Best & Worst Chevrolet Corvette Years

We've ranked all Chevrolet Corvette models for every generation so you can avoid picking the worst Chevrolet Corvette years and pick the best model for you!

In this guide, I’ll break down the latest Chevrolet Corvette generations, revealing the best Chevy Corvette years to buy and the worst Corvette years to avoid.

We’ve leveraged authoritative sources like NHTSA, Consumer Reports, and J.D. Power to ensure accuracy and depth in our findings.

Our meticulous research highlights key aspects for each Corvette generation, from reliability, safety, and tech to owner satisfaction, common problems, recalls, and average resale prices.

Let’s dive right in!

Related:Best & Worst Chevrolet Camaro YearsBest & Worst Chevrolet Malibu Years

Table of ContentsShow

Chevrolet Corvette Generations

The Chevrolet Corvette, an American icon, debuted in 1953 as a stylish and performance-oriented sports car.

Its first model featured a fiberglass body, a 150 hp engine, and a two-speed automatic transmission, setting the stage for a legacy of innovation and speed.

This table provides an overview of Chevrolet Corvette generations from 1997 to the present.

GenerationYears
5th generation (C5)1997-2004
6th generation (C6)2005-2013
7th generation (C7)2014-2019
8th generation (C8)2020-Present

Each Chevy Corvette generation brought a set of changes regarding performance, aesthetics, safety, and technology, which might be crucial factors in your decision-making process.

Chevrolet Corvette Best, Neutral, and Worst Years

When it comes to ranking the best, neutral, and worst years of the Chevrolet Corvette, our analysis is multifaceted. We consider several important factors, such as:

  • Owner-reported reliability (surveys)
  • Annual maintenance costs
  • Safety ratings
  • Consumer Reports reliability scores
  • Consumer Reports owner satisfaction scores
  • NHTSA recalls, investigations, and complaints
  • Edmunds owner ratings
  • JD Power owner ratings
  • Kelley’s Blue Book (KBB) owner ratings
  • VehicleHistory owner ratings
  • Cars.com owner ratings

The following graph compiles ratings from all the above sources, visually representing Corvette’s year-over-year performance in our analysis.

Chevrolet Corvette Car Smite Score Combined Overall Score

Next, we present a table categorizing all model years of the Chevrolet Corvette across different generations into best, neutral, and worst years based on our extensive research.

GenerationBest YearsNeutral YearsWorst Years
5th generation (C5)2001
2002
2003
20041997
1998
1999
2000
6th generation (C6)2010
2011
2012
2013
N/A2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
7th generation (C7)2014
2015
2016
2018
2019
N/A2017
8th generation (C8)2020
2021
2024
N/A2022
2023

“Neutral Years” are the years that didn’t particularly stand out for either high praise or significant criticism. They typically represent a stable performance with no major flaws or highlights.

Certain factors, like NHTSA recalls, weigh heavily in our analysis, negatively impacting a model year’s ranking. A higher number of complaints and recalls usually signifies lower reliability.

Let’s dive into the best, neutral, and worst Chevrolet Corvette years.

Best & Worst Years for Chevrolet Corvette 5th Generation (1997-2004)

Chevrolet Corvette 5th generation 1997 model
The 1997 Chevy Corvette

The fifth-generation Chevrolet Corvette, running from 1997 to 2004, blended classic Corvette style with modern advancements. It introduced the LS1 V8 engine, boasting significant improvements in power and efficiency compared to its predecessors.

The best C5 Corvette years are 2001-2003, while 1997-2000 are the worst years to avoid.

The Best Years: 2001, 2002, 2003

The best years of the fifth-generation Corvette were 2001, 2002, and 2003.

These models were equipped with the robust LS1 V8 (LS6 V8 405 hp for Z06) engine, which offered 350 hp and a 5.7L displacement, paired with a 4-speed automatic or a 6-speed manual transmission.

They boasted improved fuel efficiency for their class, averaging 17 city/26 highway MPG.

Safety enhancements included more sophisticated traction control and better suspension tuning, providing a safer and more stable ride.

While some issues, like intermittent steering locking from the previous model years, persisted, these years showed fewer instances of mechanical issues.

The Neutral Year: 2004

2004 marked the final year of the fifth-generation Chevrolet Corvette, serving as a transitional model into the next era.

It retained the celebrated LS1 engine, continuing the legacy of performance and reliability.

This year saw the introduction of commemorative editions, which featured special paint options and unique trim packages.

While recalls for steering locking and control arm issues were noted, the 2004 model generally maintained a good balance of performance and reliability, categorizing it as a neutral choice for Corvette fans.

The Worst Years: 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000

Which C5 Corvettes to avoid? The initial years of the fifth-generation Chevy Corvette, particularly 1997, 1998, 1999, and 2000, were plagued with several issues.

The 1997 Chevy Corvette, while revolutionary for its time, faced steering locking problems and engine stalling issues.

The 1998 Corvette continued these steering issues and had brake rotor failures, leading to significant recalls, including fuel leaks and steering locking concerns.

The 2000 Chevy Corvette year was notorious for its ABS malfunctions, further tarnishing its reliability reputation.

These early years of the fifth generation were less refined than their successors, leading to their categorization as the least reliable Corvette years buyers should avoid.

See NHTSA 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000 Chevrolet Corvette recalls and complaints.

Best & Worst Years for Chevrolet Corvette 6th Generation (2005-2013)

Chevrolet Corvette 6th generation 2005 model
The 2005 Chevy Corvette

The sixth-generation Chevrolet Corvette, spanning from 2005 to 2013, introduced the more powerful LS2 and later LS3 engines, along with a redesigned body that blended modern aesthetics with classic Corvette lines.

The best C6 Corvette years to buy are from 2010 to 2013, while the worst years to avoid span between 2005 and 2009.

The Best Years: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013

The best years of the sixth generation C6 Corvette, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013, were distinguished by introducing the 6.2L LS3 V8 engine, delivering up to 436 hp.

These models offered a 6-speed automatic or manual transmission, catering to traditional and modern driving preferences.

Fuel efficiency averaged around 15 city/25 highway MPG, impressive for the car’s power level.

Safety enhancements included advanced airbag systems and traction control, complementing its high-performance capabilities.

The introduction of the Grand Sport model in 2010 provided a unique blend of sport and luxury, with specialized suspension tuning, wider wheels, and distinct design elements.

These years are known for their improved reliability and fewer mechanical issues.

The Worst Years: 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009

What are the bad years for Corvettes? The early years of the sixth generation, particularly 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009, were hindered by a few notable issues.

The 2005 Chevy Corvette, while introducing the potent 400 hp LS2 engine, faced electrical system problems and stability control malfunctions.

The 2006 and 2007 Chevrolet Corvette models faced electrical problems, including low beam headlight failures and additional concerns like roof panel separation.

The 2008 and 2009 Chevy Corvette models introduced new problems, including excessive wear of engine valves, eventually braking, causing significant engine damage, and fuel tank leaks.

Necessary recalls for these models concerned the loss of low beam headlights, power steering hose leaks, and steering wheel position sensor malfunctions, causing “Service Active Handling System” messages with unexpected brake engagement and roof panel separation.

See NHTSA 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 Chevrolet Corvette recalls and complaints.

Best & Worst Years for Chevrolet Corvette 7th Generation (2014-2019)

Chevrolet Corvette 7th generation 2014 model
The 2014 Chevy Corvette

The seventh-generation Chevrolet Corvette, known as the C7, combined classic Corvette DNA with cutting-edge technology, making it a modern classic.

2017 is the only worst C7 Chevy Corvette to avoid, while the best years to buy are 2014-2016, 2018, and 2019.

The Best Years: 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019

What is the most reliable year for Corvette to buy? Regarded as the golden years of the C7 Corvette, these models are celebrated for their robust performance and reliability.

The standard powertrain was a 6.2L LT1 V8 engine, delivering up to 460 hp, paired with either a 7-speed manual or an 8-speed automatic transmission.

Fuel efficiency hovered around 16 city/28 highway MPG, impressive given the car’s performance capabilities.

Safety was enhanced with features like a rearview camera, stability control, and advanced airbags.

The introduction of the Z06 in 2015, with its supercharged LT4 engine, and the Grand Sport in 2016 offered a perfect blend of power and handling.

Trim levels ranged from the base Stingray to the track-focused ZR1 in 2019, each offering unique styling and performance features.

The Worst Year: 2017

The 2017 Chevy Corvette year faced notable problems, primarily revolving around the wheels.

Many owners reported issues with cracked wheels, leading to air leaks and, in some cases, safety concerns.

This year was also marked by occasional power steering assist loss.

The specific issues with the wheels and the steering system led to a perception of decreased reliability compared to other years in this generation.

See NHTSA 2017 Chevrolet Corvette recalls and complaints.

Best & Worst Years for Chevrolet Corvette 8th Generation (2020-Present)

Chevrolet Corvette 8th generation 2020 model
The 2020 Chevy Corvette

The eighth-generation Chevrolet Corvette, also known as the C8, introduced a mid-engine design in Corvette history, radically altering its performance and handling characteristics.

With slightly low reliability ratings, 2023 and 2023 are the C8 Chevy Corvette years to avoid, while 2020, 2021, and 2024 are the best and most reliable years to buy.

The Best Years: 2020, 2021, 2024

The early years of the C8 generation, particularly 2020 and 2021, set a high benchmark in terms of performance and technological advancements.

Powered by a 6.2L LT2 V8 engine, these models deliver an impressive 490 hp, which can be boosted to 495 hp with the performance exhaust option.

The engine pairs with an 8-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, a first for the Corvette.

Fuel efficiency is around 15 city/27 highway MPG, a reasonable range for a sports car of this caliber.

These models feature advanced safety systems, including front-view parking cameras and rear cross-traffic alerts.

The trim levels range from the base 1LT to the luxurious 3LT, each offering a unique combination of comfort and performance features.

The 2024 Corvette promises further enhancements, maintaining the Corvette’s cutting-edge appeal.

The Worst Years: 2022, 2023

The 2022 and 2023 Chevrolet Corvette models faced some challenges, particularly in terms of reliability and some quality control issues.

Complaints included minor electronic glitches, infotainment system inconsistencies, and transmission and structural issues.

While these issues didn’t fundamentally undermine the overall performance and appeal of the Corvette, they did result in a slight dip in Consumer Reports reliability scores compared to other years.

See NHTSA 2022, 2023 Chevrolet Corvette recalls and complaints.

Chevrolet Corvette Resale Values

Explore the graph showcasing the average resale values of Chevrolet Corvette across different model years.

Chevrolet Corvette Average List Price

Conclusion

After going through the Chevrolet Corvette’s history, it’s very clear that the best years to buy are 2001-2003, 2010-2013, 2014-2016, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2024

It’s also clear that the 1997-2000, 2005-2009, 2017, 2022 and 2023 models are the worst Corvette years to avoid due to reliability concerns and other issues.

Which Corvette model year do you think represents the best of its design and performance, and why?

Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!

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Jonathan Eckert

Jonathan is an ASE-certified mechanic with over 22 years of hands-on experience in the automotive industry. His expertise spans a wide range of vehicles, but he specializes in diagnosing and repairing Japanese cars. His previous workplace highly commended his meticulous attention to detail, and that's exaclty what he uses at Car Smite to craft the best guides for each purpose.