May 22, 2013
Written by Steven Macoy
Wednesday, 23 December 2009 11:04
Our pearl white 2009 Nissan 370Z Touring brought us lots of compliments, most often from young men whose entry-level paychecks couldn’t come close to covering the payments on this $38,715 two-seater. Just four decades ago, the 370Z’s fabled predecessor, the exciting yet affordable 240Z, was known to elicit a sort of reverse sticker shock at Datsun dealerships.The older folks who actually got to drive the 370Z are the lucky ones. The car is enormously fun to drive, with strong acceleration and sparkling handling, as well as plush and well-designed interior accommodations that show how thoroughly Nissan has erased what once was a serious weak spot in many of its models. We even thought we looked pretty good in the redesigned Z. But getting in and out was an exercise in awkward twists, turns and pratfalls, given the car’s low roofline and recessed seats.
Yes, it’s a young man’s car with an old man’s sticker price.
For older folks with a practical streak, the 370Z has one other flaw: no back seat. Some of the hottest sports coupes on the market today, including the Mazda RX-8 and Chevrolet Camaro, have at least a semblance of rear seating. The Z’s cargo hold can swallow 7 cubic feet of luggage, compared with 11.3 in the Camaro and 7.6 in the RX-8.
Nissan is betting the Z cachet is a winner, and early returns suggest that’s true. The redesigned Z car for 2009 has sold much better than its predecessor.
From the arrowhead-shaped headlights to the sculpted glass and sheet metal, the 370Z is a thing of beauty, boldly stated. This has been a Nissan strength for several years; even the Quest minivan is a head-turner.
The car’s performance matches its looks. The 332-horsepower V-6 engine delivers tremendous power and decent fuel economy even with the seven-speed automatic transmission; we averaged about 24 mpg. The ride, comparatively smooth even on the battered highways of western Connecticut and eastern New York, does not detract from the car’s extraordinary handling.
Strangely, our 370Z was quite noisy at low to moderate speeds, with most of the racket coming from behind the passenger compartment. At highway speeds, the noise seemed to moderate.
A nice interior touch was a gauge array that moved with the steering-wheel adjustment, so the major gauges were visible at every position.
Consumer Reports magazine readers gave the previous model, the 350Z, high marks for reliability. Safety was average to better than average, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The 370Z is loaded with safety equipment, including stability and traction control, front, side and head air bags, antilock brakes and active head restraints.
The 370Z is available as a coupe or cloth-top convertible. For 2010, prices range from $29,990 for a base coupe to more than $40,000 for the best-equipped convertibles.
The 370Z is the best Z-car Nissan has produced, lacking only the affordability factor exemplified by its long-ago predecessors.
Engine: 3.7-liter V-6, 332 horsepower, 270 lb.-ft. torque
Transmission: 7-speed automatic with paddle shifters
Weight: 3,314 lb.
Suspension: Independent aluminum double-wishbone front, multi-link rear
Wheels: 18-inch styled aluminum alloy
Tires: P225/50R18 front, P245/45R18 rear
Seating capacity: 2
Luggage capacity: 7 cu. ft.
Fuel capacity: 19 gallons
Fuel economy: 18 mpg city, 26 mpg highway
Fuel type: Premium
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