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Ted LaturnusWith spring just around the corner, it’s top-down time. If you’re in the market for a pre-owned model, the 2010 Nissan 370Z Roadster is a decent choice.

After a major redesign, in 2009, Nissan lowered the price and reduced the size of its flagship roadster. Strictly a two-seater, it was now shorter and lighter, with a smaller wheelbase and a more affordable sticker price than before.

Content was also up and for most typical buyers, that was a good thing. There were six trim levels to choose from, with the top model having a hard-drive navigation system, larger 19-inch alloy wheels and upgraded brakes. Differences between the ’09 and 2010 models are minor.

In 2010, you could order heated and ventilated bucket seats, an automatic engine rpm synchronizer, rear wind deflector, and seven-speed automatic transmission, among other things.

You could also get a power top that remotely raises or lowers while you’re standing outside the car. This latter function is accomplished via Nissan’s key fob feature that allows you to activate the top by pressing a small button on the driver’s side door beside the door lock.

The power top is made out of cloth, as opposed to vinyl, and has a glass rear window. Raise/lower time is about 20 seconds. It’s accessed via a centre console-located button and everything stashes away neatly in the trunk. It can also be raised or lowered while the car is in motion – up to five km/h. While creeping along in traffic, for example, you don’t have to put the car in park or neutral or activate the hand-brake before the top works.

With the top down, there’s still enough cargo area in the trunk to accommodate a set of golf clubs.

Power is delivered by Nissan’s redoubtable VQ-series V6. In this configuration, it develops 332 horsepower and 270 foot-pounds of torque. Nissan also designed the engine in this iteration to be a little louder than it used to be, giving the ’10 roadster a sportier, more visceral feeling. It comes with either a six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic transmission.

This version of the 370Z Roadster was arguably one of the best performing models on the market at the time. That said, prospective buyers should keep in mind that it’s a high-performance automobile and may have been run hard by previous owners. It also requires premium gas.

There are no safety recalls to report for the 2010 Nissan 370Z Roadster or for the hardtop coupe. However, the U.S.-based National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had 22 technical service bulletins on file and they range from unco-operative door locks, to issues with the navigation software, to the tire pressure monitoring light flashing randomly, to unreliable Xenon headlights, to my favourite: “Engine oil level is low. There is unusual noise.” No kidding.

Consumer Reports wasn’t too fond of this one. It got poor marks in areas like paint and trim, audio equipment, body squeaks and rattles, and the engine cooling system. Although they liked the handling and braking of the 2010 Zed, CR gave this one a “much worse than average” overall rating.

CR comments from owners included “clunky convertible top” and “noisy cabin.” The latter was fairly common with this car with the top up and, in fact, the 370Z Roadster was quieter in operation with its top down. And it’s a sports car, after all.

This vintage of Nissan’s fun-to-drive runabout fetches anywhere up to the mid-$20,000s, depending on mileage and equipment level.

2010 Nissan 370Z Roadster

Original base price: $46,998
Engine: 3.7- litre V6
Horsepower, torque: 332 hp and 270 foot-pounds
Transmission: Seven-speed automatic or six-speed manual
Fuel economy: 11.9 litres/100 km in city, 8.1 highway (manual transmission), with premium fuel.
Alternatives: Mazda Miata, Porsche Boxster S, BMW Z4, Audi TT Roadster, Chevrolet Corvette, Mercedes SLK.

Ted Laturnus writes for Troy Media’s Driver Seat Associate website. An automotive journalist since 1976, he has been named Canadian Automotive Journalist of the Year twice and is past-president of the Automotive Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC).

nissan roadster

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