DETROIT — The way the auto industry PR machine works these days, you don't get all the information when a vehicle is launched. It dribbles out so automakers can keep the car in the news. And so, there are some unanswered questions from last week's long-awaited reveal of the 2020 midengine Chevrolet Corvette.
Looking at the new car's specifications, it's surprising that the turning circle — the tightest arc the car can turn when the steering wheel is turned all the way left or right — changed little from the 2019 model.
With the engine transplanted from between the front wheels to behind the driver, I expected the 36.4-foot turning circle (38.0 feet with the optional fatter tires) to be considerably tighter. Why does that matter? Well, a tighter turning circle makes the car easier to maneuver in tight spaces, such as U-turns or when the driver is turning a sharp corner in a tight place, such as a parking garage. When the car can turn very sharply, it's easier to turn into a parking space in tight quarters.
It appears three things affected the 2020 Corvette's turning circle:
General Motors' decision to equip the Corvette with a front trunk to increase the two-seater's cargo room, and the massive 19- or 20-inch tires.
Another factor? The wheelbase. GM President Mark Reuss told me the car's slightly longer wheelbase over its predecessor also slightly increased the turning circle. The turning circle of other midengine cars, such as the McLaren 570S and Acura NSX, are considerably tighter, at 20 feet and 19 feet. However, those cars are smaller than the new Corvette.