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#14

in 2010 Affordable Small Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $8,810 - $11,660
Original MSRP: $13,990 - $20,440
MPG: 24 City / 29 Hwy
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2010 Nissan Cube Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

The 2010 Nissan Cube is not known for its performance capabilities. It has a somewhat noisy engine and poor acceleration. Still, its nimble handling makes it worth a look.

  • "Cube's engine is vocal during rapid acceleration, but quiets down at cruise. Coarse-surface tire thrum is very noticeable, even at low speeds." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Driving the Cube is an adventure in calm restraint, especially with the CVT automatic transmission. Its 1.8-liter engine is the smallest in the class, so if you load up your box, give yourself plenty of merging room and don't think about challenging other boxes to a drag race. On the other hand, the Nissan has the best turning radius and fuel economy of the group." -- Minneapolis Star Tribune
  • "Nissan marketers admit the success of the Cube will not be achieved through performance. Zipping around streets? Yes. Racing down them? No. The handling isn't as responsive as that of other Nissan vehicles, but it's not designed for that. And with a 1.8L 4-cylinder, 122-horsepower engine, neither is the Cube designed for speed. But it's enough power for tooling around the city." -- CNET
  • "The downside of this design is that wind noise on the rather vertical piece of glass is higher than it should be." -- AutoGuide.com

Acceleration and Power

If you’re buying a Cube, it’s most likely for the design rather than for performance. As a result, the Cube’s poor acceleration probably won’t be a deterrent to most buyers. However, those looking for something a bit zippier should consider the Honda Fit. It’s considered a lot more fun to drive. Combine that with its excellent 28/35 mpg fuel economy and its versatile cargo options, and the Fit is arguably worth the extra money.  

The Cube only offers one engine choice: a 1.8-liter four-cylinder that makes 122 horsepower. A six-speed manual transmission is standard on the 1.8 and 1.8 S models, while a continuously variable transmission (CVT) is standard on the more upscale 1.8 SL and Krom models. The CVT is also available as an option on the 1.8 S model.

The EPA says the Cube can get up to 27/31 mpg city/highway.

  • "No ball of fire, but with either transmission, Cube has little trouble keeping up with urban traffic. Versions with the CVT feel a bit livelier from a stop than those with the 6-speed manual transmission." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Under the tiny hood of the Cube there's a familiar Nissan powerplant, which also makes this funky urban vehicle great to use on a daily basis. The 1.8-liter four-cylinder, donated from the Nissan Versa and Sentra might seem a little underpowered at 122hp and 127 ft-lbs of torque, but it does the job." -- AutoGuide.com
  • "This one's a 1.8-liter borrowed from Nissan's Versa subcompact car. It has a more-than-adequate 122 horsepower." -- Iguida

Handling and Braking

Reviewers appreciate the Cube’s tight turning radius and nimble handling dynamics. Others, however, warn that the Cube’s ride isn’t particularly smooth on anything other than recently paved roads. 

  • "For a basic economy car, Cube is fairly nimble and pleasant to drive. The precise steering has light effort at low speeds, but it builds nicely as the pace quickens. Close-quarters maneuverability is good thanks to Cube's small footprint. Braking control is good." -- Consumer Guide
  • "On the upside, the short wheelbase and tight turning radius makes it easy to turn around midstreet (not typically legal) to snag an open parking spot." -- CNET
  • "For starters, there are the four wheels, which have been pushed all the way to the corners. Sure that gives the car a great look, but it also gives the vehicle an excellent wheelbase for a better-handling drive." -- AutoGuide.com
  • "Driving the 2010 Nissan Cube 1.8 Krom will be easy, however, but it won't be fun, at least not sports car fun. The suspension is soft and calibrated for boulevard use, except that the boulevard should be recently paved because the ride isn't particularly smooth. Nor is steering particularly precise. It's classic econocar fare, except that the Nissan Cube, taller than the average econocar, doesn't suffer vagueness well." -- Examiner.com

Next Steps: 2010 Nissan Cube

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