2024 Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray Review and Test Drive
Electrification adds power and poise.
Now, Chevrolet is bringing a new pony to the races. It's the 2024 Corvette E-Ray, the first hybrid Corvette in history, and while you might think the focus is on frugality or economy, the opposite is true. The E-Ray is a new, high-end Corvette, a grand tourer intended to mix luxury and performance to create a package unlike anything previously offered by Chevrolet.
But at a starting price of less than $107,000, including the $1,695 destination charge, is the car good enough to face off against other GT icons such as the Aston Martin DB12 and the Porsche 911 Turbo? That's what I flew to Denver, Colorado, to find out.
The 2024 Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray is available in coupe and convertible body styles and comes in 1LZ, 2LZ, and 3LZ trim levels. Electronic all-wheel drive is standard, and Chevrolet offers a heaping helping of high-end features, such as carbon-ceramic brakes.
The car I drove was a top-shelf E-Ray Coupe in 3LZ trim and loaded with mostly cosmetic options, including a striking hue of Red Mist Metallic and matching red brake calipers, polished wheels, an Engine Appearance Package with integrated lighting, and chrome badges. In addition, it had a front suspension lift feature that prevented scraping the car's nose on dips and driveway aprons. All that adds up to a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $123,705. Chevrolet provided my flight, one night in a hotel, and meals during the evaluation.
2024 Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray Review: The Design
For all its exotic aspirations, the eighth-generation Corvette (C8), for the first time mid-engined, looked a little ungainly to my eyes when it launched in 2020. Starkly angular and oddly proportioned, it appeared uncomfortable having its V8 stuffed up its backside after carrying it for so long up in the nose.
But, since then, the styling is gelling more thanks to the higher-performance Z06 widening the design and this year's Le Mans-winning C8.R basking in the spotlight. If the E-Ray appears wider to you than a base Corvette Stingray, that's because the hybrid Vette borrows its wide-bodied appearance from the Z06.
The interior, though, is still as curiously arrayed as ever. The dominant feature is the wall of buttons running between the seats, a strange arc of inputs that's neither appealing nor easy to use. For the driver, it's difficult to find anything. It's even worse for the passenger because the buttons are angled away from them and awkwardly positioned.
Otherwise, there's a lot to like about the E-Ray's interior. The GT bucket seats in my test car supplied a great blend of support and comfort, trending more toward lateral bolstering than cushion compliance but working well in both situations. Headroom is generous enough for all but the tallest drivers, while shoulder and legroom are also expansive, as ever a hallmark of the Corvette.
What hasn't been a traditional aspect of the Corvette is high-end interior materials, but the C8 raised the bar, and the E-Ray is all the better for it. Previous-generation Corvette interiors simply wouldn't have been good enough to stand up to the likes of Aston Martin or Porsche, but the 3LZ trim level's additional leather and selective bits of carbon fiber for the shift paddles and elsewhere make for a great-looking and great-feeling space.
And, despite the new electric motor sitting up front between the wheels, the E-Ray's front trunk (frunk) remains, with enough room for an overnight bag or a helmet. The trunk, located between the engine bay and rear of the car, is likewise retained, still big enough for a couple of bags of golf clubs. And, if you're not particularly long-legged, there's room behind the seats for small totes, messenger bags, or even groceries.
2024 Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray Review: The Technology
The E-Ray includes an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system situated high on the dashboard. Though it's between the seats, like most other controls, the screen is angled sharply toward the driver, making it an awkward reach for the passenger.
Android Automotive powers the Chevrolet Infotainment 3 Premium experience and generally performs well. It also equips the E-Ray with integrated Google services. If you're a Google Maps user on your smartphone, all your destinations and contacts will be readily available within the car, along with things such as YouTube Music playlists. Integrated Google Assistant technology means you can execute powerful searches by voice, from finding local restaurants to performing complex mathematical conversions without taking your eyes off the road.
The infotainment system pairs with a digital gauge cluster behind the steering wheel, which sweeps and swings through several different designs as you toggle through the different driving modes: Weather, Tour, Sport, Track, and Individual. There are numerous other levels of performance available here, resulting in a car you can digitally tune to suit your driving abilities — and mood.
A head-up display is the cherry on top, one that I found difficult to see through polarized sunglasses, but otherwise provides a series of views, some simple and informative, others a bit more evocative. My favorite by far is the sweeping, flat, horizontal tachometer, an echo of the displays used on the C8.R race cars.
If there's one fly in the infotainment and display ointment, it's sluggish performance. Android Automotive can be slow to respond. Likewise, changing modes sometimes takes a second or two for the displays to wake up and do their thing. For a car focused so much on performance, it's a shame the user interface often can't keep up.
On the driver-assistance side, the Corvette E-Ray features automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping assist, and, with the 3LZ package, rear cross-traffic alert. Adaptive cruise is unavailable, but you will get a following-distance indicator, which you can control on the steering wheel.
2024 Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray Review: The Drive
Far and away the most notable new technology in the Corvette E-Ray is its hybrid system. Though conceptually similar to a car like the Acura NSX, adding all-wheel drive by powering the front axle electrically, Chevrolet's implementation is simpler and seemingly a little less effective.
Chevy mounts the 6.2-liter LT2 V8 behind the front seats, offering 495 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque. Up front is an electric motor adding another 160 horsepower to the package, for a total of 655-hp-worth of shove. The two are wholly disconnected, and the 1.9 kWh battery pack in the transmission tunnel charges by regenerative braking.
There's no plug-in action here, and that battery isn't big enough to drive the car far, but the intent isn't reducing emissions. Instead, the E-Ray improves performance to the tune of a zero-to-60 acceleration time of 2.5 seconds.
While the Stingray is undoubtedly performance-oriented, and the Z06 takes that to another level, Chevrolet squarely intends the E-Ray to push the Corvette in a new direction of luxurious, comfortable, high-performance touring. Appropriately, then, I spent much of my drive in traffic and on the highways in and around Denver, Colorado.
The E-Ray is quite comfortable at speed on four-lane blacktop. In Tour mode, its Magnetic Selective Ride Control adaptive suspension is compliant enough to handle separation joints and light road imperfections. The only issue here is the road noise, which is noticeable and grating after long stretches.
Notably, the V8 isn't a factor here. On the highway, with the engine barely above idle, you'd be forgiven for thinking the car is a pure EV at speed. The sleeping tachometer shows it is alive, but only the most subtle noises come from the LT2 behind your head.
The car can drive fully electrically, but only at speeds up to 45 mph and only for a few miles. For perspective, the 1.9-kWh battery pack is about 14% the size of what you'll find in a Toyota Prius Prime. What's the point, then?
The small battery charges quickly when braking into every turn, harvesting kinetic energy from the front axle and turning it into electrical energy, which it uses to spin up that motor again on the way out of turns. The sheer acceleration on a launch is impressive, enough to send your body deep into the padding on those GT bucket seats.
But even more impressive is how that motor helps the car power through corners. The base Stingray is notorious for being a bit prone to understeer, and while the E-Ray can tend toward the same fault, adding a little throttle and a little more steering coaxes the nose to come around beautifully.
Pushed hard on a racetrack, driven with aggression, it's delightfully fun. And that's despite this version of the Corvette being more intended for big, on-road miles rather than big, on-track performance. But it'll handle the track quite well, and the carbon-ceramic brakes never lose composure.
The eight-speed, dual-clutch transmission is likewise equally suited for all duties. On the track, it switches gears as quickly as you can pull on the carbon-fiber shift paddles. On the road, in Tour mode, it slips and slides between cogs gently and smoothly, skipping gears for greater efficiency or, when needed, acceleration.
During a 60-mile drive on a loop roughly divided between highway and back roads, I saw 20.2 mpg on the trip computer. While the EPA hasn't officially rated the E-Ray's gas mileage, that's slightly better than the 19 mpg the base Stingray returns in city-highway combined driving. So, there is seemingly additional economy to be gained here despite the extra power.
Is the 2024 Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray a Good Car?
While it looks slightly different from the base Stingray or hotted-up Z06 but ultimately fits into the same template, the new 2024 Corvette E-Ray successfully stands apart from its co-branded siblings. Though you can configure a base Stingray to ride and drive as comfortably as the E-Ray, the desirable selection of included features makes the E-Ray a compelling package on its own.
Add in the extra power and the slight efficiency improvement, and you're looking at a car that makes a lot of sense for many people. Yes, the Z06 is quicker and angrier, but it's also harder to live with and not the kind of thing you'll want to spend time with in inclement conditions.
The E-Ray, on the other hand, with its all-season tires, could be a legitimate four-season threat. Throw on a set of snow treads, and it might even be a fun winter toy for a run-up to the mountains.
Is it good enough to stand up to touring icons like the Porsche 911 Turbo? The 2024 Corvette E-Ray has a different feel and it doesn't offer quite the same levels of refinement as the Porsche. Still, with a starting price of about $93,000 less, the E-Ray is a tempting alternative.