2020 Nissan 370Z vs. 2019 Lexus RC

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The 370Z has standard Active Head Restraints, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Head Restraints system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The RC doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

Both the 370Z and the RC 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 and rearview cameras.

Warranty

There are almost 5 times as many Nissan dealers as there are Lexus dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the 370Z’s warranty.

Reliability

A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the 370Z’s engine. A rubber cam drive belt that needs periodic replacement drives the RC’s camshafts. If the RC’s belt breaks, the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Nissan vehicles are better in initial quality than Lexus vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 7th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 4 more problems per 100 vehicles, Lexus is ranked 8th.

Engine

The 370Z has more powerful engines than the RC:

Horsepower

Torque

370Z 3.7 DOHC V6

332 HP

270 lbs.-ft.

370Z NISMO 3.7 DOHC V6

350 HP

276 lbs.-ft.

RC 300 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

241 HP

258 lbs.-ft.

RC 300 AWD 3.5 DOHC V6

260 HP

236 lbs.-ft.

RC 350 3.5 DOHC V6

311 HP

280 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Car and Driver the Nissan 370Z (base engine) is faster than the RC 350 3.5 DOHC V6 (automatics tested):

370Z

RC

Zero to 60 MPH

4.6 sec

6 sec

Quarter Mile

13.1 sec

14.5 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

108 MPH

100 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

The 370Z has 1.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the RC (19 vs. 17.4 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

The 370Z offers a manual transmission for better acceleration, control and fuel economy. The RC doesn’t offer a manual transmission.

Brakes and Stopping

The 370Z stops much shorter than the RC:

370Z

RC

70 to 0 MPH

157 feet

178 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the 370Z NISMO’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the RC (F:245/40R19 & R:285/35R19 vs. F:235/40R19 & R:265/35R19).

Suspension and Handling

The 370Z NISMO handles at .99 G’s, while the RC 350 pulls only .85 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the 370Z’s turning circle is 1.4 feet tighter than the RC’s (32.8 feet vs. 34.2 feet). The 370Z Sport/NISMO’s turning circle is .7 feet tighter than the RC AWD’s (34.1 feet vs. 34.8 feet).

Chassis

The Nissan 370Z may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 400 to 450 pounds less than the Lexus RC.

The 370Z is 1 foot, 5.5 inches shorter than the RC, making the 370Z easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The 370Z Sport/Sport Touring/NISMO/50th Anniversary Edition uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The RC doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Ergonomics

The 370Z’s power window, power lock, power mirror and cruise control switches are lit from behind, making them plainly visible and easier to operate at night. The RC’s cruise control switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the 370Z is less expensive to operate than the RC because it costs $215 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the 370Z than the RC, including $334 less for a starter, $233 less for fuel injection, $7 less for a fuel pump, $614 less for a timing belt/chain and $604 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Nissan 370Z, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The Nissan 370Z outsold the Lexus RC by 110 units during 2018.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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