New Car Reviews

2009 Nissan Cube SL – Four Seasons Update – March 2010

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

Months in Fleet: Three
Mileage to Date: 5802 miles

Over the course of the first three months with our Nissan Cube, we’ve found that some of the interior storage options are all show and no stow. Deputy Editor Joe DeMatio, who is never more than an arm’s length from his beloved iPhone, was the first to complain. “Despite all the space and the cubbyholes, there is not one great place to put my cell phone. There’s an orifice in the dash to the right of the steering wheel, but it’s too narrow for an iPhone. The cupholders work, but they’re down too low and too far forward. There’s another slot near the e-brake that’s okay, but not great. I suppose I could have used the cupholder that’s up high to the left of the steering wheel, but I would usually grab my phone with my right hand.”

He was only slightly appeased by the bungee cords on the driver’s door. “I did manage to use the little bungees to hold a check that I was taking to the bank.” Unlike Joe, most of the Automobile Magazine staff has yet to find a use for them. Managing Editor Amy Skogstrom voiced her confusion: “I suppose you could use it to hold an envelope, or a pen, or a piece of paper, but why not just use one of the bins? Or at least locate the bungees somewhere else in the car’s interior – it seems as if the opening and closing of the door could jar whatever is placed there loose, and it could fall out of the car altogether when the door is opened.” Although she’s a child of the 70s, Skogstrom isn’t sold on the usefulness of the shag dash patch either. “The patch of carpet on the dash strikes me as a gimmick. The carpet is supposed to be useful for holding things on the dash, but because it’s canted toward the windshield, anything you put on it ends up sliding forward.”

Several staffers were a bit dismayed at what appeared to be a lack of satellite radio. Never one to back away from a challenge, keen-eyed copy editor Rusty Blackwell discovered the well-hidden button. “It took me a couple days to realize it, but this car does have satellite radio. Strangely, it seems that the only way to access XM is through the steering wheel’s ‘source’ button. I guess if you ordered a Cube with satellite radio (which is available only on SL models, so satellite radio unfortunately isn’t available with a stick shift), you’d know it’s there.” Thanks for sharing that useful tidbit, Rusty.

Because of the Cube’s boxy shape, the ergonomics are often less than ideal, making it difficult to operate some of the controls. The location of the HVAC controls has received the most complaints. “No matter how frequently I use it or attempt to commit the buttons to memory, I can’t for the life of me adjust the climate control without staring at the interface. The conventional three-knob setup on the non-automated system — found on base Cube and S models – is much easier to use while driving, ” commented Web producer Evan McCausland. Skogstrom had a similar issue with the controls, saying “I agree with those who’ve mentioned that adjusting the climate controls causes you to take your eyes from the road – the controls just seem to be located a little too low on the center column for easy adjustability.”

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