With an interior this good, why not flaunt it? Like that of its fixed-roof counterpart, the cabin of the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray (www.chevrolet.com) features the high-quality trim and finishes that ’Vettes have long deserved. The Stingray’s power-operated canvas top retracts and disappears in 21 seconds and can be operated when the car is traveling at speeds as fast as 30 mph. Hats stay on heads and conversations remain audible in the open cockpit. With the top in place, the cabin is surprisingly serene, and the improved seating is a pleasure.
Because Chevrolet designed the car’s stiff aluminum chassis with the convertible version in mind, it required no additional bracing, which would have added weight and slackened performance. The Stingray, which has a starting price of about $59,000, is powered by a 6.2-liter V-8 that generates 455 hp. A 6-speed automatic transmission is available, but the standard 7-speed manual gearbox makes for a more entertaining experience.