There’s nothing more challenging than change, and for Corvette disciples, no change to America’s sports car has been greater than the move to a mid-engine platform. As they rack up the miles, many Corvette owners find themselves wondering whether the the mid-engine platform means that everything operates differently—including, it appears, the front trunk. The frunk, as it’s better known, has become something of a sticking point in NHTSA complaints for the new C8 Corvette, with owners reporting that the frunks are blowing open while driving. The common theme is that the owner was driving down the roads at a “prudent” pace, usually on surface streets and not on freeways, when the frunk popped open shortly after departure.
I was pulling out of the driveway and onto the city road driving about 30–40 mph and my front trunk opened on its own.
The 2020 Chevrolet Corvette is truly a unique looking automobile and it attracts attention everywhere you go. Almost everybody wants to look at it. On 04/30/2020, I was at a local shopping center and several people were admiring the car and looking at it. […] When the people had finished admiring the car, I got into it and proceeded to the exit. […] When I reached a speed of approximately 25 to 30 mph, the front hood (also called a frunk), flew up and completely blocked my vision of the roadway.
The culprit appears, to some owners, to be Chevrolet’s lack of foresight:
While driving the 2020 Corvette at a low speed, the front hood flew open and impaired my visibility. This is Chevrolet’s first attempt at a mid-engine car. So the front hood is actually a truck [sic]. They failed to engineer the appropriate safety latch features into the hood that would prevent this from happening. Hoods are required to have a secondary latch that must be physically operated to open completely.
You catch the drift. Even if a hood didn’t catch its safety latch—despite the owners’ claims, the Corvette does indeed have a secondary safety latch for the frunk, which makes an audible double click when secured—all the evidence points to user error. GM reflected this conclusion in its statement on the NHTSA complaints, offering to update the C8’s Driver Information Center (DIC) to increase the alerts for an open hood:
After isolated reports of 2020 Chevrolet Corvette hoods being inadvertently left open while being driven, the engineering team is investigating the potential issue and will be working to prevent them moving forward. We have not been able to identify any mechanical issues related this situation. We’re looking at ways we can improve warnings of the hood being open by increasing the volume of warning chimes and changing the messaging that appears in the DIC. Vehicles already in the field would receive these changes through over-the-air updates.
What do you think is the root cause here—distracted minds or disastrous engineering?