Chevrolet Corvette

C5 Corvette

C5 (fifth generation) Corvette. (Photo: desktopcar.net)

What is this?, you ask. A 400-hp Chevrolet Corvette on our list of Hot Green Machines? It’s true!

Being the 5th generation ‘Vette and fondly referred to as the “C5″, the 2001-2004 models technically miss hi-mpg.org’s 30 mpg cutoff, achieving just 28 mpg per the EPA’s original highway mileage estimate. But hold on here. Here is “America’s sports car” which delivers a whopping 400 horsepower, 0-60 acceleration times in the low-4s, and rivals — if not trounces — many supercars from Italy and Germany in terms of speed and performance. However, whereas the Lamborghini Murcielago, for example, achieves only 15 mpg on the highway, the Corvette actually gets superior highway gas mileage to a ho-hum, pedestrian Ford Taurus of the same vintage.

How did Chevrolet achieve this? First, it kept the ‘Vette’s weight down to a svelte 3100 lbs., far less than the offerings from Ferrari or Lamborghini. Secondly, its hunkered-down low-profile body encounters minimal wind resistance. Lastly, its tallish 6th gear keeps the torquey, decades-refined pushrod V-8 (lubricated by ultra-slippery Mobil 1 synthetic oil) revving very low at cruising speeds.

In addition to the power rush, a ‘Vette also has decent cargo capacity, being able to swallow a road bike in its trunk (convertible models excluded). In other practical matters, the C5 can be had (in ) for just — one of the most expensive cars featured at hi-mpg.org, but a bargain compared to any exotic car from any country. The ‘Vette demonstrates that one can have her cake and eat it too.

An alternative to the almighty C5? For a few more dollars, but less interior space and 1 mpg worse city gas mileage, you could get a C6 (sixth generation) 2005-2007 Corvette, which offers even better performance and also 28 mpg on the highway!

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