2018 Nissan 370Z

2018 Nissan 370Z Review

The 2018 Nissan 370Z leaves much to be desired as a performance machine and as a daily driver.
author
by James Riswick
Edmunds Editor

Edmunds expert review

There is a decided lack of affordable sports cars these days. In fact, you wouldn't need all your fingers to count them. So we should celebrate the fact that the 2018 Nissan 370Z is so singularly focused on being a sports car with its two seats, small dimensions and powerful, non-turbocharged V6 engine.

Unfortunately, this generation 370Z came out for 2009. There hasn't been a full redesign since, which is an eternity in car terms, and Nissan hasn't made many substantive updates either. That means the 370Z continues to be just as unrefined and inconvenient for your daily drive as it was about a decade ago, but now it has also been surpassed in performance by newer competitors.

These rivals also provide more features and a more livable driving experience. You could probably get by knowing that the Z lacks advanced accident avoidance safety features or smartphone features such as Apple CarPlay. But the 370Z is so dated, it doesn't even come standard with a USB port.

Having a back-to-basics sports car certainly doesn't have to be a bad thing. But when competitors outdo the 370Z in both performance and livability, it's hard to recommend.



What's new for 2018

For 2018, the 370Z gets subtle styling enhancements, including darkened light housings front and back, a revised lower rear fascia and different 19-inch wheels. Manual-equipped cars get a new high-performance clutch, and a new Heritage Edition effectively adds some special graphics to the base 370Z coupe with the option of black or yellow paint. Finally, the base Nismo trim has been dropped, leaving only the Nismo Tech behind.

We recommend

We'll often recommend buying the most basic version of a sports car if you really only care about performance (and you'd have to with the 370Z). However, the base Z not only does without necessities like a USB port and a rearview camera, and it also lacks the manual transmission's SynchroRev Match feature — one of the 370Z's best attributes. As such, if the 370Z is your cup of tea, we'd have to recommend the Sport Tech trim level. Yes, it's pricey, but the 370Z just isn't agreeable without it.




Trim levels & features

The 2018 Nissan 370Z is a two-seat sports car available as a hatchback coupe or a soft-top convertible. The coupe comes in base, Sport, Sport Tech, Touring and Nismo Tech trims, while the convertible can be had as the base, Touring and Touring Sport. All trim levels come with a 3.7-liter V6 engine paired to either a six-speed manual transmission or a seven-speed automatic transmission. This engine produces 332 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque in regular 370Z trim levels and 350 hp and 276 lb-ft in the Nismo.

The base 370Z comes standard with 18-inch wheels, summer performance tires, automatic xenon headlights, LED running lights and taillights, keyless ignition and entry, cruise control, automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped tilt-only steering wheel, Bluetooth phone connectivity, and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack.

Upgrade to the Sport trim (only available on the coupe) and you'll get a limited-slip differential, upgraded brakes, a rev-matching downshift feature for the manual transmission, 19-inch wheels, heated mirrors, chin and rear deck spoilers, and an eight-speaker Bose audio system.

The Touring trim loses the Sport's performance upgrades but adds leather and simulated suede upholstery, a rear cargo cover (coupe only), heated four-way power-adjustable seats (with adjustable driver lumbar), an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system, navigation, a USB port, voice controls, a rearview camera, Bluetooth audio connectivity, satellite radio, a media player interface and the Bose audio system. The convertible gets ventilated front seats.

The Sport Tech coupe gets most of the equipment from the Sport and Touring models minus the heated power seats, upgraded upholstery and cargo cover. The convertible's Touring Sport mirrors the Sport Tech's equipment, but it is missing the front-chin and rear-deck spoilers. It does get the upgraded seats and upholstery, though.

The 370Z Nismo Tech gets a more powerful version of the standard V6 and features the same or upgraded versions of the Sport trim's performance hardware, including an exclusive sport-tuned suspension, upgraded tires, and special brake fluid and hoses. The Nismo also features unique aerodynamic body pieces, Recaro sport seats, a simulated suede-trimmed steering wheel and the Touring's auto-dimming rearview mirror and various upgraded electronics features, including the 7-inch touchscreen interface and navigation system.

The only option is the Heritage Edition package, exclusive to the base coupe. It features exterior decals, yellow interior trim, and a choice of either black or yellow paint.



Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2016 Nissan 370Z Base Coupe (3.7L V6 | 6-speed Manual | RWD).

NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current 370Z has received some revisions, including a new high-performance clutch for 2018. Our findings remain broadly applicable to this year's 370Z.

Driving3.0

Performance is average in most categories. The 370Z's brutish shifter deserves some of the blame (especially without the SynchroRev Match function). Brake pedal sensitivity negatively impacts drivability to the point that it requires practice to master. Handling is average for the segment.

Acceleration

The non-Nismo 370Z's zero-to-60-mph time of 5.5 seconds is reasonably quick, but you have to work for it. The six-speed manual's shift action is unnecessarily heavy and especially so at higher rpm. Without the Sport trims' otherwise excellent SynchroRev Match function, this is not a good manual transmission.

Braking

In panic situations, ABS noise and tire noise are louder than similar cars. The 3,300-pound coupe stopped from 60 mph in 114 feet, which is long-ish for a sports car with summer tires. In normal driving, the brakes are overly sensitive upon initial application.

Steering

Good turn-in and responsiveness but not a lot of road feel. On steady-state freeway turns, the steering weight would go numb temporarily, requiring driver input to re-establish the proper resistance.

Handling

Relatively well balanced. Mild understeer at the limit is mitigated well by the stability control system. The Yokohama Advan Sport summer tires offer moderate levels of grip. The suspension is firm and compliant over most surfaces.

Drivability

Control efforts are all over the place. The brake pedal is jumpy and the shifter is notchy. At least the precise steering and small proportions make it easy to maneuver.

Comfort3.0

Comfort is not the strong suit of any car with sporting intentions, and the 370Z reflects these norms. It is loud, and the ride is firm. If a quieter and more compliant ride is important, there are other options in this segment worth test-driving.

Seat comfort

Lateral support is commendable, but the firm seats without a lot of adjustments grow uncomfortable in a short period of time. The steering wheel is also tilt-only. Hard plastic armrests on the doors with a softer center console.

Ride comfort

This ride is stiff but no more so than the average sport coupe. Its suspension does a reasonably good job absorbing smaller bumps. Larger bumps are more dramatic. Again, typical characteristics for a vehicle in this segment.

Noise & vibration

Levels of engine, tire and wind noise are prominent. Rivals are not quite this loud, but they are close. The ever-present and unrefined noise and vibration felt through the drivetrain are hard to overlook.

Interior3.0

The Z's cabin is dated. It's hard to see out of. The shape of the door release handle is awkward — that might be acceptable if it wasn't something you touched every time you drive the car. The coupe's fastback shape and lack of a back seat reduce storage.

Ease of use

The controls are all within reach inside this compact cabin. The base model has an array of buttons and knobs only — simple and effective. Taller drivers may bang elbows on the inboard seat bolster during second and fourth gear shifts.

Getting in/getting out

A low sports-car stance is expected from the class and makes entry and exit difficult. The vertical door handle pulls are not the best design. The doors do open fully and aren't too heavy.

Driving position

Only the Touring trims get power-adjustable seats, and even then, you only get four-way power adjustment — the rest are still manual. The tilt-only steering wheel doesn't telescope. In other words, you may struggle to get comfortable.

Roominess

Coupes of similar performance and character offer back seats. The Z seats only two in a confining cabin. The coupe's bubble roof design at least equates to excellent headroom, even for 6-footers, but expect to rub elbows with the front passenger.

Visibility

By design, a high-beltline, fastback coupe body style creates blind spots, but rearward visibility is still notably poor. A rearview camera comes on the Touring and Sport Tech trims, but it should be standard.

Quality

Average quality materials. Cloth seats and medium-hard plastics throughout. Our test car had a sticky operation for its passenger door handle and a creaky-sounding shift knob.

Utility2.5

Despite the hatchback trunk, cargo space is unremarkable but generally average for a two-seat car. Pretty good small-item storage. Similarly priced performance cars with back seats do offer more utility.

Small-item storage

Three cupholders each fit a medium-size water bottle, which is impressive for a sports car (whose cupholders are often small and compromised). Two open bins behind the front seats are somewhat useful.

Cargo space

The coupe has a meager 6.9 cubic feet of space, good compared to a Miata but much less useful than what a Camaro or Mustang offers (and they're hardly cargo-hauling champs). The convertible drops to a laughable 4.2 cubic feet, making it tough to pack much more than a couple soft-sided weekend bags.

Technology2.0

The 370Z is an old car, and its technology is not surprisingly dated … and that's if you get any technology at all. A USB port, Bluetooth audio and a touchscreen interface are only on the Touring and Sport Tech trims.

Audio & navigation

The base 370Z has a simple radio faceplate, which makes it easy to use when driving quickly is your top priority. But it's seriously lacking in modern functionality. The available touchscreen is dated but generally easy to use.

Smartphone integration

Bluetooth phone connectivity is standard, but a USB port is not. That's inexcusable in 2018 and lacking standard Bluetooth audio isn't much better.

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.