Better Than A Hot Hatch? - 2009 Nissan 370Z Long-Term Road Test

2009 Nissan 370Z Long-Term Road Test

2009 Nissan 370Z: Better Than A Hot Hatch?

November 19, 2009

2009 Nissan 370Z CA 198.jpg

Had an unusually interesting selection of cars to choose from last night: Challenger, FX50, and 370Z. I went with the Z -- not because it's my favorite of the bunch (I'll give it a tie for second with the FX), but because I wanted something that would fit in my parking space. The Z's compact size is something I always appreciate when I'm driving it. Seems like every car these days has a growth spurt with each redesign; thank you, Nissan, for making this thing 2.6 inches shorter than its 350Z predecessor.

But there are other pint-sized performance cars out there. Riswick and I spent some time in our long-term Mazdaspeed 3 and VW's new GTI yesterday, and I was struck by how appealing these sport compacts have become. For $25k, you can take your pick: superior refinement and rear passenger room (GTI), or fully caffeinated performance (MS3). Either way, you've got four doors, a bunch of cargo space, and enough character to keep all but maximally hardcore enthusiasts entertained. No, they'll never have rear-wheel drive, but in other respects, the latest hot hatches are really nipping at the heels of dedicated sports cars like the Z. They're considerably easier on your bank account, too.

Josh Sadlier, Associate Editor, @ 16,045 miles

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