2014 Nissan 370Z Review

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Nelson Ireson Nelson Ireson Senior Editor
May 28, 2014

The 2014 Nissan 370Z continues to deliver good value and big sports car grins.

The 2014 Nissan 370Z carries the Z-car tradition with pride, resolving the legacy of the past with the demands of modern sports cars. Evolved from a minimalist coupe, the 370Z has grown into a full-featured grand tourer available in both hardtop and roadster form, and in many ways, it’s the best Z-car to date.

Available in both coupe and convertible form, the 2014 Nissan 370Z carries forward largely unchanged from last year's model, though prices have fallen by more than $3,000 for some versions.

Unlike the 350Z that preceded it, the 370Z wears its soft top as elegantly as it does its sleek coupe shell. An aggressively styled nose sweeps up and back into a laid-back windshield and short, taut cabin before ending in a bluff, snub rear end. The proportions are half modern wide-track sports coupe and half cabin-rearward classic Z-car. Inside, the 370Z gets a focused and sporty-feeling cabin, with the familiar three-dot Z theme found throughout. The 370Z NISMO enhances the car's characteristics, though some may find it carries the look to caricature.

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Front-mid engined, rear-wheel driven, with 332 horsepower on tap from its 3.7-liter V-6, the 370Z moves into the 2014 model year with no changes except for the NISMO variant. Drivers get their choice of a six-speed manual transmission with SynchroRev automatic rev-matching or a seven-speed automatic with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

That NISMO variant, as before, gets an upgraded version of the same 3.7-liter V-6 engine, rated at 350 horsepower. The extra power comes from an exclusive H-pattern exhaust and optimized engine tuning parameters. The 370Z NISMO is available only with the six-speed manual transmission with SynchroRev rev-matching.

Even in base form, the 2014 370Z is an impressive performer, particularly when matched with the rev-matching manual transmission. Brisk acceleration, plenty of grip, and a fairly well-balanced chassis yield engaging interaction for the driver on spirited drives. The NISMO's sharpened edge kicks the entire experience up a notch, though it does add some harshness along the way, particularly in ride quality.

Supportive, comfortable adjustable seats provide the foundation for the cabin's sporty experience, with available leather upholstery, power accessories, keyless entry/start, and cruise control. Optional extras for even more convenience include navigation, satellite radio with real-time traffic, HID headlights, and more.

Last year saw many new features added to the Z's equipment list, so the lack of updates for 2014 is a minor note. Standard items include LED daytime running lights, keyless entry with push-button ignition, AM/FM/CD audio with auxiliar input, and more. Step up to the Touring specification (available on both Coupe and Roadster models) and you'll add leather-appointed heated and cooled power-adjustable seats, Bose audio, Bluetooth connectivity, and more. A Sport package is available for both base and Touring Coupe models, and Touring-level Roadsters; it adds 19-inch Rays forged aluminum alloy wheels, stickier Bridgestone Potenza high-performance tires, upgraded brakes, and a viscous limited-slip rear differential.

NISMO models get their own unique set of features, including most of the convenience items from the standard 370Z. An upgraded NISMO-tuned suspension, reinforced suspension tower bracing and body dampers, unique aerodynamics, 19-inch Rays wheels, and unique NISMO interior trim and badges.

The 2014 Nissan 370Z hasn't been crash tested by either the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), but it does come standard with the modern safety basics, including front, side, and (on Coupe and NISMO models) side curtain airbags; stability and traction control; and anti-lock brakes. Visibility in the 2014 370Z is generally good, but thick roof supports can obstruct rearward visibility in Coupe models; the same is true of the Roadster with the top up.

Gas mileage is about par for the mid-sized sports car class, at 18 mpg city and 26 mpg highway for 21 mpg combined with the manual transmission in Coupe models; opt for the automatic's extra gear and you'll add 1 mpg city and combined. The NISMO model rates the same as the base 2014 370Z Coupe with manual transmission. Roadster variants lose 1 mpg on every measure, scoring 17/25/20 mpg city/highway/combined with the manual and 18/25/21 mpg city/highway/combined with the automatic.

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2014 Nissan 370Z

Styling

The 2014 Nissan 370Z is a sharp-looking, instantly recognizable sports car icon.

The Nissan 370Z enters its fifth year on the market as a familiar but unique offering in the sports car market. An update for the 2013 model year brought slight tweaks to the front and rear, but for the most part, the 370Z continues as it was introduced in 2009.

Three versions of the 370Z are available: Coupe, Roadster, and NISMO. All three share the same basic styling, though each has its own notable traits. The Coupe combines a clear sports car profile with aggressive, but not overstated details. The Roadster shares much of its shape with the Coupe, but thanks to its power-retracting soft top, gives a more muscular and sensuous appearance with the top lowered. With the top up, the lines are still relatively sleek and sporty; there's none of the awkwardness of the previous-generation 350Z Roadster.

The 2014 370Z NISMO model adds a strong dose of race-inspired aggression to the aerodynamics package, as well as larger wheels and tires. The end result is a car that's clearly more oriented toward high-performance driving, but also one that calls attention in a manner not everyone will like.

The cabins of all 370Zs are rather similar, with simple but pleasing designs and a functional, purpose-oriented theme. Materials and styling are greatly upgraded from previous-generation Z cars, but the upper end of the Z's range is restricted in its plushness to leave space for Nissan's premium-brand coupe, the Infiniti Q60.


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2014 Nissan 370Z

Performance

For the most intense experience, the 2014 Nissan 370Z NISMO is the way to go, but the standard Coupe and Roadster are both ample fun.

Just one engine powers the three-model 370Z range, though the NISMO model gets unique upgrades that enhance its power output from the standard 332-horsepower rating to 350 hp.

The shared engine is a 3.7-liter V-6 from the venerable VQ series of engines. While the 3.7-liter iteration of this series isn't as sonorous or as torque-biased as the previous 3.5-liter unit, its peak power and general reliability are strong points.

Two transmissions can be had in the 370Z: a six-speed manual transmission and a seven-speed automatic with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. The manual transmission is fairly slick, delivering shifts with short, stiff throws. A SynchroRev system negates the need for heel-toe skills, blipping the throttle automatically on downshifts. The automatic transmission does the same, though with less directness.

Balancing between true sports car and grand touring categories, the 370Z is nimble and powerful, a deft combination of strengths, especially considering its price point. The dual nature of the 2014 370Z also brings some compromises, including slightly dull steering feel that doesn't communicate much of the car's road-level behavior to the driver. Still, on the whole, the 370Z is a rewarding and engaging car to drive hard.

Roadster models feel a touch softer, but the open-top element is a big upside. NISMO models take the 370Z's basic mix in the other direction, adding firmness and power, but at the cost of some comfort and quietness.

7

2014 Nissan 370Z

Comfort & Quality

The 2014 Nissan 370Z is well-built and well-finished, but it can be noisy and harsh.

The 2014 Nissan 370Z is a two-seater with a mix of sports car and grand touring characteristics, meaning it's less about practicality than a typical sedan, but with more nods toward creature comfort than a minimalist go-fast machine.

Low-slung and snug, the seating is comfortable for most body types. Power-adjust seats with ventilation are available on upper-tier trims. Despite the comfortable seats, however, the 370Z's ride is fairly stiff--drivers will seek out the smoothest pavement out of pure self-interest.

Wide tires and the stiff suspension also contribute greatly to cabin noise. The noise issue with the 370Z doesn't all come down to the sporting side of the car, though; there's a wind noise issue, and the engine itself is intrusive when pushed hard. Some engines you want to hear at full song. Here, the 3.7-liter V-6 is less mellifluous than it is mechanical.

On the materials front, the 2014 Nissan 370Z manages to make a convincing case for near-premium positioning, especially on higher-trim models. The switches and plastics feel solid, the leathers and upholstery feel durable yet supple. The 370Z's interior quality won't sway any buyers from German or American luxury coupe marques, but it won't send them running, either.

Roadster models get a power-retractable soft top that is quick to open and close. Unfortunately, the soft top lets in even more noise, and takes up some of the available trunk space when down. Many alternatives in the segment have a more secure, quiet-enhancing folding hard top roof.

Despite the 370Z's noise and ride harshness, it's not all that unusual for its performance class; these traits go hand in hand.

8

2014 Nissan 370Z

Safety

Without official crash test data, it's hard to estimate the 2014 Nissan 370Z's safety, but it does offer a competitive set of safety equipment.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) haven't crash-tested the 2014 Nissan 370Z.

Standard safety equipment on the 370Z Coupe and Roadster covers all of the modern basics, with anti-lock brakes, stability and traction control, front and side airbags, and, on coupe and NISMO models, side-curtain airbags.

Forward visibility in the 370Z is generally good, but the thick rear roof supports in Coupe models (and the soft top in Roadsters) obstruct rear three-quarters views.

8

2014 Nissan 370Z

Features

The 2014 Nissan 370Z is well-equipped in base form, but only offers a limited set of upgrade paths.

With three main variants (Coupe, Roadster, and NISMO) and a range of options packages, there's a 2014 Nissan 370Z to suit most sports car buyers' tastes.

Coupe and Roadster models can be had in either base or Touring specification, with the base model getting standard features like HID headlights, LED daytime running lights, keyless entry with pushbutton start, and an AM/FM/CD stereo system with auxiliary input. Adding the Touring package brings leather-appointed heated and cooled power-adjustable seats, Bose audio, Bluetooth phone connectivity, and more.

The Sport package includes 19-inch Rays forged alloy wheels, grippier Bridgestone Potenza tires, larger brakes, a limited-slip rear differential, and the SynchroRev manual transmission system (on manual-equipped models). The Sport package is available on all Coupes, but only Roadsters with the Touring package are eligible to add the Sport package.

NISMO models come in a single base specification with a range of available individual options. Upgrades bundled in the NISMO treatment include the NISMO-tuned suspension; NISMO-specific front, side, and rear aerodynamic elements; 19-inch Rays wheels, and NISMO-specific interior trim and badging.

Priced from $30,780 (including destination fee) the 2014 Nissan 370Z isn't the bang-for-buck bargain its predecessor was back in the early days of the 350Z, but it's just about the most capable, full-featured sports car you can buy before stepping up to the $50,000 mark.

6

2014 Nissan 370Z

Fuel Economy

The 2014 Nissan 370Z isn't very green, even for a sports car, but it's far from the worst on the market.

The 2014 Nissan 370Z manages fair, but by no means impressive gas mileage for its performance class. Manual-transmission-equipped coupes rate 18/26 mpg city/highway and 21 mpg combined. With the seven-speed automatic, the Z coupe scores an EPA estimate of 19/26 mpg city/highway, for 22 mpg combined.

Roadster models take a slight hit, rating 18/25/21 mpg with the automatic transmission, and 17/25/20 mpg in manual guise.

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April 16, 2015
For 2014 Nissan 370Z

No car like it .

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Is car runs grain the trunk has plenty of space the seats are comfortable the X terrier it is beautiful no car like it .
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January 25, 2015
For 2014 Nissan 370Z

Couldn't be happier

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I did my research. My budget was around 30k ish, and for that $ you simply cannot buy a better new sports car. I got the base model, so no frills, but I bought it for performance. Yes it has tight courters, rd... + More »
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