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#26

in Affordable Small Cars

MSRP: $16,900 - $19,000
Invoice: $16,475 - $18,515
MPG: 25 City / 30 Hwy
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Nissan Cube Performance

Reviewers say the 2014 Nissan Cube has enough power for city driving but that it takes time to get up to speed and pass on the highway. There are several complaints of engine and wind noise at highway speeds, though this is not uncommon for a small car. They say the handling is fairly composed and the Cube has a comfortable ride, crisp steering and strong brakes. However, test drivers point out that it’s not much fun behind the wheel. The Cube is extremely easy to park and maneuver in narrow spaces, test drivers say, thanks to its tight turning radius.

  • "But there are some significant downsides, including unremarkable handling, a noisy cabin at freeway speeds and below-average fuel economy." -- Edmunds (2013)
  • "With its squat and square styling the Cube makes no pretensions of driving exhilaration, so its lack thereof shouldn't come as a surprise. Not that we expect the Cube's buyers to be itching to carve mountain roads." -- Kelley Blue Book (2013)
  • "Cube has a laudably comfortable ride for a subcompact. In around-town driving, the comfort-biased suspension nicely absorbs small pavement imperfections, but can't completely smother large bumps." -- Consumer Guide (2013)
  • "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

The 2014 Nissan Cube has 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 better than the fuel economy of comparably equipped competitors like the Kia Soul, but not quite as good as the Scion xB’s fuel economy.

Reviewers say the Cube has sufficient power to maintain speed in the city and on the highway. However, they note that acceleration is leisurely during passing maneuvers. Reviewers point out that there’s a fair amount of engine and wind noise at higher speeds, which isn’t uncommon for a small car. They say that equipped with the CVT, the Cube is slightly slower off the line than with the manual transmission.

  • "Adequate in both city and highway driving, but not particularly peppy. Highway passing maneuvers usually require a deep stab of the throttle pedal." -- 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 (2013)
  • "On the road, the 2013 Nissan Cube isn't exactly a powerhouse, but ? aided by its CVT ? its 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine is lively enough to satisfy most buyers." -- Edmunds (2013)
  • “The Cube is modestly powered, and our car's continuously variable automatic transmission cost us a little off-the-line acceleration compared with last year's six-speed manual. It also seemed slower than it actually was.” -- Cars.com (2010)

Handling and Braking

Test drivers say that although driving the Cube isn’t much fun, it offers a comfortable ride with responsive steering and strong brakes. Several reviewers mention that the Cube’s tight turning radius is particularly helpful when parking or darting around city streets. Some auto writers note that wind noise is noticeable, though this is a common complaint of cars in this class.

  • "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 (2013)
  • "The suspension is tuned for a comfortable ride, though this results in unexciting handling." -- Edmunds (2013)
  • "Minor quibbles aside, the Nissan Cube excels at providing a pleasant ride, especially within the narrow confines of an urban environment where its tight turning radius, compact dimensions and optional rear parking sensors make the Cube maneuverable and easy to park." -- Kelley Blue Book (2010)
  • "However, they may not love the stiff, Rubik's-Cube-on-wheels drive quality and accompanying obnoxious wind noise; I certainly didn't. So long as they realize they're driving a box on wheels, the drive quality will be consistent with your expectations." – Mother Proof (2010)
Review Last Updated: 5/13/14

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