If you own a 2014 Nissan 370Z with a six-speed manual transmission and it doesn’t make you smile at least once a day, you’re dead.
Either that or you completely bought the wrong car. You see, the 370Z is a driver’s car. In fact, it’s for the driver only. There is a reason it has only a single cup holder. It’s all about the driving experience and those annoying passengers scream way too much when you drift through a turn.
Let’s start up front. The 370Z has a 3.7-liter V6 that delivers 332 horsepower. While a manual transmission will make almost any engine more fun, it delivers serious joy with this kind of power. I really liked when I forgot what I was driving and got the chance to downshift and give it some throttle. What a blast. It delivers 18 MPG in the city and 26 MPG on the highway. Although, you’ll have a hard time making good numbers if you’re enjoying the car the way you’re supposed to.
My test car was the Touring model that had the sport package. That meant I got optional P245/45R19 front tires and P275/35R19 rears. It also included sport brakes, a chin deflector, rear spoiler, euro-tuned sport shocks and SynchroRev (which makes for smoother shifting). It’s performance that will cost an additional $3030.
When you get the chance to work the suspension, you’ll love it even more. It really makes you feel like you can do almost anything (just don’t do it in a school zone).
Of course all that great performance comes at a price. My test car was not especially comfortable. Oh, the 8-way seats are supportive but after a five-hour trip to California my butt was actually kind of sore. Plus that killer performance ride is not exactly relaxing during a long haul.
Inside, the car looks properly sporty. It has three gauges on the top of the dash, just like the original 240Z. My test car was orange (OK, officially persimmon, but it’s not an especially manly word) and black which looked great. The synthetic suede and leather were just the right side of macho to make up for the color. My wife said the big Z on the three spoked steering wheel looked like Zorro was the last guy to drive the car.
I have to say that the electronics on the instrument display are looking dated. It has an orange LED glow that was trendy about a decade ago. The center display has the usual assortment of controls that worked fine. My car had the optional navigation package. It wasn’t especially impressive, but then it’s not alone. As I often mention, most in-car navigation systems aren’t as good as the google maps on the my phone.
Having driven the 370Z convertible last year, I enjoyed the quieter coupe. But the trunk is still unimpressive. We were only able to squeeze two small carry-ons in the space. Great for a very short weekend getaway, just don’t offer to pick up your mother and her bags at the airport (besides, unless she’s Lyn St. James, there’s that whole passenger screaming thing again).
While my test car sticker totaled $41,460, the 370Z starts out at $29,990. Keep it on the cheap-side and it’s an awful lot of fun and looks for the money. On the other hand, if you’re into all out performance, bump up to the NISMO that brings extra power and a raced tuned suspension. That starts around $43,000.
But if all you want is a smile, you don’t have to get carried away. Six speeds and 332 horsepower will do it every day.