2005-2013 Chevrolet Corvette C6 (6th Generation) Review

Everything You Need To Know Before Buying A Used 6th Gen Corvette

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6th Gen Chevrolet Corvette What Owners Say

  • Chevrolet seems to have nailed down the evolution of the Corvette, as many enthusiasts praise its driving characteristics and complain that there are simply not enough hours in the day to enjoy its engine performance and driving characteristics.
  • A new Tremec six-speed manual gearbox affords users a much more engaging experience with smoother shifts and a shorter travel. Cars fitted with the Z51 performance package feature a revised set of ratios for improved acceleration.
  • The Corvette provides users with an extensive list of comfort and convenience features. Dual-zone climate control, push-start ignition, a driver's HUD, and heated seats are some of the many pieces of kit you can expect to find in the cabin.

Perceived cabin quality is a huge issue for many Corvette owners due to the excessive use of plastic. The cabin doesn't quite fit the standard of performance that the C6 offers its driver.

Early coupe models were subject to a recall for leaky removable roof panels that had a tendency to spontaneously pop out. This is an issue that should be resolved in most cars, but be on the lookout for it regardless.

While this generation of the LS powertrains is considered to be one of the most robust, if an issue does come about, you can expect the repair costs to be fairly substantial. You may need to keep cash reserves on hand in case something catastrophic may fail.

Chevy Corvette C6 Facelift

Like the generation before it, Chevrolet made the decision to not alter the Corvette's appearance whatsoever during its eight-year lifespan, which some may consider strange. Still, we can't deny that the car maintained a timeless design, despite it being forced to do away with the iconic retractable headlights. While adopting more modern and athletic design cues, the C6-generation Corvette doesn't sever the string that connects it to previous-generation models. Within the cabin, Chevrolet did swap out the four-spoke steering wheel for a three-spoke design for the 2008 model year.

2005 - 2013 Corvette C6 Front View Chevrolet
2005 - 2013 Corvette C6 Front View
2005 - 2013 Corvette C6 Rear View Chevrolet
2005 - 2013 Corvette C6 Rear View
2005 - 2013 Corvette C6 Interior View Chevrolet
2005 - 2013 Corvette C6 Interior View

Engine, Transmission and Drivetrain

The C6-generation Chevrolet Corvette was available with two engines and three transmissions. These range from naturally aspirated to supercharged V8s as well as manual and torque-converter automatic transmissions. The entry-level offering was the LS2 6.0-liter V8 followed by the LS3 6.2-liter V8. Transmission options include the T-56 six-speed manual, replaced by the TR-6060 in 2008, and four-speed 4L65-E and six-speed 6L80 automatics. With these powertrains, the Corvette nameplate was pushed into a new field of performance, allowing the badge to compete with giants positioned in much higher segments. Power outputs range from 400 to 436 hp.

6.0-liter V8 Gas LS2 (2005-2007)
400 hp | 400 lb-ft
Horsepower
400 hp
Torque
400 lb-ft
Transmission
Six-speed manual, four-speed automatic, or six-speed automatic
Drivetrain
RWD

The 6th-gen Corvette was introduced in 2005 with the relatively modest LS2 6.0-liter V8 as a successor of the revered LS1. Like its predecessor, it uses an aluminum construction with a pushrod overhead-valve layout and multi-point fuel injection. An all-new feature for the Corvette range is an active fuel management system that shuts off four cylinders when engine work is reduced. It is available with the T-56 six-speed manual as standard, but the 4L65-E four-speed automatic with a 2.73:1 axle ratio and overdrive was optional. This was replaced by the 6L80 six-speed automatic in 2006.

6.2-liter V8 Gas LS3 (2008-2013)
430/436 hp | 424/428 lb-ft
Horsepower
430/436 hp
Torque
424/428 lb-ft
Transmission
Six-speed manual or six-speed automatic
Drivetrain
RWD

Just three years after introducing the LS2, GM decided that it was just too small and exchanged it with the 6.2-liter LS3 unit. Apart from increasing the displacement by lengthening the stroke and increasing the bore, GM also applied stronger castings. The LS3 was available in the base and Grand Sport Corvette with a power output of 430 hp and 424 lb-ft. The optional exhaust system increases this to 436 hp and 428 lb-ft. Power is driven to the rear wheels via a standard TR-6060 six-speed manual or optional 6L90 six-speed automatic transmission.

2005-2013 Chevrolet Corvette 6th Generation Real MPG

It is worth reminding you that the Corvette is a large-displacement V8-powered performance car, and while it may feature cylinder deactivation, the average gasoline consumption is on the heavier side with the base LS2 six-speed manual example delivering an EPA estimated figure of 16/26/19 mpg city/highway/combined. This also appears to be the most frugal of the lot, but the four-speed automatic model only falters slightly in the highway section. The larger LS3-powered six-speed automatic model is the least economical model with an EPA-estimated consumption of 15/24/18 mpg. Real-world owners have achieved results that indicate the EPA's estimates to be fairly accurate, although it is worth noting that these results are not controlled by the EPA and owners may subject their Corvettes to varying driving environments and styles.

EPA mpg (city/highway/combined)Real-world combined mpg*
6.0 V8 six-speed manual (2005-2007)16/26/1923.3-23.6
6.0 V8 four-speed automatic (2005)16/24/1928
6.0 V8 six-speed automatic (2006-2007)15/25/1919.6-23.6
6.2 V8 six-speed manual (2008-2013)16/25/1921.6-25.6
6.2 V8 six-speed automatic (2008-2013)15/24/1813.8-25

* Real-world mpg and MPGe figures are provided by the EPA. Once a car has been on sale for a significant period of time, the EPA gets real-world figures directly from the customer base. These figures are then provided on the EPA website. Real-world figures are not available for certain models due to a lack of sales, or not enough people partaking in this after-sales survey.

Safety

As is the case with most higher-end performance cars, the NHTSA did not crash test the C6 Chevrolet Corvette range, so there is no official report on how it would perform in the event of a collision. However, for the first time in the Corvette's history, the C6 benefits from airbags fitted to the front and side of the driver and passenger. Traction control and Chevrolet's Active Handling System work with the driver to help all four wheels maintain satisfactory grip levels. For stopping purposes, all four wheels benefit from brake discs with ABS. ISOFIX anchor points for a child seat are also located on the passenger seat. Cruise control, tire pressure monitoring, and remote keyless entry with an immobilizer and alarm further bolster the Corvette's appeal in the safety department.

6th Generation Chevrolet Corvette Cruiser Trims

From its launch date, only one trim of the C6 Chevrolet Corvette existed, but a higher-tier Grand Sport was introduced for the 2010 model year. Both trims are available as a coupe with removable roof panels and a soft-top convertible. The standard features are generous, which is to be expected considering that the Corvette is Chevrolet's halo car. Throughout its eight-year lifespan, however, the list doesn't grow by much. On top of this, the brand added a fair amount of comfort and performance optional extras for those looking for a more comfortable or thrilling ownership experience.

For the C6 generation, Chevrolet reserved most of the special editions for the Z06 and ZL-1 models, but the lineup did get some exclusive renditions:

  • 2007 Chevrolet Corvette Indy 500 Pace Car Replica: There is no better way to kick off a new generation of the Corvette than by putting together an Indy 500 Pace Car Replica. These models are painted in Atomic Orange with gold ribbon stripes and special alloy wheels sourced from the Z06. A similar scheme is applied to the interior. All 500 models are convertibles with the Z51 performance package fitted as standard.
  • 2008 Chevrolet Corvette ZHZ: 500 ZHZ models, 150 coupes, and 350 convertibles, were constructed for Hertz and doubled up as a celebratory model for the LS3 powertrain. All cars are painted yellow with a black stripe along the hood and roof to represent the rental car company's branding. It also came standard with the F55 magnetic suspension and seven-spoke chrome wheels.
  • 2009 Chevrolet Corvette GT1 Championship Edition: This particular model was put together to celebrate the nameplate's entry into the 2009 ALMS championship. It featured a commemorative livery and could be had in black or yellow. Just 70 coupes and convertibles were assembled.
  • 2009 Chevrolet Corvette Competition Sport: This was essentially a package created for customers who wanted to attend track events. It had to be paired with the Z51 performance package and added a differential cooler, performance exhaust, and head-up display. 52 coupes were put together in Arctic White and Blade Silver.
  • 2012 Chevrolet Corvette Centennial Special Edition: This is a special edition package that ran over the course of 2012 for coupe and convertible models in the 3LT and 4LT trim groups. This featured Black Carbon Flash Metallic paint, Centennial black wheels with red brake calipers, black exterior stripes, specific exterior and interior badging, suede microfiber seat inserts, steering wheel and shifter, red custom stitching, and Magnetic Selective Ride Control.
  • 2013 Chevrolet Corvette 60th Anniversary Design: Celebrating six decades of Corvette heritage, this package was only available for the LT4 trim group and added Arctic White paint, specific exterior and interior badging, a suede microfiber-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, blue custom stitching for the interior, Blue Diamond upholstery, gray custom brake calipers, and a ZR1 rear spoiler for the coupe and convertible.
  • 2013 Chevrolet Corvette 427 Convertible: The 427 convertible was a model that was introduced in the C6 Corvette's final year of production. Consider this model to be a parts bin special as it features the Z06's LS7 powertrain with the wheels from the ZR-1. It is not quite a convertible Z06 because it doesn't feature the performance model's aluminum structural core due to it being an open-top model, but it also isn't really a base Corvette because it offers a significantly higher power output. Only 2,552 427 Convertibles were assembled. It could also be doubled up with the 60th Anniversary Design package.
Base
2005-2013
Engine
6.0-/6.2-liter V8
Transmission
Six-speed manual or four/six-speed automatic
Drivetrain
RWD

While the base may be the entry-point of the sixth-generation C6 Chevrolet Corvette range, it is by no means a budget offering. Fitted as standard on all cars are fog lights, xenon high-intensity low beam headlights with halogen high beams, electrically adjustable and electrochromatic door mirrors, and 18-inch front and 19-inch rear five-spoke alloy wheels. Inside you'll find dual-zone climate control with a pollen filter, a cargo net in the trunk, cruise control, a universal HomeLink three-channel programmable garage door opener, push-start ignition, a head-up display with track mode, an electrochromatic rear-view mirror with an integrated compass, and the memory package which saves presets for the seats, mirrors, sound system, climate control, and steering wheel. Both the sports seats and steering wheel are electrically adjustable and wrapped in leather. The seats are also heated. Entertainment is provided by an AM/FM stereo system with a six-disc changer and MP3 compatibility. This is connected to a Bose premium seven-speaker audio system.

Optionally available is a 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system with satellite navigation and voice recognition. Other options include polished alloy wheels, the 3.15:1 performance axle ratio, Magnetic Selective Ride Control with adjustable shock absorbers, and the Z51 Performance Package, which adds special gear ratios for the manual transmission, stiffer suspension with bespoke shock absorbers, a tuned power steering system, coolers for the oil and transmission, and larger cross-drilled brake rotors. Cars fitted with the automatic transmission benefit from a performance axle ratio.

Two new wheel options were added to the 2006 model range. In 2007, the head-up display was reintroduced to the Corvette as an optional extra together with a multifunction steering wheel and XM Satellite radio. The electrochromatic rear-view mirror is also not standard from this year, and neither is the electrically adjustable passenger seat or seat heating. In 2008, Chevrolet adapted the Corvette range to feature preferred option groups ranging from 1LT to 4LT. 1LT is an extremely basic offering with it only including the low-level audio system, electrically adjustable door mirrors, and dual airbags.

The multifunction wheel and front and side airbags became a standard piece of kit in 2009. Bluetooth connectivity was added in 2010 for 2LT trims and above. An electrically adjustable passenger seat is reintroduced as a standard feature across the range in 2012 together with XM Radio.

Grand Sport
2010-2013
Engine
6.2-liter V8
Transmission
Six-speed manual or six-speed automatic
Drivetrain
RWD

Adding a Grand Sport trim to the Corvette range was a big deal for fans as it was a return of an iconic trim that was last seen on the C4-generation Corvette. This was essentially the Z51 package which evolved to become an independent trim, available as a coupe or convertible. This features everything from the base range and adds the Z06's widebody panels and a specifically tuned suspension. Manual models feature a dry-sump oiling system, a cooler for the differential, and a battery mount located at the rear.

Sixth Generation Chevy Corvette Features

BaseGrand Sport
Back-Up CameraN/AN/A
Bluetooth ConnectionSS
Leather SeatsSS
Apple CarPlayN/AN/A
Keyless EntrySS
Keyless StartSS
HD RadioN/AN/A
Alloy WheelsSS
SunroofN/AN/A

Interior, Trim And Practicality

Chevrolet Corvette C6 Interior Overview Chevrolet
Chevrolet Corvette C6 Interior Overview

Like Corvette models of previous eras, this generation only accommodates a driver and one passenger with respectable cabin and trunk space. The coupe and convertible boast head- and legroom of 37.9 and 43.1 inches respectively, which is about enough room for even taller folks. The coupe has 22.4 cubic feet of trunk space, making it big enough to fit up to two golf bags. The convertible offers a bit less at 10.4 cubic feet due to the folding roof mechanism that is more intricate than the design of the C5's. All cars are trimmed with leather for a more premium feel, but there are plastic controls and trimmings scattered throughout that can cheapen the overall look of the cockpit. Interior leather colors for the Corvette include Ebony, Cashmere, Steel Gray/Titanium, and Red. Red, Cashmere, and Titanium Gray with Ebony contrast upholstery are available from 2007 onwards. Sienna and Linen with Ebony contrasts are introduced in 2008.

TrimBaseFront Tire Size
LeatherSS
Custom LeatherOO

2005-2013 Chevrolet Corvette Maintenance and Cost

The C6-generation of the Chevrolet Corvette runs on a maintenance minder system that measures various parameters and alerts you when a specific service will need to be conducted. Sometimes these systems may not be trustworthy, so it is best to stick to a scheduled service routine. For the LS2 and LS3, it is advised that you conduct an oil and filter change every 5,000 miles. Both engines have the same oil capacity of six quarts and use the same 5W-30 oil type. The cabin air filter, fuel filter, and air cleaner will need to be replaced every 25,000 miles. Chevrolet says that the automatic transmission requires an oil change every 100,000 miles, but we strongly recommend that you do this every 60,000 miles. 100,000 miles is when you should replace the coolant, spark plugs, and PCV valve.

It is essential that you stick to these recommendations because you don't want to be stuck with a problematic LS2 or LS3. Parts are not outrageous, but they are not cheap either. The cost of labor on these powertrains can also be fairly steep. Issues to look out for include timing chain failures for the LS3 in particular. Both the LS2 and LS3 are known to struggle with weak pushrods and rocker arm failure.

Sixth Gen Chevrolet Corvette Basic Service

The Chevrolet Corvette powertrains have an oil capacity of six quarts, which means you'll be spending roughly $122 for 5W-30 synthetic motor oil with a filter. An air filter should cost in the region of $49 while a set of eight spark plugs will cost $120.

2005 - 2013 Chevrolet Corvette Tires

Base
Front Tire Size:
P245/40ZR18
Front Wheel Size:
18" x 8.5"
Rear Tire Size:
P285/35ZR19
Rear Wheel Size:
19" x 10.0"
Grand Sport
Front Tire Size:
P275/35ZR18
Front Wheel Size:
18" x 9.5"
Rear Tire Size:
P325/30ZR19
Rear Wheel Size:
19" x 12.0"

Check Before You Buy

There were four recalls issued for the 2005 to 2013 Chevrolet Corvette. Over 22,000 2005-2006 coupe models had an issue with the removable roof panels that were spontaneously detaching. Over 123,000 2005-2006 models suffered from a faulty steering column that was interfering with the car's Active Handling system. Some 2011 and 2012 cars were recalled for a disengaging rear hatch in the event of a collision. 103,158 cars built from 2005 to 2007 were subjected to a recall for a wiring issue that was disconnecting the xenon low beam headlights.

These are some OBD2 codes you may encounter during your ownership of the C6 Chevrolet Corvette:

  • P0335 indicates that there is a fault with the crankshaft position sensor. This is likely due to a bad electrical connection, sensor failure, or a broken timing chain.
  • Code P0340 means that your ignition spark and fuel injector timing has failed.
  • P0449 is the code you'll see if the evaporative emission control (EVAP) system's vent valve control circuit is detecting a high output.
  • P0689 is what you'll see if the engine control module is detecting an abnormal voltage reading from the power supply.
  • If your engine control module is detecting an irregular output voltage on the throttle position A circuit, you'll see the P0121 fault code.
  • P0300 means that there is a misfire from one of the cylinders in the powertrain. This could be due to faulty spark plugs, ignition coils, fuel injectors, and more.
  • Code P0496 indicates a non-purge condition for the EVAP's flow and could result in damage to your catalytic converter if left unchecked for too long.
  • P0700 means that there is a transmission control system problem with the Chevy Corvette. This is likely due to poor shift solenoids, a bad valve body, or a faulty transmission.
  • P0068 will display when the manifold absolute pressure or mass air flow sensor picks up an incorrect air flow reading that is being provided by the throttle position sensor.
  • P0106 means that the engine control unit is picking up an erratic voltage reading from the manifold absolute pressure sensor.

Chevrolet Corvette C6 Common Problems

Failing Alternator

If you encounter a C6 Chevrolet Corvette with high mileage, it is likely that alternator problems may occur. The reason for this isn't necessarily because of usual wear and tear, but rather because of being subjected to high heat over time, which leads to them becoming more and more ineffective. The alternator may not completely fail, but it can struggle to properly charge the battery, even after a lengthy drive. Detecting this problem is fairly simple, as the most common fault will be an inability to start the car, even if your battery is still relatively young. A replacement alternator is quite costly.

Mileage: Expect alternator issues to occur after 100,000 miles.

Cost: A new alternator will set you back by $872. Labor costs should not exceed $300.

How to spot: If the battery is failing to recharge while driving, your alternator has likely failed. You'll know this is the case if your car cannot start, despite the battery being less than three to five years old.

Leaking Fuel Tank And Worn Fuel Level Sensor

C6 Corvettes assembled after 2007 appear to be more prone to leaking fuel tanks, but this is an issue that can affect all models. Owners have noted that the tank itself can crack, while the sending unit and pump can fail. GM issued a service bulletin for this, but no recall was ever implemented. If you notice any strong gas smells from around the car, your tank may have suffered damage. It will need to be removed for repair, which can be a costly procedure. Some owners have also noted issues with the fuel level sensor with higher mileage cars. In this case, the sensor provides the owner with an inaccurate fuel reading. This will need to be replaced together with the fuel pump module.

Mileage: The fuel system can start developing problems after around 132,000 miles.

Cost: Installing an all-new fuel tank will set you back about $2,200. A pump replacement will cost about $196. Replacing the fuel sensor and pump module will cost in the region of $1,200.

How to spot: Strong fuel smells and a rapid decline in fuel levels indicates possible cracks in your tank and problems with the fueling system. Incorrect fuel level readings likely mean that your fuel level sensor has failed.

LS2 6.0-liter And LS3 6.2-liter V8 Engine Problems

With the LS2 and LS3 powertrains, Chevrolet stepped up the reliability factor, but there are some C6 Corvette engine problems that you'll still need to be on the lookout for. Both of these engines are at the risk of suffering from harmonic balancer failure. In layman's terms, this is essentially a damper for your crankshaft that absorbs any forces it may transmit while rotating. In the LS2 and LS3, this part wears out after the 100,000-mile mark which is sooner compared to other powertrains. The only solution, once this occurs, is to replace it. You'll know this part is on its way out once you start to detect harsh engine vibrations or unusual noises and a check engine light. The LS3 in particular struggled with timing chain failure. If this part is starting to act up, you may notice a distinctive rattling sound. There will also be metal shavings in the oil. If the issue continues for an extended period, there will be misfiring from the engine and starting problems with the Chevy Corvette. If left unchecked, this will result in total engine failure. Unfortunately, replacing the timing chain is a costly and labor-intensive procedure.

Mileage: You can expect issues relating to the harmonic balancers and timing chain failures after 100,000 miles.

Cost: Replacing the harmonic balancers on the LS2 and LS3 powertrains will cost in the region of $1,000. Replacing the timing chain is a bit steeper at around $2,600.

How to spot: Harsh engine vibrations or unusual noises and a check engine light indicate that the harmonic balancer is starting to fail. A distinctive rattling sound, metal shavings in the oil, or engine misfiring point to a worn timing chain.

Less Common Problems And Problem-Free Areas

Some issues you may encounter while owning a C6-generation Chevrolet Corvette include the illumination of the check engine light when your gas cap has worn out. A small number of owners have also reported a fault with the water pump which can fail at around 65,000 miles. This will result in coolant loss and engine overheating. On certain automatic models, there may also be a situation where the shifter will get stuck in park due to a faulty linkage.

It is unlikely that you will experience problems with the 2005 to 2013 Chevrolet Corvette driver power window or electronic brake control module (EBCM).

Which One To Avoid

Ideally, you should avoid cars assembled from 2005 to 2006 as these were subject to the most recalls and uses the less-powerful LS2, with some even sporting a rather aged four-speed automatic. These also may lack more modern features such as the optional multifunction steering wheel.

Which One To Buy

The last two years of the Chevy Corvette 6-gen range should be considered as they did not suffer from any recalls. It also features the LS3 powertrain, which features a larger displacement for more power, without sacrificing too much on the fuel consumption front. It is recommended that you consider the C6 Corvette Grand Sport convertible or coupe trim as it features all of the performance benefits that will allow you to get the most out of the sports car's chassis.

6th Gen Corvette C6 Verdict

Same might argue that the sixth-generation Corvette is the most accomplished iteration as it features a dependable LS V8 powertrain with a trusty choice of transmissions. It serves its owner in the comfort and convenience department, thanks to a high level of standard equipment with a short list of optional extras to make the package even more appealing. If it is a thrilling driving experience that you are after, the Corvette C6 should not disappoint as it steps up its lateral and longitudinal performance capabilities thanks to a more modern set of assists and suspension revisions. Sadly, the cabin quality is on the poorer side compared to its more expensive peers due to the abundant use of plastic.

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