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#18

in 2012 Affordable Small Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $11,376 - $13,237
Original MSRP: $14,980 - $18,680
MPG: 25 City / 30 Hwy
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2012 Nissan Cube Performance

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

The 2012 Nissan Cube isn’t built for speed, but reviewers say it’s a good partner for cruising city streets.

  • "Cube has no sporting intentions. In around-town driving, the comfort-biased suspension nicely absorbs small pavement imperfections, but can't completely smother large bumps." -- Consumer Guide
  • "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

Acceleration and Power

Even though the 2012 Nissan Cube prioritizes style over performance, this car excels in city driving and can handle the highway. All Cubes come with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 122 horsepower. A six-speed manual transmission is standard with the base trim, and a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) is optional. Usually test drivers prefer a manual transmission because they’re more fun to drive, but Cube reviewers suggest the CVT. They say it’s perfect for the city and conserves fuel.

The EPA says the 2012 Nissan Cube yet gets up to 27/31 mpg city/highway with the automatic transmission and 25/30 mpg with the manual transmission. 

  • "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. No chance yet to drive a Cube on the expressway." -- Consumer Guide
  • "But for city stop-and-go driving, the CVT automatic is the best choice. It's quite smooth, with no discernible shift points, and there doesn't seem to be any loss of power compared with the manual version." -- Cars.com

Handling and Braking

Considering the 2012 Nissan Cube is a box on wheels, reviewers are impressed with the way it drives. They report that the Cube is pleasant and even nimble on the road, with good urban and parking-lot maneuverability.

  • "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

Next Steps: 2012 Nissan Cube

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