New Car Reviews

2009 Nissan Cube SL – Four Seasons Update – April 2010

Long-Term 2009 Nissan Cube Update: Spring 2010 Array Miles to date: 0

Months in Fleet: Four
Mileage to Date: 7142 miles

After four months, the Nissan Cube has accumulated only 7142 miles, a relatively low number for a Four Seasons test car, but a clear reflection of the little Nissan’s strengths and weaknesses. The logbook is filled with praise for the attributes – handy size, tight turning radius, ease of ingress and egress – that make it an excellent vehicle for around-town activities but there is also no shortage of critical commentary on the Cube’s highway manners. “At 70 mph, the burdensome wind rush from the windshield header and A-pillars is nearly intolerable,” commented associate editor Eric Tingwall. Managing editor Amy Skogstrom added, “The excessive wind noise isn’t exactly surprising given the Cube’s boxy shape. Unfortunately, its squareness also means that heavy wind and/or large semis buffet the car around in its lane.”

These negatives also plagued our recently departed Four Seasons Honda Fit and several staffers have drawn comparisons between the two vehicles. Tingwall was the first note the two cars’ similarities but praised the Cube’s “impressive ride,” saying he would choose the Cube over the Fit if he planned to tackle a long distance road trip. Road test coordinator Mike Ofiara defended the Cube, adding that “its susceptibility to cross winds is no worse than that of the Honda Fit or other vehicles in the boxy car genre like the Scion xB and Kia Soul.” Although he then conceded that the Cube “would be more manageable if its steering was tighter. The numb on-center steering means that highway excursions require a lot of sawing at the wheel to keep the Cube pointed straight ahead.”

Although, the true test of the Cube’s long distance fitness will be the upcoming summer months when our staff hits the highways in earnest. We hope you’ll come along for the ride.

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
Weight dist. f/r: xx/xx%
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