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2010 Nissan Cube 1.8 S Review

Geometric Go-Getter

A three-quarter front view of a green 2010 Nissan Cube 1.8 S

In short: A reliable, economical and new age hatchback for hipsters.

issan’s Cube may be old news in Japan, but 2009 marked the first time that the boxy hatchback was available in the United States. Now in its third-generation incarnation, this utilitarian five-door compact stands out among the run-of-the-mill lineup of economy cars with its distinctive exterior, which is characterized by a wide bearing, rounded angles, large windows and a refrigerator-style rear door—in fact, we think that if you crossed an aquarium with a toaster, you'd get a Cube. Coming complete with odd details like water-mimicking ripples on the ceiling, the car is so ugly that it becomes cute. Young, active and style-conscious buyers (who are already eyeballing rides like the Kia Soul and Scion xB) will find the Cube appealing, as did we. Nissan offers the hatchback in four trims, ranging from the entry-level Cube 1.8 to the decked-out Cube 1.8 Krom.

Our top-end S trim came with halogen lights, rear privacy glass and illuminated kick plates. Best of all, we loved its go-getter attitude and zippiness. We'd buy one and we seriously recommend test driving one. With its creative, compact design, this cool and quick hatch would make an excellent city car.

The Cube is intended to be a social setting, ideally for younger adults who are stuck sharing an apartment or still living with their parents. Inside is a roomy interior designed to evoke a lounge with comfortable front seats and a theater-style sofa bench in the back. More than 40 accessories are available to customize the hatchback to its owner’s taste, including a choice of eight exterior colors, a 20-color interior accent lighting kit, and a whimsical shag carpeting dash topper. True to its functional form, the competitively priced automobile comes with plenty of storage spaces and standard safety features. On the road, it is nimble-driving, showing off good visibility and a decent fuel economy.

Warranty/Service: 3-year/36,000-mile new vehicle warranty; 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Base Price: $16,030 / As tested: $17,650

Technical Specifications

Vehicle type: front engine, front-wheel drive, 5-passenger, 5-door hatchback

Engine: 1.8-liter DOHC inline 4-cylinder
Horsepower: 122 hp
Torque: 127 lb-ft
Transmission: 6-speed manual

Curb weight:
Wheelbase: 99.6 in
Length/Width/Height: 156.7/66.7/65 in
Turning circle: 33.4 ft

power-assisted disc in front; drum in rear; ABS, electronic brakeforce distribution and brake assist
Suspension: independent MacPherson strut with stabilizer bar in front; torsion beam with integrated stabilizer bar in rear
Traction: vehicle dynamic control with traction control system

0-60 mph: 9.7 seconds
Top Speed: 105 mph

EPA City: 27 mpg
EPA Highway: 31 mpg

Nissan advanced airbag system; seat-mounted driver and front-passenger side-impact supplemental airbags; roof-mounted curtain side-impact supplemental air bags for front and rear-seat outboard occupant head protection

Likes: style; zippiness; spaec and utility

Dislikes: style; wind noise; distracting light reflection from side windows


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Photography: AlphaMedia

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