I picked up my silver beauty while looking for a commute vehicle a few years back. In the market for a Honda Accord, I noticed her on the used car lot and suddenly had a desire to experience a convertible for the first time in my life. Over the ensuing 3 years, I've had many enjoyable experiences and a few bad ones. Overall, the positives far outweigh the negatives.
At 12 years old, she still looks fresh and sharp; especially with the top down. Performance is acceptable. The 3.5 liter V-6 is responsive and the power delivery is smooth and satisfying. The exhaust note is a "love it or hate it" affair for most folks and fortunately for me, I have no issues with how the Z sounds. Sure it's sort of droney an does not sound like a V-8. But in reality, it's not supposed to sound like a Mustang and thank God it does not sound like a modified Civic.
I drive 27 miles one way to work and I was slightly disappointed that 23 MPG is the best I can achieve. Around town, I'll get 18-19 MPG which is marginal. That said, I did not buy the Z for fuel economy and it's not a huge issue for me. I do find it odd that my 2015 Ram 1500 with a 5.7 V8 will actually knock down better highway mileage than the Z - but I guess that's the beauty of an 8-speed transmission.
At 6'4", the interior is somewhat cramped - but I tend to prefer smaller vehicles - so it's not a problem for me. Just by looking at the car, it's obvious it's not going to be as roomy as a Honda Accord. The way I view it, if i wanted a roomier interior, I wouldn't have purchased the Z. The trunk is practically useless but the interior does offer several cubbies; some of which require seat manipulation to access.
During my three years of ownership, I've had a few minor and one major issue. The driver's side door would not latch and required a new mechanism - which ended up being a lot more expensive than I anticipated. The remote fuel filler door actuator stopped working which required replacement. The driver's side power window broke which required replacement. And finally, the transmission needed to be rebuilt at 130,000 miles. I've had a few annoying minor issues which I have not yet addressed such as the storage compartment on the dash (I do not have navigation) is broken and will not open and the weather stripping on the outside of driver side window is loose. All in all, I expected some minor issues with a 100,000+ vehicle. The transmission issue was expensive but again, not unexpected for a high mileage vehicle. The engine still runs flawlessly and per my mechanic, seems to be in excellent shape.
Compared to my '94 Mustang Cobra, the Z is rock-solid with no body roll and precise steering. I rarely push it to the limit, but the handling seems to be very adequate. I have had a few occasions where I lost control of the back end in wet conditions under fairly unremarkable conditions. In other words, I did not feel the loss of control was warranted based on the driving input. Ever since I've had those "scares" - I tend to pay very close attention in the rain.
There are a few days per year when, despite the lack of convenience, poor fuel economy and added weight - owning a convertible is a magical experience. When the weather is perfect and the sun is shining brightly... It's for those type of days that make inconveniences of owning a convertible totally worth it.
My Z is a daily-driver and I'll likely replace her next year - but she'll remain in my garage as a weekend car. To say that I've been completely satisfied with my purchase would be an understatement. There are faster, better handling, more modern choices out there - but there is just something special about the Z that make me smile each time I take the wheel.
I was looking for my first convertible as a birthday present for myself and found this '04 with 41,500 miles, platinum with a navy blue top. No dents, no scratches, leather in good shape. Only problem was that the interior plastic seems notorious for looking pretty beat-up, especially around the interior door handles and the center console. Fortunately, my issue's were all on the center console. I took the center console apart (PIA), which took a lot of time and care and sprayed all of the black parts with flat black plastic paint (Home Depot) and it came out great. While I had the thing apart, I also installed a back-up camera (make sure your head unit will support this before you go through the trouble) which I got on line for $15. This is very helpful for backing up with the top up! This car is a hoot to drive and holds the road well with the Michellin Pilot Sports it's wearing. I am so glad I got the manual transmission as it is much more drivable than the automatics I tested. I have put a little over 4,000 miles on the car and am still really enjoying my toy, and can say the following about performance: The Z holds the road well with the above stated tires (45s up front and 75s rear) but has noticeable body roll. Maybe it's a convertible thing. It is quick but not as fast as it seems with the top down. With the right tires my Infiniti G37 will blow the doors off this car in a straight race, and possibly do so on a slalom course. With all its power, the Infiniti also beats the Z for mileage by a long shot. I realize I'm comparing apples and aardvarks but, there it is. That said, you just can't discount the "fun factor" of driving top down in this beautiful car on a winding road. To anyone looking for a fun second car, do your homework. You'll find better cars but I don't think you'll find a better value.
Love this car. This is my third Z. I think it is the best. Only problem area is small -- the doors will not stay open. Replacing the door stops at a dealership cost $250. Update: got the door problem fixed at dealership. $250. Update: at 102,000 miles, still no maintenance costs other than oil and filter. Runs like a champ. Update: at 106,000 miles this car feels like new. No problems. I guess it is time to have the spark plugs replaced. At a dealer estimate of $300, it's not a minor expense. Update at 110,000 miles just did brake service on the front. First major repair cost of $380. Update at 125,000. No major repairs. Need rear brakes and spark plugs. But car is fine and humming along.
I loved this car. Owned it for 3 years and drove 70,000 miles. I sold it for just 3,000 less then I paid for it. I only had one mechanical issue with this car, it went into sleeper mode a few times. It was easy to fix with no out of pocket expense. this car was very fast handled great no complaints. I would love to own one again.