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-   -   should I buy C5 or a C4? (https://www.corvetteforum.com/forums/c5-general/4194477-should-i-buy-c5-or-a-c4.html)

H. I. McDunough 10-01-2018 10:47 PM

should I buy C5 or a C4?
 
Looking to buy my first corvette. I have been trying to do my homework on this, and have been looking around for a couple months now. I am not looking for a show car, but I want a driver. A fun car to drive, and take a trip in occasionally. I have 2 cars that I am seriously looking at now. One is a 1991 with the z07 suspension pkg, 45,000 miles, 6 speed manual transmission, & is in fantastic condition. I mean Hagerty would grade it out in concourse condition. L98 engine & 250 horsepower. The second car is a 1998 with 85,000 miles, and 6 speed manual trans. It is about $3,000 more than the c4. Both cars are great, but just wondering if the 1998's extra horsepower is worth the money. Do the c5's have a lot of electrical issues?

Vetteman Jack 10-01-2018 11:06 PM

It's not just the HP that is the difference. The C5 has a lot fewer parts overall to worry about, is better ergonomically, gets better fuel economy, has more up to date options available, and is priced very reasonably any more. The C4 is a fun car (I had four of them), but IMO the C5 is just a better car in almost every way (and I have had three of them).

Now, if it were me, I would look at a 2001 and up C5 if the budget allows. In 2001, there were a lot of upgrades made to the platform which were very good changes. Plus parts availability for the latter C5s is better.

The C5's do have a number of common issues (look at the stickies in the C5 General and C5 Tech sections), but obviously not all vehicles will have those problems.

jglassmaker 10-01-2018 11:07 PM

My uncle had a C4, fun car but had plenty of issues. I've had my C5 for 5+ years and from everyone I talk to the new cars are more reliable and better street cars. (a neighbor recently went from a C4 to a C6).

But only you know what you like so try test driving both and see which you like driving more. The Corvette is a great car no matter which one you get :)

Not4spd 10-01-2018 11:23 PM

I own both and I'd still choose a C5 over a C4. The C5 is more comfortable and just a better car all around.

grantv 10-01-2018 11:50 PM

I'd definitely go for the C5 if you can swing it. All around a nicer, better car (never mind minivans have 250HP nowadays, that ain't much).

ls777z 10-02-2018 02:49 AM

I'm guessing that if you had posted this question in the C4 section you would be getting a different result. Judging by your description a "pretty C4".....don't want to get it dirty, gotta keep mileage low or I'll lose $$$, etc ...or... a " much driven" C5...damn the mud puddles !! , I bet I can get at least 4 bags of mulch in the back., etc. It all comes down to how you are going to use/drive it.

mfi 10-02-2018 06:42 AM

C5. I had a 92 that I spent a ton of time fixing..but it was pretty beat when I got it. Always wanted a 5 and now that I do, its so much better...and yes the 100 hp more is much better. Make sure to get a stick though...autos are rather boring.

leadfoot4 10-02-2018 07:14 AM

My personal $0.02 worth, as a C-5 owner......the C-5 is a much better car, but I like the styling of the C-4 much better.

calvins 10-02-2018 07:37 AM

As others here, I've had them both. Different animals totally. The C5 is a more "refined" beast and is much more comfortable than the C4's.. The C4 has more potential issues. But, it comes down to personal preference and what YOU like.

I'd recommend reading the stickies at the top of the forum and I'd personally save up a bit more and get a 2001 or later

CorvetteBrent 10-02-2018 07:43 AM

I have owned one C4 and three C5s. The C4 feels rather cramped inside compared with the C5. Also, the seats in the C4 are uncomfortable and somewhat painful on a trip. The seats in the C5 are a noticeable improvement.

grampi50 10-02-2018 07:57 AM


Originally Posted by leadfoot4 (Post 1598087276)
My personal $0.02 worth, as a C-5 owner......the C-5 is a much better car, but I like the styling of the C-4 much better.

I think you're first person I've ever heard say this. No offense meant to anyone, but if I could only use one word to best described the C4 it would be cheesy. From it's cigar shaped exterior, to it's Buck Rogers looking interior, I can see why the C4 almost brought an end to the Corvette...

calvins 10-02-2018 08:27 AM

Cheesy?!? Well I guess everyone has a right to their opinions, but that certainly would NOT be anywhere in my vocabulary relevant to a C4! At the time they were a state of the art car. In their debut year (1984) it was named as Motor Trends Car Of The Year, and for good reason. Did people like the Crossfire power plant? No, because you couldn't just walk into a parts store and walk out with bolt on horsepower. And yes, the digital dash became infamous for bad ground problems, etc. But the C4 was a game changer at the time.

rotarydad 10-02-2018 08:32 AM

My opinion, the C5 is the most beautiful Corvette ever made. The design never gets old. We get looks whenever we are out for a cruise. Again, my opinion, the C4 looks "dated". Too many "squares/rectangles" in the design. The C5 is curvy and sleek.

chasboy 10-02-2018 08:44 AM


Originally Posted by Vetteman Jack (Post 1598086664)
It's not just the HP that is the difference. The C5 has a lot fewer parts overall to worry about, is better ergonomically, gets better fuel economy, has more up to date options available, and is priced very reasonably any more. The C4 is a fun car (I had four of them), but IMO the C5 is just a better car in almost every way (and I have had three of them).
Now, if it were me, I would look at a 2001 and up C5 if the budget allows. In 2001, there were a lot of upgrades made to the platform which were very good changes. Plus parts availability for the latter C5s is better.
The C5's do have a number of common issues (look at the stickies in the C5 General and C5 Tech sections), but obviously not all vehicles will have those problems.

As usual, I agree with all Jack states. The C5 is the series that made Corvette a world car and finally earned the respect it deserved. I drove 2 C4ís before I got my current C5 coupe. One rat trap and the other pristine. The ratty one felt better than the 2 years older, 14k model which rode like a rock and had no guts.
The entire driving experience is different in a C5 and the HP increase is only one part of the difference in how it drives.
I do like the c4 dashboard, but thatís not enough to make me buy one.
Like most cars, there are going to be issues. In both of mine, I did the column lock, it is necessary. This one had a bad oil pressure sensor. Bot overall they are great cars to live with.

sstonebreaker 10-02-2018 08:58 AM

I'd skip the C4 just because of the LT1 engine. I had a 96 impala ss and the LT1 distributor is a pain in the butt - seems like I was replacing it every year or two. And good luck finding parts for it - aftermarket optisparks are all rebuilt GM units since the aftermarket doesn't have the technology to built the optical sensor in the distributor. I've owned two C5's and the LS engine is head and shoulders better in every way than the LT1. It's lighter, makes more power, plenty of parts are available, and there's tons of aftermarket support.

grampi50 10-02-2018 09:00 AM


Originally Posted by calvins (Post 1598087513)
Cheesy?!? Well I guess everyone has a right to their opinions, but that certainly would NOT be anywhere in my vocabulary relevant to a C4! At the time they were a state of the art car. In their debut year (1984) it was named as Motor Trends Car Of The Year, and for good reason. Did people like the Crossfire power plant? No, because you couldn't just walk into a parts store and walk out with bolt on horsepower. And yes, the digital dash became infamous for bad ground problems, etc. But the C4 was a game changer at the time.

I never liked the C4, even when it first came out...I guess that's why they're called opinions...


grampi50 10-02-2018 09:01 AM


Originally Posted by rotarydad (Post 1598087541)
My opinion, the C5 is the most beautiful Corvette ever made. The design never gets old. We get looks whenever we are out for a cruise. Again, my opinion, the C4 looks "dated". Too many "squares/rectangles" in the design. The C5 is curvy and sleek.

I think the C5 is the 2nd prettiest Vette ever, right behind the '68-'72 C3, but I also like the C5's looks better than the C6 or C7....

Nokones 10-02-2018 09:02 AM

I own 2 C4s, C5 ZO6, and a C6 Grand Sport Manual Tranny. I like all of them. Sounds like the original poster is going to use the car just for grocery getting. IF that is the case, I think you will be happier with a C5. Each generation Corvette got better and that goes the same with each model year within a generation. If you're looking into the C5 generation, I would consider a later model in the C5 generation like a 2003 or 2004. I hear there are some issues with the earlier C5s, just like every generation experiences. The C6 and C7s were no different.

As for the C4, you have to flop in and roll out when getting in & out of a C4 as compared to a C5 you just need to slide in/out.

grampi50 10-02-2018 09:04 AM


Originally Posted by sstonebreaker (Post 1598087663)
I'd skip the C4 just because of the LT1 engine. I had a 96 impala ss and the LT1 distributor is a pain in the butt - seems like I was replacing it every year or two. And good luck finding parts for it - aftermarket optisparks are all rebuilt GM units since the aftermarket doesn't have the technology to built the optical sensor in the distributor. I've owned two C5's and the LS engine is head and shoulders better in every way than the LT1. It's lighter, makes more power, plenty of parts are available, and there's tons of aftermarket support.

GM seems to have a knack for producing parts that can't, or won't be reproduced by the aftermarket...

Grandpa1 10-02-2018 10:55 AM

I had a C4. My first Corvette. Rattle trap. My wife hated it. It was just two years old when I bought it with low miles.
Sold it in less than a year. I thought I would never buy another Corvette but I did.
We bought a 03 C5 Vert about 16 months ago and we both love it! It is light years ahead of the C4 we had.
We will have this car until one of us kicks the bucket!
To everyone that has a C4 and love them I don't mean to put down your car but the one I had was not good.


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