Transformers - 2009 Nissan 370Z Touring Long-Term Road Test
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2009 Nissan 370Z Long-Term Road Test

2009 Nissan 370Z Touring: Transformers

June 26, 2009

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Nissan has made a big effort to improve the apparent quality of the Z-car's interior, adding a lot more architectural elements, upgrading the quality of the upholstery and trim, increasing the number of features, and multiplying the number of storage areas.

The trouble is, there's just too much going on here for me. Instead of operational efficiency, what we have here is aggressive conceptual complexity. It's like watching Transformers from the front row.

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For all the justifiable criticism leveled at the interior of the 2003 Nissan 350Z, I think I prefer this treatment. Sure, the doors are trimmed by featureless expanses of black plastic, but the presentation of the key elements is far better, even though the basic architecture is clearly similar to the 370Z. The 350Z's three instrument dials on the top of the dash were a real design breakthrough at the time, and I still prefer their use of multi-function electronics (including tire pressure and lap times) to the all-inclusive multi-function readout on the left side of the 370Z's dash, which manages to make even fuel level a mystery.

Sometimes good design is about utility, not just stylistic excess. Given the choice between the GT-R execution of the 370Z and the plainness of the original 350Z, I pick the 350Z.

Michael Jordan, Executive Editor @ 8,350 miles


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