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2020 Nissan 370Z Review

LIKES
  • Still looks good outside
  • Spirited performance
  • Base Sport is reasonably priced
DISLIKES
  • Interior felt old a decade ago
  • Light on features
  • Brutal Nismo
BUYING TIP
  • The Nissan 370Z is no longer available as a convertible.
The 2020 Nissan 370Z is an old-school sports car that handles and accelerates well but feels like the dated design that it is.

The 2020 Nissan 370Z is old enough to be an awkward 12-year old middle school student. With an interior that was barely modern in 2009 and a gravely powertrain to match, the Z’s old-school approach may put some potential buyers off. As far as pure sports car experiences go, however, sometimes age is a merit.


We give the 370Z 4.8 overall, taking its stale styling and features into account but giving praise for its handling and value.

After debuting a dozen years ago, the 370Z has barely changed on the inside or outside since. The interior felt dated even in 2009, but the 370Z’s exterior hasn’t aged as poorly thanks to clean, classic lines. For 2020, the Z sports car line celebrates half a century of existence, so a new 50th Anniversary Edition is available with white and red or silver and black paint job and special upholstery for an additional $2,600 atop the Sport trim on which it’s based.

Additionally, the slow-selling 370Z convertible is dropped from the lineup.

The 370Z features a 332-horsepower 3.7-liter V-6 and is paired with either a 6-speed manual with available rev-matching downshift technology or a 7-speed automatic with paddle shifters. Though its naturally-aspirated power delivery is a delight, this aging powertrain can get raspy when pushed, and not in a pleasing way. Handling is taut and responsive though, making the Z a throwback driving experience, and one that’s downright track-ready with the Nismo model.

The options list is predictably sparse in base trim, but all Zs get LED daytime running lights, an aluminum hood, doors, and trunk, and… that’s about it. Sport models get 19-inch wheels, a limited-slip differential, rev-matching technology for the manual transmission, and Bose audio, while the Sport Touring trim adds leather seats and touchscreen navigation. With only two seats and limited cargo space, the 370Z is best used as a toy, not a daily driver.

The racing-inspired Nismo model adds special wheels, suspension, and body cladding that are designed to turn up the intensity, and the V-6 gets a bump to 350 horsepower.

No active safety technology is available on the 370Z due to its age, and because it’s a low-volume sports car, and no crash tests have been conducted either.

At up to 22 mpg combined, the 370Z is largely a victim of its age in the fuel economy department, but you don’t buy a sports car to save on gas, do you?

Styling
The 2020 Nissan 370Z has hardly changed in 12 years, but why mess with what works?

When it comes to looks, the 2020 Nissan 370Z should be highly recognizable after 12 years. But clean lines, great proportions, and a cool new 50th Anniversary Edition still make this dinosaur stand out. We give it 6 out of 10 in the looks department.

The 370Z last got a very minor visual tweak in 2018, and for 2020, there’s a new  50th Anniversary Edition that celebrates half a century of the Z family of sports cars. With a red and white or silver and black paint job, the roof and hood design coupled with dual forward-slanting side stripes look back to the iconic race cars of the early ‘70s.

Other than that, the 370Z is still handsome, proportional, and unmistakable for anything else on the road, though after this long on sale, it stands out less than ever.

The cabin, however, was a letdown when it debuted in 2009 and is even more so today. It's not so much that it's an unattractive design, it's that it's wrought with trim, switches, and displays that look as old as they are. Adding leather and alcantara to higher-priced models is like wrapping an IKEA futon in Italian leather.

Performance
Sharp handling and responsive power are pluses, but the 2020 Nissan 370Z can’t keep up with more modern competitors.

The 2020 Nissan 370Z is a fun sports car in its own right, but compared to much more modern competitors, it feels like a dinosaur. Still, sometimes the old ways are best, so we give it 7 out of 10 for performance, with points for its balance and its steering.

The Z keeps the 3.7-liter V-6 it’s had for over a decade now, and with 332 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque, this naturally-aspirated powerplant is one you have to rev hard to get the most out of. With a 6-speed manual transmission as standard and an optional 7-speed automatic, the immediate power delivery is a delightful throwback, but a raspy engine note spoils the experience slightly. Also, don’t bother with the auto. This is a sports car, after all, and with active rev-matching available on manual-equipped Sport models and above, it’s easier to drive with three pedals than many others in its class.

A short wheelbase and well-sorted suspension make for a great handling experience, but its old bones are not nearly as refined as we’d like.

The 370Z Nismo turns up the power to 350 hp and adds sport-tuned suspension, exhaust, wheels, body cladding, and a host of other go-fast options. Naturally, its ride quality is harsh, but grip is excellent, and the power boost makes a noticeable difference.

Comfort & Quality
The 2020 Nissan 370Z is hardly practical, but what two-seat sports car is?

Though the throwback driving experience is a blast, the 2020 Nissan 370Z makes plenty of compromises in the comfort and quality department, from its ancient materials to its miniscule cargo space. We give it 3 out of 10 for its low-buck interior, limited utility, and poor outward vision that are offset somewhat by terrific seats. 

Nissan has a long history of making comfortable front seats, and thankfully, the 370Z is all front seat. For two occupants, the poor rear visibility and low seating position can make it feel cramped, but what else do you want from a sports car?

Unfortunately, 6.9 cubic feet of cargo space is just too small, so don’t think for a second that the Z is suitable as a daily driver. Standard 18-inch wheels make for an acceptable ride, but the 19- and 20-inchers available on higher-tier models range from stiff to downright unbearable over rough roads. Road noise is prevalent too, especially on base models where Bose active noise cancellation isn’t an option.

Though the base cloth upholstery feels low-rent, optional leather and faux suede aren’t much better, so it’s your choice if you want to pay more for nicer materials or not.

Safety
The 2020 Nissan 370Z hasn’t received any official crash testing or safety scores.

The 2020 Nissan 370Z has never been officially crash tested and probably won’t be, so we’re unable to give it a score for its safety.

Because of its age, the 370Z lacks most advanced safety features that are now common on new vehicles, even sports cars. There are no blind-spot monitors, collision warnings, automatic emergency braking, or adaptive cruise control available, but the 370Z does at least offer a standard rearview camera to help navigate its bulky behind into tight spaces.

Features
The 2020 Nissan 370Z is available in several trims, but it’s missing some key features.

Besides a new edition, the 2020 Nissan 370Z gets minimal changes for this year. Its shockingly-dated interior and features warrant an 4 out of 10 here. We dial a point back for the 370Z’s lack of advanced smartphone compatibility.

The 2020 370Z is available in base, Sport, Sport Touring, and Nismo trim levels.

Base models get 18-inch wheels, HID headlights with LED daytime running lights, a rearview camera, cloth upholstery, Bluetooth, and a USB port for about $31,000 to start after an $895 destination charge. Opting for the 7-speed automatic adds $1,400 to the price.
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Sport models add 19-inch wheels, a limited slip differential, Bose audio, active noise cancellation and sound enhancement for $34,715, and they’re probably the best buy in the linup. The 370Z Sport Touring adds navigation, a rear cargo cover, and leather upholstery for $40,400 and is only available with an automatic transmission.

Opting for the Nismo model adds sporty body cladding, suspension, exhaust, and a power boost to 350 horsepower along with a unique faux-suede and leather-lined interior with Recaro seats for a shocking $46,700. 

At least discounts are common. 

Fuel Economy
The 2020 Nissan 370Z is no fuel miser largely in part to its ancient powertrain.

The 2020 Nissan 370Z is not a thrifty car in the fuel economy department, but what sports car is? We give it X out of 10 here regardless. 

For 2020, the Nissan 370Z with the 6-speed manual transmission is rated at 17 mpg city, 26 highway, and 20 combined mpg. Opting form the 7-speed automatic improves things slightly to 19/26/22 mpg.

All Zs run on premium fuel, so expect to pay a bit more at the pump on average.


View my Flipboard Magazine.

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