January 11, 2012

Nissan 370Z

Here's our first guest review!  Please welcome, Meghan Tracy, blogger from The Extravagant Platypus.  She shares a love of cars and books, not your normal combination. But who's "normal" any more.  Thanks to the Internet everything can be given a degree of normality.  Thank you, Meghan for your insight!

While I know there are some girls out there would qualify as gearheads, I’m pretty sure I don’t.  If someone spouts anything outside of horsepower or torque my brain gets all mushy and glazes out to thinking about that episode of Castle from last night or which book I’m going to read next.  I tend to enjoy cars based on their practicality or their aesthetics or the rather delightful noise that comes out of a Ferrari in a tunnel.  I say this ahead of time as a word of warning. 

I know the 2012 model is out to test drive now, but I was a little early and ended up driving a 2011 baseline coupe.  It was pretty clear that the 370Z at the dealership I went to didn’t get out much.  It had a vaguely dusty appearance to it.  That being said, it still made me smile just looking at it.  Nissan seems to agree with me when it comes to practicality because the 370Z looks like a car that was made to go fast.  Everything about it screams aerodynamics to me.  Admittedly, it’s not the car for you if you’re just looking to get from Point A to Point B or if gas mileage is even remotely a concern for you.  This is the car for people who want to feel their stomach pressing on their spinal cord when they step on the accelerator. 

The interior isn’t exactly what you would expect in a $30,000 car.  Yes, there’s a lot of leather and a few touches of chrome, but most of the interior is hard plastic (not unlike the mildly beat up ’97 CR-V that I usually drive around in).  However, I will say this, the seats kind of hug you, which I’m sure would be nice in winter, spring, or fall, but definitely falls under the less than pleasant category when it’s 105°F and the humidity is 95%.  I was told that there’s an on board computer that can do all kinds of fancy things, but what I saw was a tiny dial where every option was listed out and no obvious means of selecting them.  In many ways, the interior is just a continuance in the “this car is really only meant for speed” theme.  There aren’t a whole lot of extras, which only serves to make the car lighter and get you more speed. 

I will say this, if you like being able to see into your blind spot, this is really not the car for you.  The blind spots on this model, made me feel like I was trying to see around a brontosaurus: it’s freaking cool, but there’s no way you’re going to be seeing anything that’s on the other side.  On the upshot with 332 hp at your finger tips, it’s pretty easy to just accelerate away from anything that might have been there.  Trust me on this, there’s a minivan that was thoroughly dusted by me, since I couldn’t see the damn thing

The exterior is wholly practical.  It’s clearly built with speed (and only speed) in mind.  It’s not as stunning as a Ferrari 250, but really what is. The body of the car looks to me like they took liquid metal, set it on the nose, and then let a wind tunnel sculpt from there.  Despite the pure practicality of the body, it still somehow manages to look cheerful.  It’s zippy, in a slightly over-caffeinated way.  They didn’t really make any changes to the exterior for the 2012 model. 

In the end, I enjoyed the hell out of driving the car.  I would have preferred to take it a little further away from the dealership to find a road that I could speed on with abandon, but the salesman started vibrating in his seat when I was 10 miles away from the dealership.  I’m pretty sure that car is still on their lot, though I think that has more to do with the dealership than it does the car.  The 2012 base model comes in at a little over $31,000, which makes this very reasonably priced for what you’re getting.  Despite falling just shy of qualifying as a supercar, it stands up reasonably well against its main rivals.

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