2008 Nissan 350Z Roadster

I'm not sure I'd want the 350Z Roadster as an everyday driver: the ride is too stiff, the storage area is compromised (which pretty much comes with the territory when you're talking about a two-seat convertible), and the cockpit is stark and somewhat downmarket. The steering wheel tilts but doesn't telescope, and the seats and seatback move fore and aft electrically, but height adjustment needs to be done by rotating a rather heavy plastic dial located on the side of the seat bottom cushion. Having said that, the engine is eager and plenty powerful, the brakes are good, and the steering is precise. If you can afford it, this is a great summer car, at its best when the top is down and the sun is shining.

Our particular test vehicle was the Enthusiast version, which is the least expensive 350Z, equipped with a six-speed manual transmission. The only option was the carpeted floor mats, for $95, putting the MSRP at $36,350. Standard features include 18-inch aluminum wheels, HID headlights, heated side-view mirrors.

One plus: the trunk, which on original inspection looked incredibly tiny, is actually not as small as I'd feared. I was able to stow my golf bag (sans the driver) back there. Of course, not much more would fit, but I think you could cram some shoes and maybe a really squishy small bag in at the same time. Also, because the roof folds into its own storage area under the tonneau cover, it doesn't impede the cargo area in the trunk.

Amy Skogstrom, Managing Editor

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