Squaring Up With The New Nissan Cube

Gear Patrol’s Bradley Hasemeyer takes the new (to the U.S.) Nissan Cube out for a test drive and gives his review on the seemingly square (yet not so square) ride.

After being born more than a decade ago in Tokyo and having been showered with enough love to put all Japanese therapists out of a job, the third generation Nissan Cube hit the States hard on March 5th.

I know what you’re thinking: yeah Bradley, but the Japanese also love Buicks. Yes, there is some truth to that, but I’m choosing to believe those who love the Cube fall more into the category of Nissan Skyline fanatics than Park Avenue stalwarts. Read on…

First and foremost, the Cube’s style is polarizing. After all, it’s inspired by a “bulldog in sunglasses,” likely not the most common point of inspiration when it comes to vehicles. The Nissan Cube may appear to be small from the outside, but let me tell you, as a guy who stands 6’1″, the inside is vast. Not large… vast. Yes, the pickup (we’ll just leave 0-60 figures out of the equation here) is best describe as slowwwww, but once you’re moving the Cube is cake. It handles like a go-cart (a good thing) and it’s tuned with urban living in mind so the wheels are pushed out about as far as they can possibly go. You’ll have nothing but smiles when you try to parallel park or make a u-turn.

A brick on wheels will inevitably give you strange perspectives, and that applies here with the Nissan Cube. The sight lines are a bit strange and the perspective through the side mirrors is a bit obscured due to the outside bubbling on the door. Luckly, these are small quirks that you’ll become easily accustomed to after a few hours behind the wheel.

The keystone in the Nissan Cube’s design is its asymmetrical rear window. It visually sets the Cube apart from the Scion xB (obvious comparison) and others in the sub-compact SUV/crossover market. This design is both functional (smaller blind spot on the passenger side) and fashionable (looks like a single-shoulder cocktail party dress). Best of all, there’s no doubt why heads turned and people stopped to ask about the car as I cruised Miami. Yes, Miami.

The Cube comes in three basic trim lines familiar to those of you who know Nissans (S, SE, SEL). Your choice of an automatic or manual (my recommendation) transmission is paired to a 1.8L 122 hp engine producing 127 ft-lb torque.

The base model starts at one dollar under $14k. An outstanding price if want a vehicle that’s affordable, uniquely stylish, and offers utility in spades. Enough talking though, lets watch some video. I’ll leave you here in the capable hands of, um… myself in a short video featuring the Nissan Cube – thrown together just the Gear Patrol faithful.

Insider Note: In case you’re wondering, my fellow passenger is the editor of the University of Alabama newspaper who joined me on the Press Day ride.


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