The big V8 Falcons and Commodores are gone and that opens an opportunity for cars like the Nissan 370Z.
Boasting that typical Nissan sports car look and feel, the 370Z isn’t the freshest thing on the shelf – but it is a good option of you don’t want a Ford Mustang, or if the Toyota 86/Subaru BRZ and Mazda MX-5 are a touch small for you.
The Nissan offerings big disadvantage is that it’s only a two-seater (as is the Mazda offering), however for many buyers (those with grown up children for example) this might not be an issue.
What it lacks in seating capacity and styling freshness it makes up for with great driving dynamics.
The Nissan 370Z available in your Nissan dealership now dates back about a decade – and this is evident.
But is that an issue? Perhaps not, I reckon it still looks pretty sexy and with the N-SPORT version’s Chicane Yellow paint it certainly turns head.
If the yellow is a bit too much for you (and you don’t want to be other road users ‘spotto’) then the offering is also available in white and black.
The black 18″ alloy wheels (exposing the Brembo brakes to the world) complete the package.
The weaker points in the Nissan sports cars cabin are all tied to things that really show up the vehicles age.
For example the 1980’s inspired LED fuel gauge.
If you’re familiar with recent/current Nissan vehicles you will feel right at home in the Nissan 370Z cabin.
Things like the infotainment and climate controls and the feel of the interior surfaces for example.
The sports seats are certainly designed more for the young and svelte than the middle aged and portly.
I found some discomfort over a longer period behind the wheel of the Nissan with the lower seat bolster pushing into my under thigh.
The controls for the sports seats sit on the inside of the seat (near the console) and this takes a little getting used to.
My colleague Simon Lai recently had a drive of the 370Z too, he wasn’t a fan of the somewhat large and rather round steering wheel, conversely I quite liked the feel.
The model also lacks telescopic steering wheel adjustment, the Nissan coming with just tilt adjust.
The infotainment system misses out on Digital Radio and don’t go looking for Apple CarPlay/Android Auto either.
While cabin storage areas are generally small, for example there really is nowhere to store your phone (I was putting mine in the small door nooks).
Standard kit in the 2018 Nissan 370Z N-SPORT runs to:
- Eight-speaker stereo
- Reverse camera
- Push-button ignition
- Cruise control
- Electric/heated seats
Drive and Engine
This is where the Nissan offering holds its own, this is the bit that really counts when it comes to buying a fun machine.
Fortunately, Nissan’s 370Z delivers driving dynamics that make you look past any other shortcomings of the model.
The vehicles weighs nearly 1.5 tonnes, that’s pretty hefty for a sports car, however the 245kW 3.7 litre V6 engine does a good job of getting it up and running.
The manual, which is what my test car was fitted with, provides the better of the on-road experience and with the revs up a squeeze of the accelerator in third gear is a sweet experience.
The car isn’t blisteringly quick, but it does give you a sports car experience for sensible dollars.
Nissan has the steering set-up nicely tuned, it’s direct and rather light too – no complaints from me here, while the ride is a good mix of firm, yet not uncomfortable on bumpy surfaces.
The power to weight ratio in the manual 370Z is 167.0 – this is better than a comparable MX-5 (111.8), 86/BRZ (124.8) and four-cylinder Mustang (143.0), but lower than the V8 Mustang/manual (195.7).
There is no ANCAP safety rating for the Nissan 370Z range and the model misses out on safety tech like Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB).
There are front, side and head protecting airbags, but no knee protection airbag for the driver.
- Fun drive experience
- Decent value for money
- Still looks OK
Not So Good Bits
- Somewhat outdated offering
- Lack of cabin storage areas
- Lack of safety assist features
The Nissan 370Z is still a likable, fun and attractive offering, despite starting to feel its age.
It sits nicely between the Mustang and the smaller Japanese offerings and delivers a sports car feel on reasonable dollars.
A few extra features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and AEB would be welcome though.
Facts and Figures: 2018 Nissan 370Z N-SPORT
- Engine: 3.7L V6 petrol 245kW/363Nm
- Transmission: Six-speed automatic or six-speed manual
- Warranty: 3 Yrs/100,000km
- Safety: Not tested
- Origin: Japan
- Price: From $48,490