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Nissan Cube

A funky and practical tall hatchback.

Even though it’s been on sale for some time, the Nissan Cube still pegs the geek-chic meter, thanks to its asymmetrical body, side-opening back door, and water-droplet-inspired interior. The divisive styling conceals a tall hatchback that is remarkably practical and comfortable. Small wheels located at the far corners of the car preserve interior space but make the Cube look rather toylike. A well behind the rear seats provides plenty of cargo space, and the seats fold forward (but not flat into the floor) for carrying larger items. The low step-in height; large doors; expansive windows; and wide, plush seats make the Cube pleasant to ride in. The driving experience is somewhat less enjoyable, with tepid acceleration from the 122-hp in-line four-cylinder engine, numb steering, and plenty of wind noise. The Cube can be equipped with a six-speed manual or a continuously variable transmission, both of which return decent fuel economy. Ripple-effect plastics and a shag-carpet dashboard mat make for an intriguing interior. The Cube was designed as a “casual lounge” and has enough head- and legroom to please even the tallest occupants. Gadgets like push-button start, navigation, Bluetooth, and a back-up camera are available on higher trim levels. For those who want to add their own designer touches, Nissan offers a long list of accessories.

COMPETITORS

Honda Fit

Kia Soul

Scion xB

Scion xD

new for 2013

The base Cube 1.8 trim level has been eliminated, as has the special 1.8 S Indigo Edition. All models now wear a Nissan PureDrive badge. Sapphire slate replaces golden ginger in the paint palette, and the special-order Cargo Version Package has been eliminated.

SAFETY EQUIPMENT

Front, side, and side curtain air bags are standard, as are stability and traction control, ABS with brake assist, and a tire-pressure monitoring system.

High Mileage

MPG

CITY 25–27

HWY 30–31

PRO

Unique styling

Spacious, comfortable interior

Bargain priced

CON

Unique styling

Numb power steering

Tepid acceleration

Base Price Range: $16,000–$19,500 (est.)

SPECIFICATIONS

DRIVE: Front-wheel

TRIM LEVELS: 1.8 S, 1.8 SL

BODY STYLE: Hatchback, 5-passenger

ENGINE: 1.8L I-4, 122 hp, 127 lb-ft

TRANSMISSIONS: 6-speed manual, continuously variable

PASSENGER VOLUME: 97.7 cu ft

CARGO SPACE: (rear seats up/down) 11.4/58.1 cu ft

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