By on November 30, 2018

2019 Nissan 370Z front quarter

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.

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?

2019 Nissan 370Z profile

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.

2019 Nissan 370Z iPod

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.

2019 Nissan 370Z dashboard

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.

2019 Nissan 370Z center stack

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.

2019 Nissan 370Z interior

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.

2019 Nissan 370Z front

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.

2019 Nissan 370Z rear

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.

2019 Nissan 370Z rear quarter

[Images: © 2018 Chris Tonn]

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34 Comments on “2019 Nissan 370Z Review – Stripped Tease...”

  • avatar

    Well said. A friend of mine is a Nissan engineer and is currently leasing one that I was able to drive. Despite it’s age it really was a joy to drive as you said. Kudos to Nissan for keeping it around.

  • avatar

    First snowstorm of the year today here in the NW corner of NM. The slowest vehicle on the morning commute was a 370Z, I passed him and prayed he wasn’t riding on summer tires lest he slide sideways while I was passing him.

    That being said I do appreciate the basic-ness of the base version. This I would entertain but not a loaded up version.

  • avatar

    As time goes on, I find myself appreciating this car more and more. Naturally aspirated, clean styling, manual transmission….these are things that used to be taken for granted with a sports car, and now are hard to find together.

    Ironically, I put a lot of the blame for that at Nissan’s own feet. The GT-R was hardly the first over styled, over boosted, and over assisted car on sale, but it sure seems like the rabid following from fanboys and auto journalists helped lead other manufacturers down that path.

  • avatar

    SMH. I remember when the 350Z dropped in 2003…before any of the D3 muscle cars returned with retro-roots. DAMN what a sexy car it was, especially in that electric blue. The n/a V6 was a bit of a letdown. No way a V8 was happening, but an unruly Turbo 4 would have been perfect. These things were EVERYWHERE in the mid naughty aughties. And Nissan was pushing this car.

    The 370Z body style took a step backwards in styling , IMHO. But a bump in performance…a trade off. Then…nothing. The GT-R kind of stole the Z’s thunder which is to be expected. But that’s also supercar territory and not really accessible for the working man. The Z is literally the only thing Nissan has that offers a good, pure sports/performance car experience at an affordable price. The Z and the GT-R are about the only things (that aren’t trucks) at a Nissan dealership that aren’t soul sucking family appliances or bad credit specials. And yet neither show up in any of Nissans marketing. Not a peep.

    Maybe Nissan wants to be another toyota, as in a maker of boring passionless appliances. Toyota DOES have its reputation for relability. Nissan…not so much. If Nissan doesn’t freshen the Z and keep it relevant, they’ll be without bright spot…and will fade to irrelevance. See Mitsubishi.

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    I like the discrete silver stripes, reminds me the blue over blue and silver leather interior 280zx turbo a family friend (he was a pathologist).As a 10 year old I thought it was the coolest thing in the world.
    I’ve got a lot of respect of the Z, it’s still right sized in its exterior proportions compared to the muscle cars.Aftermarket support is through the roof. I’d choose this over a Turbo 4cyl anything except 718 , an uncorked VQ (not the factory setup) sounds pretty sweet.

  • avatar

    It’s RWD – it’s a DEATH TRAP! Only AWD can keep us safe?

    40? Get out of here grandpa.

  • avatar
    R Henry

    Thank you for mentioning what a great value exists in the Ecoboost Mustang with manual trans. VERY close to getting one…..

  • avatar

    As an ex-2003 Nissan 350Z Touring owner all excellent points mentioned already. I’ll just list my pros and cons:

    Predictable, balanced handling
    Good feedback, you always knew what car was doing
    Great seats and seating position
    Excellent front visibility (short overhang, low dash and hood)
    Reliable NA V6 with strong mid range power, linear power delivery, good response (no turbo lag)
    Small size with a very direct driving experience
    Tons of aftermarket support (actually better for the 350Z)
    Reasonable consumables (brakes, tires)
    Decent MPG (I got 24 in mixed driving)

    Very dated, mostly cosmetic changes since 2003, zero tech
    Heavy (car, steering, clutch)
    Ricer status and the “stance” crowd loves them (ugh)
    Rough riding, loud interior, rattles galore
    Terrible side visibility (big blind spots)
    Slow in a straight line compared to V8s
    Traction control is on/off, nothing in between
    Stupid strut bar cuts into hatch space (370 better in this regard)

    I upgraded to a C7 Stingray Z51 because I saw no reason to move from a 350 into a 370. Why buy a “new” old car? My wife has the upscale coupe version of a Z: an Infiniti Q60. Her’s is the last year of the G37 when Infiniti switched the name but kept everything else the same. The Q60 is a much better car with the same engine. Suspension is softer, interior is nicer and less noisy. Granted with the Q you lose some of that direct and rawness of the Z.

    I’ve said before but the problem with the Z is it occupies this weird no-where middle ground. Too heavy to be flickable like a Miata, but too slow compared to a Pony car. I think used as a 2nd car for some fun mountain driving or track days its nearly perfect. I used mine as a commuter plus a track toy, but it was clearly better at the later. Honeslty the power to weight just isn’t there. It needs like 50 more HP. Similar to the FR-S the good news is you can use all the power it has because the chassis is so well sorted. The car understeers at corner entry but oversteers on corner exit, so its very driver friendly.

    Given the abuse dished out while running track days with mine (over 700 laps) it was super reliable. I owned it from 18K to 75K in mileage and it only needed one thing – a new gear box. This was a known problem with the syncros in the early models. I switched to a new tranny (out of G35) and it was fine, just a bit notchy. Only other issues were front wheel bearings which I bet was mostly related to run wider, sticker tires. The early models were know for having a harsh ride and some tire wear problems due aggressive factory toe settings. The nice thing about a mature platform like this is the 370 has all the bugs worked out. Just get a clear bra for the hood, the paint on the aluminum is super thin both mine and the wife’s chipped like crazy.

    • 0 avatar

      To add to this, I had a 350Z and sold it for many of the reasons listed. I bought it when I had no commute, and grew to hate it when I got one. Still, phenomenal car and more than fast enough- as fast as the Mustang GT of its day with way better handling.

      A few cars later I got a G37S sedan, which was everything the Z was supposed to be. Just as fast, maybe 95% as fun (especially with coilovers and big tires), infinitely more livable. Aside from the gas mileage I miss that car (totalled it at the track… had too much fun)

      Biggest enemy of the Z is that you can go get a used one for 1/3 the price and have every bit as much fun. I’d love to grab a salvage one to build to a track car, which I think for most people is the only real place a Z can be enjoyed with any regularity.

    • 0 avatar

      Zero tech as a con? In a family wagon, I can understand that. But the Z is supposed to be a back to basics sports car. Lack of Bluetooth capabilities…ok I can see that. But what tech would you REALLY want intruding on what’s meant to be a more visceral driving experience? Certainly not the current crop of nannies…

      • 0 avatar

        Something like an Android Auto head unit would make this car more livable and usable while taking nothing away from the driving experience. I actually put a new head unit in my Z just to get an aux cord.

    • 0 avatar

      Zero tech as a con? In a family wagon, I can understand that. But the Z is supposed to be a back to basics sports car. Lack of Bluetooth capabilities…ok I can see that. But what tech would you REALLY want intruding on what’s meant to be a more visceral driving experience? Certainly not the current crop of nannies…

    • 0 avatar

      Thanks JMII! Great recap. Man, does this convo stir up the memories. My dad was a Z man for many years. Lime green, bright orange, a lot of black and that two tone silver and black anniversary edition……great, great memories. He came off the bench for one more run with a new, silver 350 that my brother inherited.

      Speaking of my brother, he currently rides a 2013 G35 coupe which he loves. Recently he had a G60 coupe as a loaner and he gladly told the salesman who intercepted him on return that there is zero chance he trades for a new G. Simply too soft. A great tourer if that is your thing but a completely different car than current Z.

      Hopefully a bucket list trip in a few years when we fly to Barrett Jackson in AZ as these Zs start rolling across the auction block. A purchase will be made and a stories of dad will be retold as we drive back to the east coast.

    • 0 avatar

      JM, what are your observations about C/D’s report of alarming brake fade when they tracked a Z?

  • avatar

    The standard audio may be laughable, but the double din opening it is in, is solid gold in my book.

    • 0 avatar

      + 100 Prado. A double din occupied by a stock stereo that isn’t integrated into the backup camera, keyless entry, climate etc. is a blank canvas waiting for the artist’s brush. Can’t find that anymore.

      • 0 avatar

        Very true. A stereo upgrade on the Z is old school easy. Problem is you NEED a backup camera in this car. No sure if they make it for the 370 but on the 350 you could get a replacement license plate light that has a camera built into it. I wired that up to an aftermarket mirror that has small video monitor inside. Turned out to be the smartest upgrade I did to that car since the rear corners are difficult to see even after the side mirrors are been adjusted correctly.

    • 0 avatar

      Agreed. Adding a modern head unit with CarPlay and Android Auto is <$300 if you're even vaguely handy with a screwdriver.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    US YTD sales are averaging 300 per month – pretty bleak.

    Nissan is surely in a milk it, kill it, or replace it situation for 2020 and beyond.

  • avatar

    It’s funny how auto journalists always complain that interiors are dark, cave-like, and dour. That is, until color is splashed on, at which point they become “garish.”

  • avatar

    “…but I had no problem stuffing everything the kid needed for soccer practice in the back.”

    My kid plays travel soccer – everything he needs for soccer practice – ? Um, a ball – ? Not even that – ?

    270 lb/ft at 5200 rpm – my stage 1 GTI makes more torque than that, and it makes more than 270 from about 2400 rpm to about 5000.

    I am 61 – and I don’t consider myself old…I find comments like this from someone who’s 40 years old to be tiresome – by the time I was 40, I’d like to think I was beyond saying foolish stuff like this.

    • 0 avatar

      And at 61, I hope I’m not going to be ornery enough to make needlessly snide comments.

    • 0 avatar

      Maybe his kid was at school and he had to go pick him up and bring a gym bag full of cleats, knee pads, clothes and a ball. And maybe his kid also plays football, which requires a large gym bag, and he uses that same bag for soccer. Maybe his situation isn’t exactly the same as yours. The point got across.

  • avatar

    If you like the 370z but 2 doors are not enough look at a used G37 Sport Sedan. Same motor, fixed caliper brakes and same 6 speed manual transmission.

    They are VERY good on the track (HPDE) and you have room for the grandkids.

  • avatar

    The problem with the 370Z is that is simply asked for too many compromises for the performance it delivers. It has terrible visibility, the trunk barely fits a carry on bag, the dated interior, the front is so low that it scrapes on nearly everything. So it delivers supercar inconvenience with V6 Camaro performance. It’s just not a very compelling proposition.

  • avatar

    There is actually a demo/lightly used 2019 base 370z not far from me with 9,000 km for about 26,000 cad. That seems to me like a great deal!

  • avatar
    Steve Biro

    A base 370Z with manual transmission and no options is the way to go. An aftermarket head unit with Apple Car Play or Android Auto and a set of dedicated winter tires are easy to buy and install.

  • avatar

    All that rambling, all those details about power output, and not one mention of the single most important metric for any vehicle, especially a sports car: weight. I submit that weight should be at the top of any car review’s spec list.

    Google says 3,333 to 3,525 lbs for this 2-seat V6. Not dreadful, but compare it to the ~3650 of my BMW wagon, with 2.25x the seats, 7.4x the cargo room, a V8 with about the same power, and likely a good bit more comfortable…

  • avatar

    The Sentra I rented had the same stereo. To say it sucked would be giving it praise. It was a larger distraction to pair the phone to it than just to pick the phone up and dial it by hand. The technology behind it was outdated 10 years ago.

  • avatar

    Your stats card points out something interesting: However it does in the US, this car is a BARGAIN in Canada. The exchange rate means the Canadian price is so much lower that there’s probably an arbitrage opportunity for a clever American who can figure out how to import these.

    (Nissan does this with a couple of models,where the Canadian price, accounting for exchange rates, is really low. I think there’s a few other models from other makers where this phenomenon exists)

  • avatar

    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.

  • avatar

    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…

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