New Car Reviews

2009 Nissan Cube SL – Four Seasons Update – November 2010

Long-Term 2009 Nissan Cube Update: Fall 2010 ( 3 of 5 ) Miles to date: 0

Months in Fleet: Eleven
Mileage to Date: 23,113 miles

Now that it’s reached its eleventh month with us, our Nissan Cube is no longer the belle of our Four Seasons fleet. This is not to say that we’ve grown tired of the little blue box; it’s still regularly praised as an efficient and capable cargo hauler that provides all the relaxing coziness of your living room. Associate Web editor Evan McCausland has likened the Cube to a “four-wheeled stress ball.” He went on to say, “I can’t think of any other small car that allows its occupants to decompress so much. Kudos to Nissan for crafting a cabin that can embrace its passengers, but never comes off as encroaching.”

Equally as important as an interior’s design and comfort is its durability, and the Cube’s has held up well against the extreme use that comes with spending a year in our care. In fact, the Cube’s passenger compartment is nearly void of scratches and marks on high-traffic plastic surfaces including the console, central dash and steering wheel. Not surprisingly, the hard plastic lining the Cube’s rear cargo area carries the scars from being loaded up with objects ranging from loveseats to lumber. This is largely due to its configuration. Because the rear seats don’t fold flat onto the floor, larger objects often have to be leaned or propped on top of the seats making it difficult to secure items and prevent them from bumping the plastic that lines the sides of the cargo area.

Mechanically, the Cube has been nearly faultless. Maintenance has been performed every 5000 miles at our local Nissan dealer, totaling less than $35 each time. Each service visit includes fresh oil and oil filter, a battery and tire check, a lube of chassis hinges and latches, and fluid check. At 15,000 miles, a new in-cabin micro filtration and air filter were installed and a tire rotation was performed — in addition to the usual maintenance — totaling a still reasonable $140. During its most recent visit, the Cube underwent a few no-cost repairs, the result of two recalls issued by Nissan: replacing the fuel filler recirculation tube and installing a new passenger side curtain air bag.

The Cube’s footwear hasn’t faired as well. Despite being fitted with snow tires during the winter months, the little Nissan’s original equipment, all-season tires were very nearly used up after only 16,000 miles. Fortunately, it came just as we were reinstalling the Michelin X-Ice Xi2 snow tires for the Cube’s final month with us. Considering the Cube’s low sticker price, though, it has been a very cheap vehicle to maintain.

2009 Nissan Cube SL

Base price (with dest.): $17,510
As Tested: $19,490

Body style: 5-door hatchback
Accomodation: 5 passenger
Construction: Unibody construction, bolt-on front fenders

Engine: 16-valve DOHC in-line 4-cylinder
Displacement: 1.8 liters (xx cu in)
Power: 122 hp @ 5200 rpm
Torque: 127 lb-ft @ 4800
Transmission type : CVT
Drive: Front-wheel
EPA Fuel Economy: 28/30/29 (city/hwy/combined)

Steering: Vehicle speed-sensitive electric power-assisted
Lock-to-lock: 3.25
Turning circle: 33.4 ft
Suspension, front: Independent strut with coil springs and stabilizer bar
Suspension, rear: Torsion beam with integrated stabilizer bar
Brakes f/r: Front power-assisted vented disc; rear drum brakes; ABS
Wheels: 16.6-inch aluminum alloy
Tires: Toyo A20 all-season
Tire size: 195/55R16

Headroom f/r: 42.6/40.2 in
Legroom f/r: 42.4/35.5 in
Shoulder room f/r: 52.2/52.4 in
Wheelbase: 99.6 in
Track : 58.1/58.3 in
L x W x H: 156.7 x 66.7 x 65.0 in
Cargo capacity: 11.4/58.1 cu ft (rear/with seats folded)
Weight: 2849 lb
Fuel capacity: 13.2 gal
Est. fuel range: 383 miles
Fuel grade: 87 octane

1.8L 4-cylinder engine
Xtronic CVT transmission
Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC)
Traction control system (TCS)
Electronic brake force distribution (EBD)
4-wheel Antilock Braking (ABS)
Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)
AM/FM/CD audio system with 6-speakers
MP3 CD-ROM playback capability
Auxiliary jack
Speed sensitive volume
Keyless entry with integrated key
Power windows, locks
Cruise control with steering wheel controls

SL Preferred package, $1600
Interior Designer package, $230
Splash guards, $150
XM Satellite radio
Bluetooth hands-free system