It's essentially the same car, but cheaper.
Take a look at any picture of the Nissan 370Z. Now, tell us if it is a 2020 model year. Or the year before, or the year before that. It's difficult to identify the specific model year of any 370Z because Nissan has barely changed it since the car was introduced for the 2009 model year. Sure, there have been some minor exterior tweaks over the years, including a few special editions like the new 50th Anniversary Edition, but for all intents and purposes, the 2020 car is nearly identical to the 2009 model.
For better or worse, the 370Z is now a 12-year-old car that's created a bit of an issue for Nissan. We recently tested a 2020 50th Anniversary model and although the experience was enjoyable, it would be tough to recommend spending over $36,000 on a new one. Instead, we recommend checking out the used market, where the Z has become an incredible bargain.
Why should you buy a used 370Z over a new one? The answer to that question is simple - it is the same car, but for less. Nissan's unwillingness to make significant changes to the 370Z for the past 12 model years has created an interesting situation where a used example can be purchased for a fraction of the cost and is virtually indistinguishable from a brand-new one. When recommending a used car over a new one, we typically talk about certain tech features or power upgrades you'll miss out on but in this case, there is almost no downside aside from a lack of a new car warranty.
A base 2020 Nissan 370Z starts at $30,090, making it more expensive than a Mazda MX-5 Miata or Toyota 86 but less expensive than a Toyota Supra. The most expensive and more powerful Nismo version costs $45,790, putting it dangerously close to Supra territory. But if you are willing to buy a 2009 example with over 100,000 miles, you can get a 370Z for as little as around $10,000. Even the more powerful Nismo model can be found for around $20,000, just a fraction of what you'd pay for a new one.
Nissan hasn't changed what's under the hood of the 370Z since 2009 - a 3.7-liter VQ series V6 engine. In its base configuration, the engine puts out 332 horsepower and 276 lb-ft of torque going to the rear wheels through either a six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic transmission. The Nismo trim bumps the power up to 350 hp and drops the 0-60 mph time from five seconds down to 4.7. We highly recommend opting for the six-speed manual with auto rev-matching. The heavy clutch and gear change will keep you more involved in the driving experience compared to the automatic and the 3.7-liter V6 hits peak power at over 7,000 rpm, begging you to wind out the engine to its limit.
Unless you have been living under a rock since 2009, the 370Z's interior will feel out of date. But since this is also the case with a brand-new 370Z, we are willing to forgive the used examples for their interior shortcomings. The biggest option you can get in the Z is a touchscreen navigation head unit, which replaces the base radio. Base cars are equipped with a simplistic radio with a cubby above it while the nicer trims get navigation, Bluetooth streaming audio, and a Bose sound system. Nissan's navigation system was fine back in 2009 but it feels extremely dated by today's standards. In our opinion, you are better off getting the base radio, which can easily be replaced via the aftermarket and includes a handy cubby area to store a phone.
So long as you don't get the convertible - which we don't recommend anyway - the Nissan 370Z is a pretty practical two-seater. The rear cargo area offers 6.9 cubic feet of storage space, which is enough for a large suitcase. Fuel economy isn't terrible either for a 332-hp car, with EPA rating of 19-mpg in the city and 26-mpg on the highway. In real-world driving, we achieved over 30-mpg on the highway in a 370Z.
The Nissan 370Z is one of the most curious used cars we've ever looked at. Unlike most used cars, which sacrifice the latest technology or a major advantage in performance or reliability in exchange for cost savings, a used 370Z doesn't seem to have any downsides. Aside from not having a warranty, there is almost no reason to purchase a brand-new 370Z over a used one. We still enjoy driving the 370Z and would recommend one as a first sports car but it makes much more sense to buy one that is a few years old.