All photos by Nissan
The Nissan Cube is a Mini MPV that has been around in Japan for over 10 years but was introduced in North America in 2009. We tested the 2011 Cube 1.8 S Krom®, a specialty edition with exclusive sport body pieces, 16-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, a custom interior with exclusive black and gray seats, and other premium features.
MPV stands for “multi-purpose vehicle,” and Mini MPVs are subcompacts characterized by a taller build. The Cube has a boxy design softened by curves and rounded edges with oval design elements for the large windows. The most striking feature is the asymmetrical rear window wraps around to the passenger side. The result is a truly unique look that is fresh and fashionable. Everything on this vehicle seems different and original, including the front grille and the rear of the vehicle. The rear hatch swings open along its vertical axis as opposed to lifting up like traditional hatchbacks.
When I first sat in the driver’s seat, I was struck by how much room there was in the interior. The design lends itself to plenty of head room, and you have the feeling that there’s plenty of space. You don’t feel like you’re in a small car. The next thing I noticed was the visibility in all directions. The large windows provide an excellent view of everything around you.
The design elements inside the Cube are also very unique and I suspect will have even broader appeal. It’s funky yet very practical. I liked the oval design elements of the air vents, and you get the impression that there are countless spaces to set your drink or store your personal items. All of the controls in the center dash were also very easy to use, particularly the climate settings arranged in a circle.
The clothe seats were very comfortable, with soft fabric and a cool pattern. There’s plenty of storage in the back as well. The Krom came with some nice extra features, including the push button ignition, the Nissan navigation system with a color touch-screen monitor, and upgraded sound system and XM satellite radio.
The Cube is truly fun to drive. It offers a very smooth ride for a smaller can and it zips around corners nicely. The acceleration was competitive and smooth with the CVT transmission. The visibility I mentioned above makes a big difference when driving both in the city and on the highway. The Cube has a 1.8 liter 4-cylender engine that generates 122 horsepower and 127 lb-ft of torque.
The Cube is a fun vehicle that will appeal to buyers looking for something practical and different. You won’t find too many cars that include things like a shag carpet dashboard pad. I highly recommend that you take the Cube for a spin if you’re drawn to the design, as the driving experience will likely seal the deal for you.
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