Unsung hero car

The face-paced and highly competitive nature of the auto business means that relatively new cars can either age quickly or even worse, be overlooked, as fresher products roll into the market. That's precisely the position that the 2014 Nissan 370Z Roadster finds itself in with the introduction of a redesigned Boxster, new Jaguar F-Type convertible and the launch of the C7 Corvette Stingray.

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What is a perfectly capable and fun-to-drive 2-seater doesn't really spring to mind when looking for a fun car to own, or even dream about. Certainly the top performance banner at Nissan is being carried by the GTR, but the 370Z, with its compact dimensions and wonderfully powerful front-mounted 322-horsepower 3.7-liter V6 is tremendously fun to drive. Even though the basic design of the 370Z is five years old, it holds up reasonably well with a flowing body shape and detailing that avoids the kinds of clichés (overreliance on LEDs and the like) that can quickly make a car look dated.

The other endearing feature of the Z is its size. It's not as closely coupled or hard to get into as say a Mazda MX-5 or the BMW Z4, and yet it is far more compact that the Corvette, 911 and its GTR sibling. Equipped with a 7-speed automatic, the 370Z Convertible is a great daily driver, easy to park and not as tiring as a manual in stop-and-go traffic. And yet, this car is highly spirited and responds to being pushed hard when asked. And it has the sort of features you expect from a grown-up sports car: a power top, navigation, comfortable power bucket seats, leather interior and a full suite of traction and stability control systems.

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All this technology and power is not inexpensive. The base price of our test vehicle is $45,470 and with extras like 19-inch wheels, limited slip differential, sport shocks and the nav system pushed final pricing to $51,365. While rumors swirl of a new Z coming, that car is yet to be seen on the horizon. So in the meantime, the 2014 Nissan 370Z Roadster remains relevant even though it is starting to get a little long in the tooth. For its size, performance and day-to-day livability, the Z has carved out a niche of its own. 


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