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1003 2009 Nissan Cube Sl February Update
four seasons long-term tests

2009 Nissan Cube SL - Four Seasons Update - February 2010

SPRING
2009 Nissan Cube reviews to date

Months in Fleet: Two
Mileage to Date: 3995

At only about two months in our Four Seasons fleet, this Nissan is still the new Cube on the block. The cold snowy weather hasn't really encouraged long road trips but the Cube has nonetheless managed to accumulate nearly 4000 miles serving primarily as an urban runabout. Deputy editor Joe DeMatio spent a weekend with the Cube and came away impressed with its user-friendliness. "I love the Cube as a city car. It has great forward visibility and the driver's perch is just right. Ingress and egress are easy and it's simple to park and load," he observed. "The Cube handily meets all of my needs for running around town doing the errands that weekends require: grocery stores, hockey rinks, home-improvement stores, the recycling center, etc. First, we hit the recycling center on the way to the hockey rink. The flat rear floor had no problem holding several recycling bins and the requisite giant hockey bag. The next day it swallowed 28 linear feet of lumber. Because the rear seats don't fold flat, we had to fill the cavity behind the rear seats first, and then pile more on top of the folded seat backs. This isn't ideal but, then again, this is a very small vehicle."

Opinions on its exterior styling vary widely but one thing is for certain: it gets a lot of attention. "Everywhere you go in the Cube, you are vaguely - or acutely - aware that people are looking at your car and wondering what the heck it is," said DeMatio. Senior editor Joe Lorio was struck by how odd the Caribbean Blue Cube looks in the drab grayness which envelopes Southeastern Michigan in the winter. "Never mind how weird it looks in pictures, it's far more strange in the salt-splattered flesh. Sitting amidst a smattering of similarly salt-splattered pickups and crossovers and regular cars, it looks like an alien being in the Meijer parking lot."

To a few staffers, the decision to equip our Cube with Nissan's Xtronic CVT seemed like fuzzy logic. Copy editor Rusty Blackwell voiced his frustration claiming that the CVT "saps the fun from the Cube's driving experience." Others find it inoffensive and a natural companion to the Cube's laidback demeanor. "When used around town for normal driving, the Cube's CVT behaves fine, with little intrusion into comfort or drivability," said associate editor Eric Tingwall. But fans and critics alike agree that the CVT's significant increase in efficiency - particularly in the city where the CVT achieves 28 mpg versus 24 mpg for the manual gearbox - trumps the benefits of choosing the available manual or automatic transmissions.

In early February we fitted our baby blue box with Michelin snow tires and Mother Nature responded with several inches of the white stuff. With the winter footwear, we found "stability and braking were very good," although after plowing through a few larger snow drifts, snow "became lodged in the funky aluminum wheels resulting in a lumpy ride for a the next several miles."

So far, the Cube has proven to be extremely user-friendly and an adept urban companion despite some complaints about the CVT's bland personality. Several editors have griped about the excessive wind noise at highway speeds, so as the weather gets warmer and extended trips become commonplace, we are curious to see if the Cube is as livable on the interstate as it is around town.

2009 NISSAN CUBE SL

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

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

POWERTRAIN
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)

CHASSIS
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

MEASUREMENTS
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

STANDARD EQUIPMENT
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

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

relicxdude
Way to go Nissan! Uniqueness at it's best. Thinking inside and outside of the box.

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