The Nissan Cube is dressed up with an eclectic blend of curved styling cues, an asymmetrical rear window and ovoid front-side windows. John Marazzi Nissan in Naples and Fort Myers, Florida offers several different trim levels with a manual transmission or a continuously variable transmission (CVT), the four-door Cube offers a smooth four-cylinder engine and an airy cabin with ample headroom and legroom. Disappointingly, though, the Cube's real-world cargo-carrying ability is less impressive than the diminutive Honda Fit's. This foible plus the Cube's overly soft handling relegate it to also-ran status among compact wagons.
The Nissan Cube is a compact four-door hatchback wagon offered in several trim levels. The two available transmissions are a six-speed manual and a CVT. Base Cubes come standard with head curtain airbags, air-conditioning, power accessories, a 60/40-split sliding rear seat and a CD player. Higher trims offer frills like cruise control, upgraded audio, alloys, automatic climate control and iPod/MP3 capability. Customizing Cubers can head straight for the Krom model with its unique body pieces, polished wheels, two-tone interior and premium Rockford Fosgate audio. If that's a bit much pricewise, the Ginormous Package for the more affordable SL model features styling mods inside and out, and all Cubes can be outfitted with a mind-numbing multitude of dealer-installed Nissan accessories.
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.
"Nissan's Cube offers a surprising amount of space and practicality in a small and highly styled packaged. People shopping small sport utility vehicles, and outgoing folk looking for something beyond the ordinary subcompact universe should give Nissan's personality infused little box a look." -- Consumer Guide
Nissan Cube Named 2010 TOP SAFETY PICK BY IIHS
The Nissan cube® has earned a 2010 Top Safety Pick award from the
Insurance Institute of Highway Safety. The Top Safety Pick award recognizes
vehicles that provide superior overall crash protection among vehicles in their
class and only includes vehicles with available electronic stability control.
The cube comes standard with Nissan's electronic stability control system,
Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC)
The IIHS has expanded the criteria to earn a Top Safety Pick with the 2010 version of the award. In addition to earning a "GOOD" rating in each of the front, side, and rear impact tests performed by the IIHS, a vehicle must also earn a "GOOD" rating in their new roof crush evaluation.
About the safety features of the Nissan cube:
Cube's long list of standard safety features includes the Nissan Advanced Air Bag System (AABS), seat-mounted driver and front-passenger side-impact supplemental air bags, and roof-mounted curtain side-impact supplemental air bags for front and rear-seat outboard occupant head protection.
Cube also offers standard front-seat Active Head Restraints, Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) and Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) with Traction Control System (TCS), along with an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist (BA).
IIHS is a non-profit research institution funded by over 60
automobile insurance companies. The Institute performs hundreds of tests
every year in order to comparatively rate the safety and repair cost
A full release from IIHS is attached.
Nissan is pleased that its ongoing commitment to product safety is reflected in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's 2010 Top Safety Pick honors given to the Nissan cube.
We design all of our products to provide a high level of occupant safety in a wide range of real-world crashes. The cube offers a full complement of standard safety features, including vehicle dynamic control with a traction control system, multiple standard air bags, featuring the Nissan Advanced Air Bag System (AABS) with dual stage supplemental front air bags with seat belt sensors and an occupant classification sensor, roof-mounted curtain supplemental side-impact air bags for front-and rear-seat occupant head protection, along with a standard Tire Pressure Monitor System (TPMS) and driver/passenger seat belt warning lamps. Also standard are front seat belts with pretensioners and load limiters, LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) child seat anchors and tether system, front seats with active head restraints and Zone Body Construction with front and rear crumple zones to help dissipate crash energy away from the passenger compartment.
The 2010 Nissan Cube is turning heads in
Naples at John Marazzi Nissan.
Built on Nissan's B-platform chassis (used in the Versa and Sentra), the Cube is powered by a 1.8-liter, 122-horsepower four cylinder; offers a choice of automatic or six-speed manual transmission; and is nicely equipped for $13,990, including stability control.
The science of aerodynamics tells us that air is a fluid with its own viscosity and inertia. When an object such as an automobile moves through it, the object is enveloped in a thin layer known as a laminar flow. Where the laminar airflow shears away from the surface it quickly degrades into a chaos of disordered air, or turbulence, which results in energy-sapping drag. The longer and smoother a surface -- the more it approximates a perfect teardrop shape -- the more aerodynamically efficient an object will be.
Designing a car involves hundreds of hours of wind-tunnel analysis as engineers, making sometimes extraordinarily fine sub-millimeter adjustments, chase down excess drag, wind noise and lift. The process is tedious but there is a certain beauty to it, as the car's exterior is gradually brought into harmony with the reifying, God-given properties of nature.
And then there's the air-hating box of ugly, the 2009 Nissan Cube.
The Cube is to aerodynamics what a collapsing bridge is to Olympic diving, what slipping on an icy sidewalk is to "Swan Lake," what poached dirt on toast is to a gourmet breakfast. It's a travesty, a mockery, a baleful parody of auto aerodynamics. Nissan Motor Co. says the design was inspired by a "bulldog in sunglasses." My question: Which end is wearing the sunglasses"
Of course, it's not supposed to be beautiful, if by "beautiful" you mean sleek, lean, porpoise-like. That's a very old school, geezerly car aesthetic that simply doesn't resonate with a lot of young people. For echo boomers and millennials born from 1980 to 1990, beautiful is counterintuitively clumsy, affectedly unsleek, modular and angular, as in Wii consoles, iPhones and the large, squarish heads of the Jonas Brothers. It's no accident that Nissan has tagged the Cube its "mobile device."
To bring you up to speed a bit: The Cube is a huge hit for Nissan in Japan, and now -- given a projected upswing in the small crossover segment in the U.S. -- the company has homologated it for the North American market. Built on Nissan's B-platform chassis (used in the Versa and Sentra), the Cube is powered by a 1.8-liter, 122-horsepower four cylinder; offers a choice of automatic or six-speed manual transmission; and is nicely equipped for $13,990, including stability control.
Why is stability control important" Because the Cube is aimed at relatively inexperienced drivers, those 18 to 25 years old. I would never let my new driver on the road without stability control. Seriously.
What's fascinating to me is the psychographic opportunity Nissan thinks it has identified. The reasoning is that many of the intended buyers -- or drivers -- will still be living at home with one or both parents. Nissan proposes the Cube as their home away from home, their own lounge-like space to hang out with friends, decorate as they please and generally establish a base camp on the road to adulthood.
Though I am several decades beyond the target audience, I get it. The Cube's interior -- the faraway windshield, the nearly vertical windshield pillars, the open seating, the airy cabin and towering headroom -- is more studio loft than economy car. For a car only 156.7 inches in length, over a wheelbase of 99.6 inches, the Cube is Alice's looking glass of unexpected vastness. There are trays and flat surfaces carved into the doors and dash, places to throw stuff. There's a kind of flower-box divot built over the dash and bungee straps built into the doors to hold things such as pens, iPods, sandals . . . what-everrr.
You might think all the headroom would go to waste -- I could wear a large raccoon on my head while driving, no problem. What I found is that with the open space, people in the back can comfortably carry on a conversation with the people in the front without feeling like they are breathing down their necks. So the car is uniquely social, which is how the kids like their media too.
Cargo space with the rear seat down is a very utilitarian 56 cubic feet. Meanwhile, the smoked-out rear passenger and back windows provide a serious amount of privacy. Uh-oh.
To be sure, the Cube has some conspicuous design grace notes. You will appreciate the rock-in-a-pond ripple motif in the cup holders, speakers and most notably the headliner. Also notable is the side-hinged rear hatch and the asymmetric wraparound rear window. All very cool.
The previous champion of boxiness, the Scion xB, demonstrated that -- as youth-oriented and Japan-chic as these square vehicles are -- older consumers liked them too. Nissan expects the demand for the Cube to be bimodal, which is to say, consisting primarily of customers in the 20- to 29-year-old range and their parents, 45 to 59 years old. If Dad is making the payments, is Junior going to deny him the keys"
How does the Cube drive" It's OK. It doesn't invite reckless abandon, that's for sure, but you wouldn't want it to. The model I drove, an SL with the continuously variable transmission (automatic), was competently quick and effortless to drive, with good, solid brakes, comfortable ride and very tight turning radius, making it super easy to park. But again, evaluating a car like this on its performance is like judging Bar Refaeli on her knowledge of trade policy.
With a little more money, kids can step up to the Krom package (pronounced "chrome"), with 16-inch alloy wheels, a thumping six-speaker stereo with iPod interface, tastier upholstery and interior lighting. At less than $20,000, the Cube Krom seems like a genuinely decent value.
PERFORMANCE & SAFETY