The 2009 Nissan Cube is the third entry into the GENX design started with the Scion XB, XD and the recent 2010 Kia Soul release. They’re all cute, hip, fun and versatile. The Cube four levels of features all based on the standard 1.8l 4 cyl engine and body frame chassis-suspension.
The CUBE sits lower than the Soul and is wider than the Scion, providing a well balanced feeling of interior roominess and road handling. The Steering is nimble and responsive with a great turning radius. The lower platform keeps the car from being “pushed” all over the road. The CVT 4cyl. is typically doggy from the start but excels well from 30mph. At 50mph the wind noise is significant, but not unusual for the shape of all these boxy styles. The oversized windows provide plenty of visability, losing the claustrophobic feeling of a small car. (There is no option for a moon roof, or leather interior, from the factory.) The front grill borrows heavily from the Scion XB and XD, but the accessories catalog offers alot of options to make your CUBE a personal statement. The exterior colors fail to excite; Caribbean blue, bitter chocolate, moss green, scarlet, steel grey, black, white, and silver are all flat, falling somewhere between muted colors and basic monotones, all lacking metallic flake or iridescence.
Inside the standard must haves are plentiful, including power windows, locks, tilt, cruise, iPod jack, front and side airbags, key-less entry, vehicle stability control, security and tire pressure monitoring. Options include push-button start, Rockford Fosgate stereo and speakers, mood lighting, satellite radio, laminate or aluminum interior finishes, Bluetooth, rear spoiler, fog lamps and Chrome rims. The glove box holds a ton of stuff, and the seats are very comfortable both on your butt and lower back. I wouldn’t be afraid to take a five hour trip in this car. The smartest move I’ve seen this year for interior design is the black/dark carpet and mats with a light trim panel and seat surface. There are plenty of cup holders in dashes and door sills and wash and wear seat fabric allows small children to enjoy car picnics without making mom and dad clean crazy. The cargo space is typically small when the rear seats are providing maximum leg space or reclining with passengers. When the seats are folded and pushed forward, filler-up. The lower floor rear hatch sill makes access for loading/unloading heavy items from the tailgate very easy. The swing-away tail gate stays in position, even in a stiff wind. A swing away vs. tailgate keeps you from hitting your head when loading or unloading. The spare tire is mounted under the car, not on the back door.
If you are comparing the Scion XB and XD, Kia SOUL, Mini Cooper, to the Nissan CUBE, drive them all and match your budget to the features you must have. IMHO: The Kia’s warranty surpasses them all, but Nissan wins on roominess and handling, Scion gets stars for colors and Mini well, Mini Cooper wins for being the smallest car in the category.
All in all here’s my overall impressions of the 2009 Nissan CUBE:
Likes: Fit and finish. Rear seat versatility. Comfortable seats, good back support. Solid road control.
Dislikes: 122hp doesn’t get over CVT o-60 drag. Wind noise at higher speed. Exterior color selection.
Overall: the Nissan Cube is good value for the money. Starting at $16k, the standard features and MPG offer a solid ROI.
In the future: I would like to see more HP, a hybrid option and interchangeable color masks and door panels.
Watch my review here: MYCARLADY TEST DRIVE REVIEW
READ MORE ABOUT THE CUBE at: MSN FIRST DRIVE:
Sarah Lee is a 20+ yr car business veteran. My Carlady is her personal car buying agency at www.mycarlady.com, helping clients all over the country buy cars without the hassle, haggling car dealer games. She is the ultimate consumer advocate. A published author on all topics car-related. You can follow her for regular auto-related updates on twitter @mycarlady.
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