Corvette Stingray is a terrific sports car. But, it’s just the beginning to the latest Corvette chapter. No sooner did we drive the Stingray then Chevy started teasing us with their next installment: the Z06! It’s been a year of waiting. But, now the wait is over.
Truth be told, we would have done just about anything to get some track time in the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06. Turns out all we had to do was say yes to Chevrolet’s invitation and hop on a plane to Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch near Las Vegas, Nevada.
What awaited us there was 650–horsepower worth of torqued up Corvette ready to romp and roll.
Easing up to speed on the track, this Z06 has a familiar feel that any Corvette owner would quickly recognize. As we became more attuned with the track and the car, lap times started falling, tires started protesting, and smiles became perma-blasted on our faces.
There’s certainly a nasty streak within’ this heavily tweaked Stingray that’s more than willing to be unleashed.
The Z06’s aluminum chassis is, for the first time, produced in house at Bowling Green Corvette Central. And, due to its extremely stiff nature, no further updates are needed for the C7.R race car.
The short/long arm, double wishbone, transverse composite spring suspension design carries over from the Stingray, but gets recalibrated; and standard Magnetic Ride Control takes care of the rest.
For those more interested in track time than cruise time, a Z07 performance package elevates things to a whole new level. It includes additional and adjustable aero-elements for greater downforce, carbon-ceramic brake rotors, and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires. Helping maintain that unreasonable amount of grip is Performance Track Management and a multi-mode electronic limited slip differential.
Giving power to these random acts of performance is a 6.2-liter LT4 V8 with plenty of extra massaging done by the powertrain professionals at GM’s Tonawanda engine shop. And thanks to a first ever in a Z06 supercharger, output is 650–horsepower and 650 lb-ft. of torque. Expect 0-60 times to be under 3-seconds, of course. You can stick with the standard rev-matching 7-speed manual transmission, or opt for a paddle shifted 8-speed automatic.
You’ll have no problem picking this smooth criminal out of a line-up, as Chevrolet has tacked on a wealth of add-ons in the name of ultimate down-force creation. If you like your performance cars to be a little subtle, look elsewhere. Meanwhile we’ll be taking a 2nd and 3rd look at this ‘vette’s wacked out lines and performance enhancements.
There are new fascias front and rear, a front splitter, unique hood, and rear spoiler. And of course all of those aero elements; some standard, some part of the carbon-fiber aero package, and some part of the Z07 package.
The fenders are extended 2-inches in front, 3-inches in the rear; to cover the wheels wearing 285/30/19 rubber in the fore, and 335/25/20 aft. If you don’t opt for the Z07 Performance Package, you’ll still be happy with the standard 14-inch steel Brembos.
Unlike before, the body is not hardtop only, rather the customary removable roof panel arrangement of the standard Stingray, and even a convertible is available this time around.
Inside, there are the unique colors, carbon fiber treatment, and the flat-bottomed steering wheel embellishments that you might expect; but what you might not be prepared for is the available luxury type amenities like high-end leather, 8-inch MyLink with navigation, and Bose audio.
And by now you’ve probably heard of the available onboard Performance Data Recorder developed by Cosworth. Which consists of a high-def. camera in the windshield header, a telemetry recorder with GPS, and an SD recorder. Essentially, it provides you with motorsports-level telemetry and allows you to record your exploits for bragging rights, or perhaps for evidence.
But even with all of the Z06’s capabilities and track-ready tech, street time is almost equally as rewarding as track time. Ride quality can be smoothed out with a turn of the dial, and seats offer enough comfort to seek out car shows at distant locals.
The 7-speed manual’s Government Fuel Economy Ratings of 15-City, 22-Highway, and 18-Combined will allow you to eat up plenty of miles or laps before pit stops are necessary. The 8-speed auto however, at 13-City, 21-Highway, and 16-Combined will get you a Gas Guzzler tax.
Still, base pricing of $78,995 clearly puts the Z06 in a class of its own, well below its purely exotic rivals. Convertibles sticker for 5-grand more. No other car on the road can even come close to matching this car’s level of performance for the price.
So while the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 may have been the ride we were eagerly looking forward to the most, and Chevrolet was gracious enough to oblige, AND it was everything we hoped it would be; it did get us thinking a bit… how awesome would a new ZR1 be?
- Engine: 6.2 liter
- Horsepower: 650
- Torque: 650 lb-ft.
- 0-60 mph: 2.9 seconds
- EPA: 15 mpg city/ 22 mpg highway
2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid
Crossed Up Corolla Gets More Efficient
Toyota offers a hybrid powertrain in just about everything they make, so it did seem odd that last year, when they debuted an all-new SUV version of their long-time best-selling Corolla, a hybrid was nowhere to be found. Well, it didn’t take long for Toyota to correct that situation, delivering this Corolla Cross Hybrid for 2023.
With prices for everything seemingly going up daily, we can all use a little more cost efficiency in our lives. That’s a mission that Toyota has been undertaking for some time now and continues to do it with this 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid.
The Alabama-built Corolla Cross arrived just last year as Toyota’s attempt to bring their best-selling nameplate into the SUV era, and give them an additional entry into the most popular automotive segment going right now, small crossovers.
There are some RAV4 styling cues here, but the Corolla Cross is mostly its own deal, and the Hybrid is more than just a fuel efficient option, it has added performance too. So, it’s offered only in Toyota’s S line of trims S, SE, and XSE, where the standard Corolla Cross is available in base L, LE, and XLE.
There are some differences outside, most notably unique front and rear fasicas; the front with a much more aggressive look, with larger grille and blacked-out trim.
Black trim and logos in back too, along with a redesigned bumper; plus, you can optionally go 2-tone by adding black paint to the roof.
Great packaging has it feeling roomier inside than most small 5-seat utes, straddling the line between subcompact and compact. And seats are way more comfortable than your typical urban-minded utility.
In fact, the entire interior feels quite upscale, and the layout will be very familiar to those stepping up from an actual Corolla.
Those who put off buying a Corolla Cross until now will be rewarded with upgraded infotainment, as all Hybrid’s will come with Toyota’s latest 8-inch touchscreen multimedia system standard.
The Hybrid’s small battery is located under the rear seat, so there’s minimal loss of rom, with a good 21.5 cubic-ft. of cargo space available; expanding to 61.8 with rear seatbacks folded.
Getting to the heart of the matter, the Corolla Cross Hybrid’s fuel-sipping ways are courtesy of the 5th generation of Toyota’s Hybrid System which outputs a combined 196-horsepower through its trio of electric motors and naturally-aspirated 2.0-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine. One of those motors operating strictly the rear axle for standard all-wheel-drive.
At our test track, there was a nice little chirp of the tires off the line, but that’s where the excitement ended.
So while a 7.5-second trip to 60 may not raise your blood pressure, it’s a full 3-seconds quicker than the standard Corolla Cross we tested last year. We’ll take that!
CVT automatic means engine revs and engine noise both hang relatively high throughout the whole ¼-mile, which took us 15.6-seconds to complete, finishing at a reasonable 90 miles-per-hour.
The Hybrid also gets a “sport-tuned” suspension, and indeed it felt light and nimble through our cone course, very neutral too, with no noticeable understeer or oversteer. Steering was light but still provided good feedback. With some grippier tires, this would certainly give the best handlers in the segment a run for their money.
But the real reward comes in Government Fuel Economy Ratings which are 45-City, 38-Highway, and 42-Combined. We averaged a great 43.3 miles-per-gallon of Regular; that’s a 40% increase over the 30.9 miles-per-gallon we averaged in the standard Corolla Cross last year.
But, that does come at a cost, though it’s difficult to make direct comparisons with separate trim families, but pricing starts at $29,320 for the Hybrid, about 3-grand over a base all-wheel-drive non-hybrid. Top XSE comes in at $32,400.
As influential as Toyota is in spreading the hybrid doctrine, it was indeed odd that the Corolla Cross arrived last year without a hybrid option. Smartly, it didn’t take them long to right that wrong, as it was always part of the plan, and the Corolla Cross has benefitted from it greatly. The 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid is not just more efficient, it’s more capable, and a much better small utility all around.
- Engine: 2.0-liter 4-cylinder
- Horsepower: 196
- 0-60 mph: 7.5-seconds
- MW Fuel Economy: 43.3 MPG (Regular)
- Transmission: e-CVT
- Torque: 139 lb-ft
- 1/4 Mile: 15.6-seconds at 90 mph
- EPA: 45-City, 38-Highway, and 42-Combined