Upgraded for 2006, the Nissan 350Z remains the flag carrier for the rejuvenated Nissan lineup. Like the original Datsun 240Z, it's fast, it's fun, it's pure sports car. And, again like the original Z, it's affordable, or at least attainable. Available as a coupe or roadster, the 350Z delivers racecar speed and handling and a comfortable interior.
See also the main fact sheets for the Nissan 350Z.
- Powerful, high performance car
- Base model comes well equipped
- Roomy interior
- Stylish looks
- Relatively quiet cabin
- No price increase
- Limited storage space (no glove box) (there is a storage compartment on the center console and one located behind driver and passenger seats)
- Difficult to see front of car from driver's seat if you're really short
- No stability control on Touring
- Temporay-use spare wheel
- Need for prenium petrol
Performance and HandlingEdit
The 2006 350Z truly recaptures the feel of its origins, with a powerful engine, responsive handling, and a sporty ride. All models come standard with an impressive 3.5L 300hp V6 engine and a 6-speed manual transmission. A 287hp engine and a 5-speed automatic tiptronic transmission are available options for most trims as well. All trims are outfitted with 18" wheels, and upgrading to either the Track or Grand trims will get you wider tires and Brembo brakes.
This car is very fast with brilliant acceleration. Sharp steering, terrific handling, and excellent grip make it a real driver's car; turning onto a winding road proves this beyond a shadow of doubt. The short-throw shifter feels good, and it's effective. The six-speed gearbox shifts quickly and deliberately; it feels perfectly synchronized, making shifting easy and enjoyable. The automatic transmission also works great, really smooth and responsive, and it doesn't leave you feeling like you're missing out by not having the manual. The delicious exhaust tone is wasted on Roadsters fitted with the automatic, though, when it wanders almost aimlessly up and down the scale as the engine slips seamlessly from gear to gear.
Overall, the 350Z feels like a real driving machine, and despite some road noise in the cabin and a bit of a bumpy ride on the sports suspension, you'll ultimately enjoy the power and the speed it has to offer.
- 350Z Coupe manual - 19/25 mpg
- 350Z Coupe automatic - 19/25 mpg
- 350Z Roadster manual - 19/25 mpg
- 350Z Roadster automatic - 18/24 mpg
In tests carried out by the NHTSA, the 350Z performed relatively well. It received 5-star ratings for both rollover and front side-impact crash tests. However, these results are somewhat diminished by the fact that no information was available for front-impact or rear side-impact tests.
Reliability and MaintenanceEdit
The current generation of the Nissan 350Z was unveiled just a few years ago in 2003. As a result, reliability information is only available for that year's model. The good news is that, according to Automotive Information Systems, the 350Z had no major problems to report and received the organization's highest rating of Green for all categories. Only time will tell if Nissan has since been able to maintain this high build quality from year to year.
Interior and ComfortsEdit
Despite the number of trims available for the 350Z (five for the Coupe and three for the Roadster), there is surprisingly little interior variation between them. There are, of course, certain upgrades available as you move from one trim to the next, but the base model itself is relatively well equipped, and it might be the best bang for your buck with this car.
One thing to keep in mind with the 350Z is that it is designed to be a sports car. This means that the focus of the interior will be on the driver and the performance driving experience; practicality is of secondary concern. The first indication of this is the simple fact that the 350Z is a traditional 2-seater with no back seat. But once you sit down and become more familiar with the interior, some of the comfort-related shortcomings become more apparent.
But let's talk about the good things first. The base model comes with lots of standard features like automatic temperature control, trip computer, a tilt steering column with integrated guages, and a rear parcel box, which sits behind the passenger. Beginning with the Enthusiast trim, cruise control, a HomeLink universal transceiver, sun visor extensions, and a lockable rear luggage box are added to this list. Move further up the chain and a more sophisticated stereo system can be had, and the only other major interior options that differ relate to leather/power seating and the available navigation system.
Dashboard layout is intuitive and easily readable, and the guages are anchored to the steering wheel so that they move with it if the driver chooses to change its position. There's lots of legroom for both driver and passenger, and whether you're cruising for a parking spot or speeding through highway traffic, the seats will hug you like an old friend. Another nifty feature you can turn on is a small light on the tachometer that assists in shifting between gears. It blinks as you approach an optimal shift point and turns solid to prompt you to throw it into the next gear.
Having said all that, however, the 350Z still has its flaws. Cup holders on the center console are located a bit too far back in an awkward place, making them hard to reach. The low seating and high window sills combine not only to make it awkward to rest your arm out the window, but also to make it impossible to see the front of the car from the driver's seat. There is no glove compartment, and storage space in general is very limited. To compensate for the glove, there is a small lockbox located behind the passenger seat; however, you must lean the passenger seat forward to reach it, and the mechanism to do this is electronic, which means the box is inaccessible if you've got a passenger or a dead battery.
But all in all, if you keep in mind that the 350Z is meant to be a performance vehicle - not a luxury cruiser - you should still be able to enjoy the ride.
Not much has changed with the looks of the Nissan 350Z, though there have been some revisions for 2006. Specifically, fewer but more prominent horizontal bars fill the grilles of the 2006 models. The headlights look the same, but aren't; both beams are now xenon high-intensity discharge units. HID headlamps produce whiter light. Taillights fit in the same openings but now consist of LEDs, in place of last year's filament bulbs. Light-emitting diodes offer quicker response for the brake lights than traditional bulbs.
The bulging fenders and fastback and short front and rear overhangs give the Coupe its aggressive stance. This taut body layout, coupled with weight savings gained from a carbon fiber-reinforced, plastic driveshaft and an aluminum hood (and on the Roadster, a plastic trunk lid), balance the Z well for responsive handling. As far as options, there aren't many to speak of, and the variations between the trims are relatively slight.
Styles and OptionsEdit
The 350Z is available in either a Coupe or Roadster body style. In addition, there are a total of five trim levels to outfit your 350Z: the Base trim, Enthusiast, Track, Touring, and Grand. Although all five of these trims can be applied to the Coupe, only the Enthusiast, Touring, and Grand versions are available for the Roadster. All models of the 350Z are powered by the same 3.5L 300hp V6 and 6-speed manual transmission, but a 287hp engine and 5-speed tiptronic transmission are an available option.
Several features are standard across all models, including HID headlights, an aluminum hood, automatic temperature control, tilt steering with integrated guages, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, and power locks, windows, and heated outside mirrors. As you move further up in trim level, some of the features that open up for you are a Navigation system, larger wheels, cruise control, leather/heated seats, and an advanced 7-speaker Bose stereo system.
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