2019 Nissan 370Z Roadster Review
By Phil Shuyler
There’s nothing like hitting the road in a roadster. Put on your sunglasses, lather up with sunscreen, drop that top, sit back, and relax. Add the optional Passion Red premium paint and a 2019 Nissan 370Z and you have a recipe for fun. The 370Z is the successor to the 350Z that began production in 2001. The 370Z was unveiled in Los Angeles in 2008 and began production in 2009.
The 370Z Roadster is by no means a high performance machine, however it’s no slouch either. In the world of convertibles, it fits somewhere in the middle. All trims have a 3.7L V6 with 332 horsepower and 270 lb.-ft. of torque. Peak horsepower comes at 7,000 RPM and peak torque comes at 5,200 RPM, so you’ll have to rev up the engine to really feel the power. And redline is at 7,500 RPM, so you’ll really be pushing the limits of the car to achieve top performance. All trims also receive a 7-speed automatic transmission with downshift rev matching and big column mounted paddle shifters. For those wanting a manual transmission, you’ll have to opt for the 370Z Coupe – no stick in the roadster. The transmission is extremely responsive, especially when using the paddles. Keep those shifts smooth and the RPMs down and you’ll see fuel economy of 18 mpg city and 25 mpg highway.
Handling is a strong point for the Z with its front and rear stabilizer bars, Nissan sport brakes, and vehicle speed-sensitive power steering. The feel of the wheel is good, however it does not telescope, so finding the right driving position might be challenging for some drivers.
Inside there’s a 7” infotainment screen that includes your navigation (with live traffic), phone and audio. There are 23 buttons just below the screen, which seems a little excessive, however our only real complaint was that with all of those buttons, there’s no button to access your audio. You have to press one of the 3 source audio buttons (FM-AM, SAT, DISC-AUX) in order to display your audio on the screen.
One interesting feature is the RCA inputs in the center arm rest. This allows you to connect a video player that can be watched on your infotainment screen when you’re not moving. So, you could drive to a romantic lookout and watch the sunset with a video of a fireplace playing on the screen. Or, you could watch your favorite show while you’re waiting for your friend at the airport. Of course you could also just use your phone, but isn’t it nice to have a second option?
The seats are comfortable and higher trims have a mix of cloth and leather with heated and ventilated functionality. The gauges on the dash help create a sporty feel as do the analog speedometer and tachometer gauges. The top goes up or down in around 20 seconds, which feels extremely slow, however it is comparable to the competition. Also note that it only works when you’re stopped.
The interior materials are made up of both semi cheap looking plastics as well and premium feeling suede. Seems like an odd combination. And speaking of odd combinations, the Z is the first car I’ve ever seen with 2 backup camera screens. Put the car in reverse and you’ll see a backup camera on the infotainment screen AND on the rearview mirror. I guess you can never be too safe.
Someone wanting a small, exhilarating convertible has a wide variety of choices. On the low end (both in price and performance) you have the Mazda MX-5 Miata and Fiat 124 Spider. Those rock around 155 horsepower and 148 lb.-ft. of torque and start right around $25,000. Then on the higher end (without going totally out of control), you have something like the Mercedes-Benz SL Roadster or Jaguar F-Type. The SL starts around $88,000 while the F-Type starts around $64,000.
Enter the 370Z. The base car starts at $41,820 and the Sport Touring trim starts at $49,400. Not too bad, however you then have to consider the Mercedes-Benz SLC Roadster that starts at $48,000 and the new BMW Z4 that will probably start just over $50,000. So by spending a little more, people can get a “European sports car,” and to some that means a lot. If you can find a Z for under $40k, now you’re starting to get a good deal.