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Cubism traditionally refers to an early 20th-century style of art, popularized by Picasso, in which artists abandoned traditional perspectives in favor of the interplay among geometric shapes, interlocking planes and collage motifs. The Nissan Cube, one of the latest additions to the growing segment of compact, blocky hatchback wagons, is dressed up with an eclectic blend of curved styling cues, an asymmetrical rear window and ovoid front-side windows. Picasso would've dug it.
Offered with a manual transmission or a continuously variable transmission (CVT), the four-door Cube has a smooth four-cylinder engine and an airy cabin with ample headroom and legroom. Its real-world cargo-carrying ability is disappointing, though. This deficiency, plus the Cube's overly soft handling, relegates it to midpack status among compact wagons.
Current Nissan Cube
The Nissan Cube is a compact four-door hatchback wagon offered in S and SL trim levels. Motivation comes from a 1.8-liter four-cylinder that produces 122 horsepower, joined to either a six-speed manual transmission or a CVT. Base-level S models come standard with head curtain airbags, air-conditioning, power accessories, a 60/40-split sliding rear seat, Bluetooth and an auxiliary audio jack. The SL offers alloy wheels, keyless ignition/entry and automatic climate control, and can also be equipped with an optional navigation system, rearview camera and Rockford Fosgate sound system. Customizing Cubers can tempt themselves with a multitude of factory- and dealer-installed accessories that include body kits and interior styling mods.
Along with its attention-grabbing exterior design and park-anywhere footprint, the Nissan Cube boasts a tall, spacious cabin. Headroom and legroom are plentiful for all occupants, and the rear seat slides fore and aft. If you need to carry people and cargo, though, the Cube won't hold as much out back as some rivals, particularly with the rear seat in its rearmost position, which is required for adult-sized legroom. Subpar dashboard plastics also cheapen the experience.
In reviews, our editors have liked the sprightly 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine and the smooth, responsive CVT. Other than a gentle ride, those are pretty much the only driving highlights, though; the Cube's high center of gravity and soggy suspension simply can't keep up with an eager right foot, and its steering is numb and slow-witted. If you tend toward the slow and steady, you may not find much to complain about. Other competitors, however, inspire far more confidence when changing directions. Overall, even for fans of these compact bricks-on-wheels, the basic Nissan Cube is an unremarkable effort.
Used Nissan Cube Models
The Nissan Cube was an all-new model for 2009. In that first year, there were fewer standard features offered on the S, SL and Krom. The latter was offered through 2011 and featured unique styling flourishes and interior trim, along with additional standard equipment.
Read the most recent 2013 Nissan Cube review.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used Nissan Cube page.