Used 1996 Nissan 300ZX Review

Edmunds expert review

What's new for 1996

It's the end of the world as we know it. The final Z-car is produced for 1996.

Vehicle overview

Tired of industry jokes about its overweight and understyled mid-eighties 300ZX, Nissan designers decided to quiet jesters by redesigning its sports car for the nineties. First, they re-injected the sports into the car by installing a 24-valve 3.0-liter V6 under the hood in both turbo and non-turbo form. Then, a timeless interior was created that put the driver in control of all that power under the hood. After that, a shape that was alluring yet menacing, sophisticated yet rough-edged, understated yet bold, was penned to surround the excellent passenger compartment and fine mechanicals. That was in 1990.

This year, the 300ZX still draws stares and instills lust. It's not the fastest car in its class anymore, nor the most technologically advanced, nor the most refined, but like George Foreman, the 300ZX is still champ. It does everything a sports car should do, does it well, and it looks even better than it did when it was introduced. The 300ZX is a no-apologies kind of car.

Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, Nissan says this is the final year for the 300ZX. A replacement is not planned. Seems that all that disposable income that used to be spent on sports cars is going toward the purchase of luxury sport-utility vehicles. The sports car market has sagged low enough to kill off the Toyota MR2, the Dodge Stealth, and now the Nissan 300ZX. Look for the Mazda RX-7 to follow suit shortly.

For 1996, Nissan has made the 300ZX compliant with new emissions regulations. No other changes have been made. The final chapter of the Z-car history has been written, so if a 300ZX is what you've been saving your pennies for, this is the last year to get yourself a brand-new one.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.