The Nissan 370Z Holds True To Its Roots

The Datsun (Nissan) 240Z is often times regarded as one of the best Japanese sports cars ever produced. Many call it “the best” not just because it was able to dominant the race track against Corvettes and Porsches, but because it was able to bring an overhead cam engine, disc brakes and independent suspension at an affordable price + it is really fun to drive!

You could buy a Datsun 240Z for around $3,500 in 1970, and that is exactly what my Father did. He purchased the first Datsun 240Z in St Louis, Missouri as his daily driver. After getting the bug to race a couple years later, he then turned it into the 1972 SCCA Mid-America Regional Championship Car. Shortly after the championship win, the car sat retired in my Father’s garage in St Louis for over 40 years.

Earlier this year the Folks over at Nissan North America helped me get the car running and transporting it to my Dad’s home in Naples, Florida. So when Nissan sent me the 370Z Convertible to test for a week, I raced (figuratively) across Alligator Alley for a photo shoot.


The “Z” has changed a lot in the past 40 years! It has gotten more expensive with a starting price of $29,000. but the 370Z is a lot quicker thanks to a 332HP V6 and a six-speed manual gearbox. For reference, the original only had 151HP and a four-speed manual gearbox – my Father’s engine was highly modified and featured a five-speed manual gearbox from Datsun Racing in Japan. Another neat feature of the 370Z’s six-speed manual gearbox is that it offers rev-matching standard, which means you no longer have to master heel-to-toe footwork when downshifting. Nissan offers one of the most (if not the most) affordable vehicle with rev-matching. Behind the wheel of both vehicles, you start to feel as if you are one with the car as you tackle each turn on a curvy road. It may take a minute to find it, but once you do, it becomes easy to feel the transfer of weight between all four tires as you decelerate and accelerate out of sharp turn. Like the original, the 370Z offers true sports car experience for an affordable price when you compare it to the Corvette Stingray or Porsche 718 Boxster/Cayman.

The “Z” has gotten a lot more comfortable too! The new one rides better, is better insulated, and quieter. The interior has also been very nicely upgraded: The leather appointed seats offer both heating and ventilation options, while also delivering nice bolster support. The instrument cluster ingeniously rises up and down with the steering position, so you always have a perfect view of the tachometer. And speaking of gages, the instrument cluster pays homage to the original 240Z with its use of three round dials on the center of the dash. The analog gages are paired with an LED display on the instrument cluster, and LED clock on the center of the dash, and a touch-screen infotainment center on the dash.

The only thing that drives me crazy about this pairing, is that the car’s LED clock and the infotainment center clock are not synced. Which means that owners will have to set both clocks each time day light savings times comes and goes.

While the new 370Z and the old 240Z are uniquely original, they both offer timelessly classic good looks and the spirit of driving a fun sports, without breaking the bank. Visit your local Nissan dealer or click here to learn more about the Nissan 370Z.

A lot of care was placed into the 2016 Nissan Sentra

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For whatever reason, I wasn’t a fan of the previous generation Nissan Sentra. I was a good car, but I felt like there wasn’t enough emotion in the car. Almost as if the previous generation was an after thought.

Nissan flew me out to California recently to get a first look at the 2016 Sentra, but what I got was more than a first look, it was also a crash course in automotive design by Nissan VP of Design, Taro Ueda. I was amazed by how much energy went into the engineering the vehicle to reduce drag, improve ride quality, and reduce noise. In the photo above, Taro used painters tape to show myself and fellow journalists how each line was symmetrically placed to improve both the styling and aerodynamics of the car.

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So lets get down to brass tax… is the 2016 Nissan Sentra worth the money? I say yes. Nissan redesigned the Sentra in order to give other vehicles in this segment a run for there money. The vehicle comes very well appointed with standard equipment and soft-touch materials throughout the cabin. The two biggest improves to the Sentra is ride quality and sounds damping. Nissan re-enginered the suspension to give you a smoother ride, while still allowing you stay in control of the vehicle with little body roll. They also dramatically increased the Nissan Sentra’s sound proofing, which makes this one of the quietest vehicles in its segment.

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The 2016 Nissan Sentra starts at a little over $16,000, but with a few options, such as a Bose Sound System, dual climate controls, and leather seats, it takes on a premium feel. I recommend buying the Nissan Sentra if you are looking for a low-cost compact car that offers great gas mileage (up to 40mpg) and enough room to stretch out (111 cubic feet of interior volume) with premium features.

First Drive: 2016 Nissan Altima

 
The 2016 Altima may look nearly identical to the 2015 model, but it is what’s inside that counts. Upgrades include a new grill with active shutters to improve areodynamics and fuel efficentcy, a sportier suspesion, and an enhanced cabin with increased sound proofing material. I can’t get over the how quite this car is!

The 2016 Nissan Altima is available with two engine options: A 4-cylinder engine that gets almost 40 mpg, and a peppy V6 that produces 270 horsepower. New for 2016 is an SR variant, that adds a sportier suspension, paddel shifters, and unique wheel. Nissan uses a CVT transmission in all Altimas, so you get smoother shifts, but you are sacraficing performance.

  
Updated safety technologies make the 2016 Nissan Altima one of the safest cars in it’s segment: An optional forward emergency braking system is able to bring the Altima to a complete stop, rear cross traffic alert warns you if a car is approaching while backing out from a parking spot, and blind spot warning alerts you if a car is driving in your blindspot.

At a starting price of $22,000, this best Nissan Altima yet! 

First Drive: 2016 Nissan Maxima

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The 2016 Nissan Maxima comes from a long line of mid-sized cars from Nissan, but this one is different. This is the first Maxima that has me saying wow!

The exterior styling is beautiful and a 300 horsepower motor is impressive, but what really has me excited is the interior. The available quilted leather seats make you take a double-take on Nissan badge in front. They are absolutely beautiful. I have seen quilted leather seats in a diamond pattern before on Ferrari, but never on a Japanese car, or for that matter on a non-luxury brand. To back it up is real aluminum or wood trim on the doors and dash.

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Nissan calls the 2016 Maxima a four-door sports car. I appreciate the association, because this car was designed to be both fun and luxurious. The car rides smoothly and is quite while you are putting around town. But as soon as you give it a little gas, the engine starts to breath, and you can hear a nice rumble through the exhaust. Like I mentioned before, the 2016 Nissan Maxima comes with 300 horsepower motor (standard). The engine is paired with a Continuous Varible Transmission, which isn’t my favorite, but this CVT does a fantastic job. It offers a quick response and does a great job of simulating a traditional automatic gearbox. The paddle shifters give you greater control and adds a little fun to the driving experience.
Nissan had an independent testing program compare the 2016 Nissan Maxima on the race track with the BMW 3 series and Audi A4… Guess which car has the fastest lap, the Nissan.

If you are looking for a sporty sedan that is also a great value, the 2016 Nissan Maxima is your car. With such style, performance and luxury, I am surprise this car doesn’t have an Infiniti badge on it!

Meet one of the fastest cars on the road… The 2015 Nissan GTR.

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The 2015 Nissan GTR is an impressive piece of machinery. With a zero to sixty track time of just under 3 seconds, it is one of the fastest cars I have ever driven. It ranks amongst the Porsche 911 Turbo 4S and the McLaren MP4-12C in terms of performance – but in traditional Japanese style – it costs half the price of its german and english competition.

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Under the hood is a modern 3.8L twin-turbo V6 engine that produces 545 horsepower. The motor is hand built and each one features the name plate of who built it. Its massive strength gives you an exhilarating rush every time you step on the gas pedal, leaving you almost speechless. The dual-clutch 6-speed automatic transmission helps the cause by offering shifts as quick as 0.15 seconds.

The 2015 Nissan GTR uses an advanced all-wheel-drive system that can deliver 100% of the power to rear wheels. When going around a corner, the system can instantly deliver of 50% of the power to the front wheels… It is the best of both worlds – rear drive on the straightaways and all-wheel-drive for tight cornering.

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As your head is pressed firmly in to the seat back, you will begin to appreciate the quality of the hand stitched leather and supportive contour of the seats. The seats offer great bolster support and are pretty comfortable.

The 2015 Nissan GTR is designed to be driven hard, but its 2+2 configuration can just as easily serve as your everyday driver. Leg room is very limited in back, but rear passengers will enjoy a single cup holder.

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Every ounce of this car screams “GO FASTER!” The button pattern on the steering wheel reminds me of something you would find in an Formula 1 car, and the use of carbon fiber throughout the car is a reminder of the manufactures intent… to build a street legal track car.

Switches above the gear shifter allow drivers to custom tailor their driving experience. You can control how aggressively the transmission shifts, how much power is delivered to the rear wheels, how firm you want the suspension, and limit the car’s computer controlled electronic stability programs.

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In addition to using the infotainment center for navigation and audio controls, it can transform into a sophisticated track computer – displaying lap times, g-forces, turbo psi, and power distribution amongst the four wheels. It also displays an assortment of temperature gauges and pressure gauges using the custom view window.

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The 2015 Nissan GTR’s massive exhaust pipes and large rear spoiler will make the teenager down the street drool with envy – but it is not your typical $100,000 super car. It is not flashy and it doesn’t carry a “luxury” brand name like the Audi R8 or BMW i8… It is also a LOT faster! Motor Trend raced the $101,000 Nissan GTR against the $233,000 Ferrari 458 Italia, and the GTR won in a 1/4 of a mile.

This car was built for the humble automotive enthusiast who cares about performance over status. Plus you can get an oil change at any Nissan dealer.