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The Nissan Cube is a whimsically styled compact hatchback with an emphasis on versatility and value. Thanks to a profile that perfectly matches its name, the Cube has plenty of room for adults in its backseat. And if you fold the rear seatbacks down, it can haul a lot of stuff, too. Nonetheless, the Cube's pricing is typical for a compact car, so even a new one won't break the bank, and a used one could be a great deal.
Offered with a manual transmission or a continuously variable automatic (CVT) paired to a small four-cylinder engine, the four-door Cube won't win many races. Moreover, its fuel economy is disappointing for a car in this class. But if the Cube's funky styling speaks to you, perhaps you're willing to live with these shortcomings. Just be sure to check out capable rivals like the Honda Fit and Kia Soul before making your final decision.
Current Nissan Cube
The Nissan Cube is a compact four-door hatchback wagon. A 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine sends 122 horsepower to the front wheels via a six-speed manual transmission or a CVT. Fuel economy tops out around 30 mpg, a poor performance by segment standards.
The Cube is offered in two trim levels: S and SL. Base-level S models come standard with alloy wheels, air-conditioning, power accessories, Bluetooth and a height-adjustable driver seat. The SL adds larger wheels, keyless ignition/entry and automatic climate control, and it's eligible for options like a navigation system, a rearview camera and a 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 design and park-anywhere dimensions, the Nissan Cube boasts a tall, spacious cabin. Headroom and legroom are plentiful for all occupants, and the backseat both reclines and slides fore and aft. With the rear seatbacks folded down, the Cube can carry nearly 60 cubic feet of cargo, putting it on par with some small crossover SUVs. If you need to carry people and cargo at the same time, though, you may be out of luck, as there isn't much space behind the second row.
Driving a Nissan Cube is an underwhelming experience. While the ride is agreeably comfort-tuned, the car can feel overly soft and unwilling when going quickly around turns, an unusual trait in a compact car. Taller drivers may wish for a telescoping steering wheel, and all occupants would benefit from less wind noise at highway speeds. Under the hood, the 1.8-liter four provides average acceleration, but its subpar fuel economy is disappointing. There are certainly some good reasons to buy a Cube -- they're just not readily apparent from the driver seat.
Used Nissan Cube Models
The current, first-generation Nissan Cube debuted for the 2009 model year with base, S, SL and Krom trim levels on tap. The base model came with rudimentary steel wheels but did enjoy air-conditioning and full power accessories; the Krom, meanwhile, featured exclusive styling enhancements like a chrome three-bar grille and two-tone upholstery, as well as Rockford Fosgate audio and other content upgrades. This was also the only model year in which the unforgettable Ginormous package was offered. You can look it up.
For 2010, Bluetooth became standard on every Cube, and the S received two additional audio speakers and an iPod interface. Also, the Krom got a color audio display and a couple other extras as standard. The 2011 Cube ditched the formerly available Garmin navigation unit in favor of an optional integrated touchscreen navigation system. For 2012, the Krom trim was discontinued, and the base trim bit the dust for 2013.