2020 Lexus RC vs. 2020 Nissan 370Z

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/02/29

The RC’s optional pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The 370Z doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The RC has standard Pre-Collision System, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The 370Z doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.

The RC offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The 370Z doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

The RC’s lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The 370Z doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The RC’s optional blind spot warning system uses digital cameras monitored by computer to alert the driver to moving objects in the vehicle’s blind spots where the side view mirrors don’t reveal them. The 370Z doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.

To help make backing safer, the RC’s optional cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The 370Z doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

The RC’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The 370Z doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

The RC has standard Safety Connect®, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The 370Z doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the RC and the 370Z have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras and available rear parking sensors.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and its standard front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the RC the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 180 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The 370Z has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

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The RC comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The 370Z’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

Lexus’ powertrain warranty covers the RC 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Nissan covers the 370Z. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the 370Z ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

The RC’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the 370Z’s (6 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

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A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the RC’s reliability 45 points higher than the 370Z.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus first in reliability, above the industry average. With 31 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 15th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Lexus first in reliability. Nissan is ranked 11th.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the RC gets better fuel mileage than the 370Z:

MPG

RC

RWD

Auto

300 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

21 city/30 hwy

350 3.5 DOHC V6

20 city/28 hwy

370Z

RWD

Manual

3.7 DOHC V6

17 city/26 hwy

Auto

3.7 DOHC V6

19 city/26 hwy

Environmental Friendliness

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In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Lexus RC higher (5 out of 10) than the Nissan 370Z (3). This means the RC produces up to 16.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the 370Z every 15,000 miles.

Transmission and Drivetrain

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The Lexus RC comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the 370Z.

An eight-speed automatic is standard on the Lexus RC rear-wheel drive, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a seven-speed automatic is available for the 370Z.

All wheel drive, available in the RC, provides the best traction for acceleration in wet, dry, and icy conditions. In corners, all wheel drive allows both outside wheels to provide power, balancing the car. This allows for better handling. The Nissan 370Z is not available with all wheel drive.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the RC’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the 370Z:

RC

370Z

Front Rotors

13.2 inches

12.6 inches

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the RC has larger standard tires than the 370Z (235/40R19 vs. 225/50R18).

The RC’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the 370Z’s standard 50 series front tires.

Suspension and Handling

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The RC has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The 370Z’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The RC offers an available driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The 370Z’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the RC’s wheelbase is 7.1 inches longer than on the 370Z (107.5 inches vs. 100.4 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the RC is 1.7 inches wider in the front and .6 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the 370Z.

Passenger Space

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The RC has standard seating for 4 passengers; the 370Z can only carry 2.

The RC has 32.2 cubic feet more passenger volume than the 370Z (83.8 vs. 51.6).

The RC has .8 inches more front headroom, 2.5 inches more front legroom and .3 inches more front shoulder room than the 370Z.

Cargo Capacity

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The RC has a much larger trunk than the 370Z (10.4 vs. 6.9 cubic feet).

A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the RC easier. The RC’s trunk lift-over height is 27.6 inches, while the 370Z’s liftover is 35.6 inches.

With its coupe body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the RC offers cargo security. The 370Z’s hatchback body style and non-lockable remote release defeat cargo security.

Servicing Ease

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The RC uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The 370Z uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Lexus service is better than Nissan. J.D. Power ranks Lexus second in service department satisfaction. With a 49% lower rating, Nissan is ranked 17th.

Ergonomics

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The RC has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The 370Z doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

To help each driver find a more comfortable driving position, the RC offers a telescoping steering wheel. Much better than just a tilt steering wheel or adjustable seat, this allows a short driver to sit further from the steering wheel while maintaining contact with the pedals. The 370Z doesn’t offer a telescoping steering wheel.

When three different drivers share the RC, the optional memory system makes it convenient for all three. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position, steering wheel position and outside mirror angle. The 370Z doesn’t offer a memory system.

The RC’s optional easy entry system raises the steering wheel and glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The 370Z doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The RC’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge - which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The 370Z does not have an oil pressure gauge.

The power windows standard on both the RC and the 370Z have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the RC is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The 370Z prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The RC’s optional wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The 370Z’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The RC offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The 370Z doesn’t offer headlight washers.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the RC detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The 370Z doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

The RC’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Nissan only offers heated mirrors on the 370Z Sport/Sport Touring/NISMO.

When the RC with available tilt-down mirrors is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The 370Z’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The RC offers optional automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The 370Z has an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the RC keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The 370Z doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

On extremely cold winter days, the RC’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The 370Z doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The RC’s standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. The 370Z doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the RC has a standard Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The 370Z doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

Economic Advantages

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The RC will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the RC will retain 48.24% to 49.88% of its original price after five years, while the 370Z only retains 40.39% to 47.23%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the RC is less expensive to operate than the 370Z because typical repairs cost much less on the RC than the 370Z, including $14 less for a water pump, $142 less for a muffler, $10 less for front brake pads and $271 less for front struts.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/02/29

The Lexus RC outsold the Nissan 370Z by almost two to one during 2019.

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