I don’t know who coined it, but there’s an axiom that says that if you’re in the market for a Chevrolet Corvette, the one you should buy is the newest one you can afford. It’s a car that has pretty consistently (but also debatably) gotten better with each generation in terms of performance and technology.
For a long time, the used ‘Vette of choice for a lot of car enthusiasts on a budget was the venerable C5 that ran from model years 1997 through 2004. However, that car’s successor is at a point where it’s gotten pretty affordable for a pretty wide swath of drivers who want Corvette performance and style without stomaching a new Corvette price tag. The C6 is becoming the best bargain in used Corvettes.
The C6 Corvette, which ran from model years 2005 to 2013, was met with some criticism when it was first introduced for being more like a heavily refreshed C5 rather than an all-new generation of America’s sports car. It had a revised, but similar, look — now with fixed, non-pop-up headlamps for the first time since the 1962 model. It also had a new LS2 6.0-liter V8 making 400 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque.
What was more significant than the exterior changes were the interior changes. Chevrolet finally brought the Corvette a step closer to being a proper luxury car with the C6. The interior of the C5 was disturbingly similar to the interior of a loaded Chevy Blazer, and this is a big reason why a used sports car shopper should give the C6 a look over the C5. When you think 1990s General Motors, you probably don’t think of sterling interior quality, but things actually got a lot better interior-wise in the mid-2000s with the C6.
The LS2 is a strong engine, but the LS3 that became standard in the C6 starting with the 2008 model year is even better. The specs went up to 430 hp and 424 lb-ft of torque. It also got new transmissions — and, for the first time ever, an automatic Corvette was able to achieve 0-to-60 mph in four seconds flat. Also new for 2008 was revised steering and new wheels. If you’re shopping for a C6, it’s worth giving some favor to 2008 and newer models, considering their pricing isn’t too far off from 2005 to 2007 cars.
Speaking of price, you might be surprised by how affordable the C6 has gotten. They’re all over Autotrader — and many of them have price tags under $20,000. If you don’t mind a few miles on the clock, an early C6 can even be had for less than $15,000 fairly easily. If you’re hungry for the higher-performance, cooler-looking Z06, you’ll be getting into around the $25,000 mark. Those prices aren’t bad for a V8-powered, RWD sports car with performance that holds up pretty well today.
The beauty of the C6 is that it’s new enough to still be a pretty modern car — and it’s old enough that depreciation has taken its toll putting it in the sweet spot of value. They’re waiting to be scooped up by frugal driving enthusiasts who like all-American performance and I think they’re a great bargain. Find a Chevrolet Corvette for sale