2020 Nissan 370Z vs. 2019 Toyota 86

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 86 doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

Both the 370Z and the 86 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.

The Nissan 370Z weighs 496 to 681 pounds more than the Toyota 86. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts. Crosswinds also affect lighter cars more.

Reliability

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 Toyota vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 7th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 4 more problems per 100 vehicles, Toyota is ranked 8th.

Engine

The 370Z’s standard 3.7 DOHC V6 produces 132 more horsepower (332 vs. 200) and 119 lbs.-ft. more torque (270 vs. 151) than the 86’s optional 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. The 370Z’s 3.7 DOHC V6 produces 127 more horsepower (332 vs. 205) and 114 lbs.-ft. more torque (270 vs. 156) than the 86’s standard 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. The 370Z NISMO’s standard 3.7 DOHC V6 produces 145 more horsepower (350 vs. 205) and 120 lbs.-ft. more torque (276 vs. 156) than the 86’s standard 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

As tested in Car and Driver the Nissan 370Z (base engine) is faster than the Toyota 86 2.0 (manual transmissions tested):

370Z

86

Zero to 60 MPH

4.8 sec

7.1 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

11.8 sec

17.6 sec

Quarter Mile

13.4 sec

15.4 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

107 MPH

93 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

The 370Z has 5.8 gallons more fuel capacity than the 86 (19 vs. 13.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

The Nissan 370Z Sport/NISMO manual has a downshift rev synchronizer that automatically raises engine speed to make downshifts perfectly smooth. This keeps the car from lurching during downshifts, preventing loss of control during cornering. The 86 doesn’t offer a downshift rev synchronizer.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the 370Z’s brake rotors are larger than those on the 86:

370Z

370Z Sport/NISMO

86

86 TRD Special Edition

Front Rotors

12.6 inches

14 inches

11.6 inches

12.8 inches

Rear Rotors

12.6 inches

13.8 inches

11.4 inches

12.4 inches

The 370Z stops much shorter than the 86:

370Z

86

80 to 0 MPH

197 feet

211 feet

Road and Track

70 to 0 MPH

157 feet

177 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

106 feet

119 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the 370Z has larger standard tires than the 86 (F:225/50R18 & R:245/45R18 vs. 215/45R17). The 370Z NISMO’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the 86 (F:245/40R19 & R:285/35R19 vs. 215/45R17).

The 370Z Sport/Sport Touring’s 275/35R19 rear tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the 86 TRD Special Edition’s 40 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the 370Z has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the 86. The 370Z Sport/Sport Touring’s 19-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels on the 86 TRD Special Edition.

Suspension and Handling

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the 370Z is .7 inches wider in the front and 1.2 inches wider in the rear than the track on the 86.

The 370Z NISMO handles at .99 G’s, while the 86 pulls only .86 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The 370Z executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.7 seconds quicker than the 86 (24.9 seconds @ .73 average G’s vs. 26.6 seconds @ .68 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the 370Z’s turning circle is 3.3 feet tighter than the 86’s (32.8 feet vs. 36.1 feet). The 370Z Sport/NISMO’s turning circle is 2 feet tighter than the 86’s (34.1 feet vs. 36.1 feet).

Chassis

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 86 doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the 370Z is quieter than the 86:

370Z

86

Full-Throttle

82 dB

88 dB

70 MPH Cruising

71 dB

73 dB

Passenger Space

The 370Z has 1.1 inches more front headroom, 1 inch more front legroom and 1.5 inches more front hip room than the 86.

Cargo Capacity

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the 370Z. The 86 doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

Servicing Ease

A maintenance reminder system is standard on the 370Z to save the owner time and money by calculating maintenance intervals for oil changes and tire rotation based on odometer mileage. This takes the guesswork out of keeping your vehicle in top condition and helps it last longer. Toyota doesn’t offer a maintenance reminder on the 86.

Ergonomics

If the windows are left open on the 370Z the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the 86 can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

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 86’s power mirror and cruise control switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the 370Z has standard extendable sun visors. The 86 doesn’t offer extendable visors.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the 370Z is less expensive to operate than the 86 because it costs $388 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the 370Z than the 86, including $46 less for a muffler, $26 less for front brake pads, $179 less for a starter, $244 less for fuel injection and $206 less for a fuel pump.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Nissan 370Z and the Toyota 86, based on reliability, safety and performance.

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

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