2019 Nissan 370Z Review - Stripped Tease

Chris Tonn
by Chris Tonn
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Fast Facts

2019 Nissan 370Z Heritage Edition

3.7-liter V6, DOHC (332 hp @ 7000 rpm, 270 lb/ft. @ 5200 rpm)
Six-speed manual transmission, rear-wheel drive
17 city / 26 highway / 20 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)
21.7 (observed mileage, MPG)
13.3 city / 9.3 highway / 11.5 combined (NRCan Rating, L/100km)
Base Price: $30,875 US / $32,075 CAD
As Tested: $31,805 / $33,270 CAD
Prices include $885 destination charge in the United States and $2,077 for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, because of cross-border equipment differences, can't be directly compared.
2019 nissan 370z review stripped tease

I’m old — I just turned forty. The Z is also old. It will be fifty in about a year. Thus, the Heritage Edition 2019 Nissan 370Z tested here isn’t a misnomer — there is plenty of heritage in the various generations of the first Japanese sports car to make a serious impact in the American market.

As far as I know, there is no Heritage Edition Chris available.

But is the latest 370Z still relevant in a market increasingly edging away from sports cars? Or does heritage simply mean washed up?

Yeah, it’s old. Other than some welcome engine changes that added some power, the 370Z hasn’t really seen significant upgrades since Obama’s first inaugural.

The standard audio system fitted to this nearly-base Z is laughably old. Note the photo — I actually dug my circa-2006 iPod out of a box in the basement to get some tunes beyond local radio, as Bluetooth audio streaming or satellite radio isn’t available without moving to an upgraded trim package. Sure, you can connect your phone for phone calls, but that’s it. I almost hauled the old Case Logic CD crate out of the basement for laughs, but I figured the wired iPod was enough of an absurd photo op that didn’t require me to revisit my music-purchase follies of the late 1990s.

The lift-up cargo bin in the center stack, right where a modern touchscreen would fit in higher trims, looks roomy from the outside, but is just big enough to fit a pair of sunglasses and maybe a wallet.

The Heritage Edition package fitted to my tester is right in line with many classic Z tape-stripe packages dating back nearly fifty years. In other words, it’s just a touch of flash. The flat black stripes on the hood and sides are subtle enough on this lovely Deep Blue Pearl paint, but the bright yellow interior trim bits are just garish.

[Get new and used Nissan 370Z pricing here!]

Yellow on the top and bottom of the steering wheel, the shifter, a couple of panels flanking the trans tunnel, and some yellow fabric on the seats are the extent of the package, thankfully. The yellow leather on the shifter was beginning to discolor even in my very low-mile tester. The Heritage Edition trim is available on the blue, pearl white, or black paint, and adds only $790 to the bottom line of the base model. I’d wager that any dealers ordering a 2019 370Z will spec a Heritage just to have something different on the lot.

Those funky yellow seats were perfectly supportive for a long drive. Manual adjustments were simple, giving enough range to fit my oddly-proportioned torso comfortably. I was surprised by the functionality of the cargo area — I’d expected the beam connecting the shock towers to impede loading, but I had no problem stuffing everything the kid needed for soccer practice in the back.

Driving the 370Z is a delight. Other than power steering that feels a bit overboosted during quick maneuvers, the handling is sharp and tight. The short overhangs and wide track mean the Z is quick to rotate when prodding the throttle.

The 370Z is one of the closest things one can experience to a traditional analog driving experience. Certainly, the electronic nannies are there to catch you if you really get it wrong, but the wide tires and ample torque mean the computers are a touch behind. When morning dew dampened the tarmac on some of my favorite backroads, I found myself twisting in some countersteer before the computer cut the fun. I’m glad this model wasn’t fitted with the active rev matching — I’m perfectly happy blipping the throttle myself on downshifts. It’s one of the few joys I have left in my old age.

Where does the 370Z fit in the market? The natural price rivals seem like they’d be the Miata and the BRZ/86 twins — both can slot near this Z’s $31k price point. But the Z has a higher performance threshold — 332 horsepower will see to that. That brings one to the pony cars of Detroit, specifically those not powered by the V8.

Camaro, powered by a 275 hp turbo four and optioned with a performance enthusiast package, rings the register right around the same $31k. The V6 Camaro better matches the Z on the time sheets, and is a better fit for the higher-spec Z also around $36k. The four-cylinder Mustang, with 310 hp, is the real standout here — with the EcoBoost performance package, it hits the floorplan at $29k, and waltzes right off the floor just as quickly. Witness the 81,866 Mustangs that hit the streets last year. Nissan could barely move 6 percent of that sales figure with the Z.

The 370Z is a good value for a sports car. It’s easy to live with, yet engaging to drive. But it’s long overdue for updates, inside and out, especially when one can find an outwardly-identical ten-year-old car on the used side of the Nissan lot.

Still, the world needs sports cars. Crossovers were just the beginning, dulling driving dynamics and inoculating drivers toward less engaging modes of transport. Autonomous vehicles further the disconnect between the meatbag in the front seat and the road. Rage against the dying of driving fun. Grab the wheel of a sports car like the Nissan 370Z, and enjoy your time on the road while you still can.

[Images: © 2018 Chris Tonn]

Chris Tonn
Chris Tonn

Some enthusiasts say they were born with gasoline in their veins. Chris Tonn, on the other hand, had rust flakes in his eyes nearly since birth. Living in salty Ohio and being hopelessly addicted to vintage British and Japanese steel will do that to you. His work has appeared in ebay Motors, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars, Reader's Digest, AutoGuide, Family Handyman, and Jalopnik. He's currently looking for the safety glasses he just set down somewhere.

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2 of 34 comments
  • Jdmcomp Jdmcomp on Dec 03, 2018

    So, I gather from your article Nissan fixed the heavy clutch, the noise, vibration and harshness and the flat out cheapness of the interior. Never mind the engine that sounds like it will self destruct at any moment. However, that said, it is cheap, in every way. A great start to building a race car, just strip, slash and burn.

  • Speedlaw Speedlaw on Dec 18, 2018

    My ace/base Jetta has a way better radio than this. You don't have a base radio in the Z, it is a forced upgrade. Other examples... Want seat memories ? Pay for an upgrade package. Want the curb sensors ? Only with the semi auto drive package. Want heated seats ? Sorry, we only heat leather seats, not cloth or naugahyde. Want the better headlights ? Sorry, higher trim packages only. Want a better radio ? Sunroof included. (?) Marketing phcukery...

  • Art_Vandelay I wish. Love the 70 series
  • Pco65752756 Why is this not on the High Mile Cars List?
  • SCE to AUX "But we can all go pound sand in North America, unfortunately"In reality, that would be about 1000 people who can go pound sand, which is why this isn't coming to North America.
  • MaintenanceCosts You could probably make this thing satisfy US emissions standards, although it wouldn't right now, but there is no way on God's green earth you could make it satisfy US safety standards.
  • MrIcky Haven't these been out for a while? Is the news just that Japan gets them now too?