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#30

in Used Small Cars $14K and up

Avg. Price Paid: $14,019 - $15,472
Original MSRP: $16,760 - $18,860
MPG: 25 City / 30 Hwy
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2013 Nissan Cube Performance

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

The 2013 Nissan Cube isn’t built for speed, but reviewers say it’s a good car for cruising around cities. It navigates tight spaces and parks easily. Reviewers who complain address the Cube’s somewhat bumpy ride, engine noise at freeway speeds and lack of power for highway passing.

  • "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 (2010)

Acceleration and Power

All Cube models have a 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine that makes 122 horsepower. The base model has a standard six-speed manual transmission, and a continuously variable transmission (CVT) is optional. With the CVT, the Cube averages an EPA-estimated 27/31 mpg city/highway, which is low for an affordable small car.

Reviewers are quick to note that the Cube isn’t fast, which isn’t surprising since it only makes 122 horsepower. Although this rating is low for the class, reviewers report that the Cube does fine in the city. One reviewer says that at highway speeds, the engine is loud, and another reviewer says the engine struggles when passing other vehicles on the freeway. Of the two transmissions, test drivers prefer the CVT because it seems to make acceleration better. They also like that the CVT feels smooth. They don’t give positive or negative critiques of the manual transmission.

See the full 2013 Nissan Cube specs »

  • "Adequate in both city and highway driving, but not particularly peppy. Highway passing maneuvers usually require a deep stab of the throttle pedal. Versions with the CVT feel a bit livelier from a stop than those with the 6-speed manual." -- Consumer Guide (2013)
  • "More likely, they'll be using the Cube to scoot around the city. With just 122 horsepower, the Cube requires some patience getting up to speed on freeways. At higher speeds, the engine drones and the cabin is filled with wind noise, the latter issue an aerodynamic compromise inherent in a vehicle shaped like, well, a cube." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "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

Test drivers like the Cube’s steering, saying it’s accurate and tight. Reviewers are impressed with its ability to navigate tight spaces and pull into parking spaces easily, thanks to its small turning radius. Few test drivers comment on the Cube’s brakes, though one says the brakes are adequate. A few reviewers think the Cube’s ride quality is relatively composed, but others say its suspension transmits too many bumps in the road.

  • "For a basic economy car without overt sporting intentions, Cube is fairly nimble and pleasant to drive. The precise steering has a quick, light feel at low speeds. Steering effort builds nicely as the pace quickens to provide good feedback at higher speeds. Because of its small footprint, Cube is especially proficient in tight-quarters maneuvering. Brake-pedal feel is linear and stopping power is fine." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "At much slower speeds, we appreciated the Cube's tight turning radius that made parking a snap." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The Cube generally commands a solid grip of the road, though rain grooves in asphalt can sometimes derail its directional stability. Bumps are absorbed surprisingly well, and though its road manners exhibit a few rough edges, they aren't obtrusive enough to detract from the Cube's endearing personality." -- Popular Mechanics (2009)
  • "Refinement is spoiled by the bouncy ride. …" -- Jalopnik (2009)

Next Steps: 2013 Nissan Cube

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