Affordable two-seaters are pretty rare these days. Fortunately, the Nissan 370Z is still around and, as always, it puts the driver's desires first. This is a sports car in the most traditional sense, and it emphasizes driving precision rather than driving comfort.
A big part of the 2017 Nissan 370Z's appeal is how well it goes around turns. It's easy to drive quickly and boasts an uncommon level of precision thanks to its relatively small size and light curb weight. Take a 370Z along your favorite serpentine road and you'll get a feeling of nimbleness that bigger sport coupes can't match. The 370Z's got a decent motor under its hood, too. The 3.7-liter V6 puts out a strong 332 horsepower (350 on the Nismo model) and can be paired with either a six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic transmission, both of which can match revs for expertly smooth downshifting.
Unfortunately, there's more to the ownership experience than just driving fast. One of the biggest problems with the Nissan 370Z is the fact that it's gone largely unchanged since it was introduced in 2009. Every major competitor has received a thorough redesign in that time period, and that has left the 370Z looking a bit stale and behind-the-times from a technology standpoint. Also, the Z's tiny cabin, small trunk and elevated amounts of road noise continue to be notable drawbacks.
So what can rivals offer that the Nissan 370Z doesn't? Primarily, comfort and practicality without any loss in performance. The 2017 Chevrolet Camaro and 2017 Ford Mustang are both amazingly good, providing rear seats (albeit small ones) for extra passengers, more cargo space and better rides over broken pavement. They both have wicked-fast V8's available, too, and more modern interiors with recent tech like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. You might also take a look at the Subaru BRZ and the Mazda Miata, which is one of our driver-favorites, or even entry-level luxury two-doors like the Audi TT and BMW 2 Series.
In the end, the 2017 Nissan 370Z isn't the most real-world-livable choice but is compelling enough to take one for a test-drive. It's up to you to decide which set of attributes you value most.
The 2017 Nissan 370Z is a two-seater sports car that is available as a hatchback coupe or soft-top convertible (Roadster). The coupe comes in base, Sport, Touring, Sport Tech, Nismo and Nismo Tech trim levels. The Roadster comes in base, Touring and Touring Sport trims.
The base-model 370Z coupe and Roadster come standard with 18-inch wheels and summer performance tires, automatic bi-xenon headlights, LED running lights and taillights, keyless ignition and entry, cruise control, automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped tilt-only steering wheel, Bluetooth phone connectivity and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack.
Upgrade to the Sport trim (only available on the coupe) and you'll get a limited-slip differential, upgraded brakes, lightweight 19-inch alloy wheels, heated mirrors, chin and rear deck spoilers and an eight-speaker Bose audio system with Active Noise Control and Active Sound Enhancer technology.
The Touring trim loses the Sport's performance upgrades but adds creature comforts like leather/simulated-suede upholstery and suede door trim panels, a rear cargo cover (coupe only), heated seats with four-way power seats (with adjustable driver lumbar), ventilated/heated leather seats (roadster only), aluminum pedals, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system with navigation, USB connectivity, voice controls, a rearview camera, Bluetooth audio connectivity and satellite radio.
The Sport Tech coupe gets most of the equipment from the Sport and Touring models minus the heated power seats, upgraded upholstery, aluminum pedals or cargo cover. The Touring Sport Roadster mirrors the Sport Tech's equipment, but it is missing the front-chin and rear-deck spoilers. It does get the seats/upholstery/pedals and cargo cover though.
The 370Z Nismo gets a more powerful version of the standard V6 and features the same or upgraded versions of the Sport trim's performance hardware, including an exclusive sport-tuned suspension, upgraded tires and special brake fluid and hoses. The Nismo also features unique aerodynamic body pieces, leather/simulated-suede manual Recaro sport seats (eight-way driver, four-way passenger) and a suede-trimmed steering wheel. The Nismo Tech trim level adds the Touring's auto-dimming rearview mirror and its various upgraded electronics features, including the 7-inch touchscreen interface and the navigation system.