Suggestion No. 1 – 2014 Nissan 370Z Roadster
It’s hard to find an affordable, lightweight roadster these days but Nissan’s powerful 370Z makes a decent case, especially in drop-top form.
Like the Miata this Z-car features two doors, two seats and rear-wheel drive. What more do you need?
Under its hood rests a monster. As its name implies the 370Z is powered by a 3.7-liter V6 engine that far outmuscles the modest Mazda. It delivers 332 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque; it’s damn-near twice as powerful as the Miata’s 2.0-liter four-banger (167 hp).
Without question the 370Z is quicker in a straight line but it’s a lot thirstier as well. The roadster version stickers at 17 miles per gallon city and 25 on the highway; combined it ought to pull down 20 mpg.
In comparison a soft-top Miata with the available six-speed manual transmission, which isn’t even the cheapest version of the car, clocks in at 21 mpg city and 28 highway. According to Uncle Sam it ought to average 24 mpg.
Nissan’s Z-car strains the scale at a little less than 3,500 pounds. By comparison the trim Miata weighs about 1,000 pounds less. The 370Z drives like it’s hauling an entire season of “The Biggest Loser” around in its trunk.
Hall said “it’s fallen between two chairs,” noting that today’s Z-car is too big to directly compete with the Miata but it’s not large or powerful enough to go after ponycars like the Camaro SS or Mustang GT.
SEE ALSO: 2010 Nissan 370Z Review
So, Nissan’s offering is both thirstier and heavier than the Mazda; yikes, things aren’t looking good and they don’t get better when you compare pricing. Base MSRP for a 370Z coupe is right around $30,000, which is already about six grand more expensive than the basest Miata. But if you want a drop-top Z buckle up; they sticker for roughly $42,280 including shipping-and-handling fees. Because of pricing Hall said “both of them are kind of out of the running.”
Summing the 370Z up Hall said “it’s a six-cylinder Corvette in my book,” adding that if that’s the kind of car you want you should just get a ‘Vette. Case closed.