The C8 Corvette May Lose Its Weirdest Interior Quirk

Illustration for article titled The C8 Corvette May Lose Its Weirdest Interior Quirk
Photo: Kristen Lee/Jalopnik

Conceptually, the C8 Corvette is pretty hard to fault. It’s an American midengine sports car — a rarity in itself — that costs less than midengine sports cars tend to and has been found to be generally enjoyable to drive by everyone who has driven one. Visually, though, it’s polarizing.

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One of the C8's most unusual design quirks is its strip of buttons cascading from the dashboard’s infotainment display all the way down to the center console. I haven’t sat in a C8 yet, but the decision to organize the climate controls in this way always struck me as odd and not particularly user friendly.

Apparently I’m not the only one who feels this way, as it may disappear in time for the car’s midcycle refresh in two years’ time. The report was published in the April issue of MotorTrend, and shared by a member on MidEngineCorvetteForum.com:

The C8 Corvette’s somewhat fussy styling was already locked and loaded when Michael Simcoe took over at GM Design Chief.

But sources in Detroit say the mid-cycle re-design Simcoe had originally planned for 2025 has been put on the back burner as GM pours money in its electrical vehicle program. However, inside say an interior redesign aimed at among other things fixing the array of button and switches cascading down the buttress on the right side of the center console has survived the bean counters. The redesigned interior will reportedly appear on 2023 C8s.

Illustration for article titled The C8 Corvette May Lose Its Weirdest Interior Quirk
Photo: Chevrolet

Nixing the ridge of climate controls might make for a more ergonomic interior, though it would likely also eliminate part of the charm of the C8's cabin. While I can’t pass judgment on what it’s actually like to use those buttons, Kristen Lee wasn’t a fan in her review published almost exactly a year ago:

The driver-centric layout of the interior is very cool, as few cars have such aggressively angled screens and buttons. But it does leave the passenger feeling slightly isolated from the driver. The climate controls are found on that sweeping ridge on the center console, but to the passenger it more realistically forms a wall.

And after fiddling with the climate controls, I can’t say I love the button layout. I’m sure after a while you’ll memorize where everything is, but I found it distracting to use while driving.

Memorization seems like it’d be a problem! The buttons are small, as are the text and iconography, and there are many of them. I count 17, if you include the toggle switches for fan speed and temperature. They’re also located as far as can be from the driver, while still facing the driver at a rather steep angle. And how about those tiny LCD readouts for the temperature at the fringes?

I can’t figure out a practical purpose to any of these decisions, only that maybe someone on the car’s design team thought they looked neat.

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I’m curious to hear from C8 owners what this design is like to live with. Is it actually fine, or do you find it annoying? Let me know in the comments. 

And would you be pleased to see it go in favor of a more traditional layout?

Staff Writer at Jalopnik. 2017 Fiesta ST. Wishes NASCAR was more like Daytona USA.

DISCUSSION

factoryhack
factoryhack

What is not intuitive for an automotive journalist doing a review over a few days becomes intuitive for actual owners over a few weeks of acclamation.

Porsche does the same thing except with two rows of buttons. It might be a slightly more elegant set up but it works the same. Actual owners adapt pretty quick to stuff like this.