By Peter Perrotta
There are certain cars you look at and you immediately know what they are. The shape and sculpt of the sheet metal bring an instant recognition.
The Corvette has that iconic look to it. For Nissan, the Z coupe roadster is as close as it comes to its American counterpart.
When you see a “Z” there is no mistaking what it is. Nissan took a break from producing the Z in 2020 when they discontinued production of the 370 Z.
For 2023, it’s back. This time Nissan has dropped the numbers in front of its name and simply call it the “Z.”
I recently road tested the 2023 Nissan Z Performance model with a six-speed manual transmission for one week.
This week’s On The Road will take a look at the Z and the 2024 Kia Seltos crossover SUV.
2023 Nissan Z Performance M/T
At first look the new 2023 Z looks like its predecessors, perhaps a bit more streamlined and sleek, but unmistakably it still screams “Z.”
When you slip into the cockpit of this two-seater, it fits like a glove.
Despite being small, there is still plenty of headroom and legroom and the sight lines are solid all around.
The excitement comes when you punch the accelerator for the first time and you realize that this Z has some rocket power.
Powered by a 3.0-liter V-6 twin turbo that puts out 400 horsepower, this generation Z packs an exhilarating punch off the line.
It is available in a six-speed manual (which is what I drove) as well as a nine-speed automatic.
This rear drive Z handles tightly through the turns as well. However, I found the suspension to be a bit stiff over bumps making traveling over rough roads to be a bit unpleasant.
The six-speed shifter was smooth enough, however, I found the clutch to be a bit “hard” – meaning it took a decent amount of foot pressure to engage.
Overall, though, it’s a pure fun car to drive for what it is: a two-seat, rear drive sports roadster.
For now, the Z is available in two trim levels, the Sport (starting at $42,085) and the Performance ($52,085).
The test car I drove carried a bottom-line sticker price of $54,055.
The added options included a two-tone (red/black) premium paint job ($1,695) and $400 for an upgraded floor mat package.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fuel consumption ratings on the Z come in at 20 miles per gallon (mpg) overall – 18 mpg in city driving and 24 on the highway.
The EPA estimates that the annual fuel costs would come in at $2,750 as it uses about five gallons of gas per every 100 miles.
On a scale of 1 to 10, overall I would rate the new Z a solid 7.
2024 Kia Seltos SX Turbo AWD
The Seltos slots into the slightly larger than subcompact crossover SUV category, which is a very crowded and competitive field these days.
The two-row, five-seat Seltos has to go up against the Mazda CX-30, Hyundai Kona, VW Taos, which are all formidable competitors.
However, freshly redesigned for 2024 inside and out, the Seltos, while it won’t “Wow” anyone, certainly has a lot to offer for its price point.
I recently road tested the Seltos SX turbo AWD for one week and found it was a good solid crossover SUV all around.
It is comfortable, has a decent ride to it and overall, a very pleasant vehicle to own that checks all the right boxes.
On a scale of 1 to 10, I would have to rate it a 7.5 overall.
There are five different trim levels for the Seltos: LX (starting at $25,715); S ($26,315); EX ($27,115); X-line ($30,015) and the top-of-the-line SX ($31,315).
The AWD turbo Seltos SX I tested carries a bottom-line sticker price of $31,885.
Everything was standard features on my tester except for $395 for two tone paint and $175 for carpeted floor mats.
The EPA fuel consumption rating on the Seltos comes in at 26 mpg overall – 25 mpg in city driving and 27 on the highway.
The estimated annual average fuel costs comes in at $2,100 as it uses 3.8 gallons per every 100 miles.
The turbo charged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine puts out 195 horsepower – not enough to be truly impressive but just enough to be adequate.
Peter Perrotta’s On The Road column appears every other week. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On the Road is sponsored by Capital Motor Cars of Springfield, N.J. the leading new car leasing broker in the tri-state region.