If you’re going to spend a day behind the wheel just for the pleasure of it – driving 150 miles on small, curving back roads that aren’t big enough to show up on the GPS – a Nissan 370Z Roadster Tour is the ideal choice.
Small and pliant enough to handle easily when the road unexpectedly makes a turn around a tree bigger than the car, and with a drop-top that allows you to admire the entire tree, it really fits the roads.
Of course, it isn’t unpleasant when people in a sculpture garden admire the car sitting outside in the parking lot, even with its top up. We had both experiences on our Saturday drive through the hills and valleys between Los Altos and Watsonville, then back up the coast to Pescadero.
Surprisingly, there was even an adequate amount of room to carry a cooler for the sausage and a box for some potted plants we couldn’t resist. Of course, we shouldn’t get carried away – the trunk is only adequate for one bag of golf clubs. You’ll have to go alone to the club or pack a couple of squishy duffels for a weekend, so your travel partner had better relish traveling light and dressing casually.
Likewise, if one of you prefers those huge handbags in fashion today, it will have to go in the trunk – there is absolutely no excess space inside this roadster.
What we liked: Exterior styling (though Genie referred to the car as a “cute, chubby little rascal”), interior trim, fit of the soft top and power on tap (more than 300 horsepower in a middle-weight car).
What we didn’t like: Limited luggage space; lack of interior space.
Bottom line: This is the ultimate development of the Z-Cars, a nice step up from a Mazda Miata but still more affordable and comfortably faster than a Porsche Boxster; suitable for long days on any road, the curvier the better (if you pack light).