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Chevrolet Corvette vs. Dodge Viper: Which Is Better?

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Chris O'Neill August 2018
  • Dodge Viper production ended in 2017.
  • The Corvette Z06 is the most comparable to the Viper.
  • Neither vehicle offers driver assistance safety features.

Two of the hottest, most iconic American-made sports cars from the last decade are the Chevrolet Corvette and the Dodge Viper. Given the tenacity of both of these vehicles, it's reasonable to cross-shop the two if you're in the market for a high end American sports car. The fact that production of the Viper ended in 2017 complicates things a bit, as buyers are limited to used examples. Still, given the Viper's limited production, used models sell for close to what they sold for new. Therefore, Viper and Corvette prices are aligned pretty closely. Below, we'll compare the two to hopefully determine the positives and negatives of buying either in 2018.

Overview

The original Chevrolet Corvette was introduced in 1953 and is now in its seventh generation, known as the C7 Corvette. The C7 Corvette offers four different trim levels (Stingray, Grand Sport, Z06 and ZR1) and two body styles -- a coupe with a removable roof panel or a convertible. Any of the four trim levels is offered with either bodystyle. The C7 generation is likely to be the last front engine Corvette, as Chevrolet has been seen testing the long-rumored mid-engined Corvette, which is expected to be introduced as the C8 generation once the C7 reaches the end of its lifecycle, likely in the next two to four years.

The Dodge Viper debuted for the 1992 model year. The most recent model, sold from the 2013 to 2017 model years, was technically the fifth-generation model, although it introduced the first full redesign of the Viper since the third generation model that debuted in 2003. The fifth-generation Viper was offered in three trim levels -- SRT, GT and GTS -- along with a number of special editions that were introduced for the last model year of production.

Buyers in search of a Viper should note that the vehicle was sold as the "SRT Viper" for model years 2013 and 2014 and as the "Dodge Viper" for 2015, 2016 and 2017. This is important to note when selecting the make of the vehicle when browsing online listings.

Powertrains

As with every generation of the Viper, the fifth-gen model employs a naturally aspirated V10 engine to drive the rear wheels. In this case, that V10 is an 8.4-liter mill making 645 horsepower and 600 lb-ft of torque. The sole transmission choice is a 6-speed automatic. Needless to say, the Viper doesn't offer much in the way of technology, and earns only 12 miles per gallon city, 19 mpg highway and 14 mpg combined.

The Corvette is available with a number of powertrain options, all utilizing a 6.2-liter V8 engine. Stingray and Grand Sport models make 460 hp, while Z06 and ZR1 models employ a supercharger along with other modifications to make a total of 650 hp and 755 hp, respectively. In all trim levels, the Corvette earns better fuel economy than the Viper. Stingray and Grand Sport models earn 15 mpg city, 25 mpg hwy and 18 mpg combined. The more potent Z06 model earns 15 mpg city, 22 mpg hwy and 18 mpg combined, while the top dog ZR1 earns 13 mpg city, 23 mpg hwy and 16 mpg combined.

Since a used 2012–2017 Viper costs about the same and offers similar power as a new Corvette Z06, we'll focus primarily on those two models in our performance evaluation below.

Performance

The Corvette Z06 goes from 0-to-60 miles per hour in 3.4 seconds, runs an 11.6-second quarter mile and has a top speed of 185 mph.

The Viper offers a 0-to-60 time of 3.5 seconds, runs the quarter mile in 11.4 seconds and tops out at a blistering 208 miles per hour.

Both vehicles perform quite similarly on the track, with any minute differences in lap times coming down to small variables like tires and equipped performance packages.

In the practical sense, both the Viper and Corvette are excellent performers, earning great marks on the track and around town -- a real achievement for the Viper in particular, as previous generations are known for being particularly hard to live with day-to-day.

Reliability

Reliability of the Viper and Corvette should be about average. A lot of this comes down to how well you behave while behind the wheel. Thrash either one, and there may be some issues, but drive responsibly and either one should hold up well enough. One thing to note here is that a brand new Corvette can be purchased with a full manufacturer's warranty -- in this case a 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty, while most used Vipers will lack a warranty.

As so few Vipers were built, parts availability will be considerably weaker when compared to the Corvette, which could result in some frustrating situations should the need for repairs arise.

Safety

Due to their relatively low production volumes, neither the Corvette nor the Viper has been crash tested, nor do either offer any driver assistance features. All vehicles have to meet safety standards set by the government, and these two are no exception. Nonetheless, neither prioritizes safety like, say, a Honda Odyssey minivan.

Technology & Infotainment

The Corvette comes with a pretty comprehensive infotainment setup, offering an 8-inch touch screen with Chevrolet's easy-to-use MyLink system, and complete with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, along with 4G LTE with Wi-Fi. The Corvette also offers three USB ports and two 12-volt outlets; ample for a vehicle that only seats two.

Given that the Viper not only ended production in 2017, but spent its final years as a lame duck product line, its infotainment system didn't receive much attention after the vehicle debuted for 2013. Still, the Viper offers an 8.4-in screen running Chrysler's UConnect software. While it doesn't offer Apple CarPlay or Android Auto connectivity, it does allow the user to create a Wi-Fi hotspot and offers downloadable apps. It also has one USB port, an aux port and a slot for an SD card.

Value

In the five years for which the fifth generation Viper was on sale, only around 650 were sold each year. This pales in comparison to the Corvette, which has averaged sales of around 30,000 units every year since 2014. While this figure includes all trim levels of the Corvette, it nonetheless serves to emphasize the rarity of the Viper. Due to this, Vipers have held their value quite well since their introduction, with most having experienced little to no depreciation, while the relative high production volume of the Corvette means it will depreciate at a similar rate to other mainstream vehicles.

Conclusions

Altogether, the Viper and Corvette Z06 are both exciting -- if not terrifying -- supercars. Both offer attributes that make them great. The Corvette is a long standing nameplate that has been around for decades and will likely be around for years to come. This means wider parts and service availability, greater aftermarket support and a larger enthusiast base. With this comes fewer surprises and an overall more predictable ownership experience -- music to the ears of many who want a no-frills sports car to enjoy driving every day. As the Corvette, Z06 and otherwise provide great performance value, you won't be disappointed.

The Viper, on the other hand, is a rarity, and is therefore appealing for that factor alone -- not to mention its collectibility. Its potential as a collector's vehicle is evident in the fact that used models have held their value quite well over the years, indicative of their ongoing desirability. Previous generations of the Viper were known for being difficult to control and even harder to live with day-to-day, but the fifth generation model rectified many of these issues, introducing features such as stability control, in an effort to tone things down while still capturing the Viper ethos. As a result of this, the Viper is a completely viable sports car option, but whether taking the plunge into used Viper ownership is more compelling than buying a brand new Corvette is something only you can decide.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Chevrolet Corvette vs. Dodge Viper: Which Is Better? - Autotrader