It is rare for automakers to introduce a vehicle that was so clearly designed to divide opinion. People either love or hate the look of the Cube and for that simple fact it should be loved. But the Cube is so much more than just a one-off styling exercise. It is also inexpensive to buy, comes well equipped, possesses one of the most comfortable interiors anywhere and it is fuel efficient.
As it possesses so many positive practical features perhaps the Cube isn’t just right for the twenty-something buyers Nissan is no doubt hoping for. With so much headroom this is also the perfect “kid-taxi” for parents of, say, ever-growing teenage boys. It’s so cool looking the kids might even want to borrow it once they turn sixteen.
The Cube also would make a fine choice for senior citizens on a budget. As the doors open so wide and the greenhouse is so tall, getting into the 2010 Cube is far easier for people who might not be able to maneuver as comfortably up into an SUV. And with fuel economy ratings of 27 city/31 highway from the optional CVT automatic, running costs should also stay very low for any owner.
The 2010 Cube is powered by a 1.8 liter 4-cylinder engine that delivers 122 horsepower ensuring that it has just enough power to keep up with the cut and thrust of modern traffic. A manual transmission is standard while the CVT automatic is a no-cost option. Steering is a touch on the light side but great for parking lot maneuvers and weights up nicely the faster you go.
But the point of the Cube is not handling prowess or drag-racing from stoplights. This is a mobile living room that can be used to transport your stuff, your friends or your family (this would also make a fine dog car). The interior is made from sturdy fabrics and plastics which is important to know if you are buying and not leasing.
Leasing a Cube, however, might be kind of silly as base models with air conditioning, power everything and a decent stereo start at $13,990 while the $15,030 S version adds Bluetooth, iPod connectivity, steering wheel audio controls, a premium audio system and improved trim making it the best bargain out of the Cube lineup.
You can also get an SL ($17,130) which adds automatic temperature control and alloy wheels or the special edition Krom which turns the cute Cube into something out of a “Mad Max” movie thanks to body add-ons, chrome trim, a new metal grille and a Rockford Fosgate audio system with a huge subwoofer. The Krom costs $20,120 which pretty much negates most of the whole high value appeal of the Cube.
There are plenty of “ooh-aah” features inside the Cube, as well, like a headliner designed to look like ripples moving across a pond, speedometer/tachometer gauges that when lit at night are supposed to look like the Earth and the Moon (huh?) and there is even an optional shag carpet you can place on top of the dashboard. There is no point to the shag carpeting it is all just part of the experience.
In a review of the Cube on TheCarConnection.com auto expert Bengt Halvorson liked the tall, airy greenhouse, perky engine and surprising amount of refinement for such an inexpensive car. It is true, the Cube feels much more expensive than it is most especially in the interior. Then if you add in how many ways you can utilize a 2010 Cube in your daily life it becomes easy to see why this asymmetrical box on wheels is the world’s most unlikely family car.