Nissan Cube

By Mathieu Yuill

There was a time only the Honda Element received jeers for its boxy styling and lack of aerodynamics. But Nissan decided to join the party.
With its stout nose, lunchbox shape and overall petiteness, the Nissan Cube’s styling leans more towards avant garde than a top 40 hit.
As awkward as it may look on the outside, the Cube delivers a very pleasant driving experience. Initial marketing had its sights set squarely on the young 20s crowd just like its main competitor the Scion XB — set to make its debut in Canada this year — did but unlike the XB, the Cube’s suspension is surprisingly light on its feet making it appeal to those north of 60 as well. You don’t have the same firm suspension the XB has and driving down city streets won’t shake you up like a martini.
Ergonomics in the Cube are top notch. Maybe it’s the smaller size of the Cube compared to similar shaped vehicles that are much larger, but reaching for cup holders, the shift leaver or steering wheel stalks are all at your finger tips.
Seating in the front is just as you’d expect from any vehicle; more than comfortable. What’s surprising is how much room there is in the rear. Five adults can sit comfortably across the rear bench even if one or two of those adults have Fat Albert’s hip measurements.
The rear seats fold flat offering up more cargo room if needed and height in the rear between the folded down seats and rear gate is useful for transporting tall items, but forget that armoire you found antiquing, it’s not fitting in your Cube.
Cube designers worked hard to include hidden gems. The bottom of the cup holders mimic the wave patter on the ceiling surrounding the cabin light and the cylinder shape of the HVAC controls is mimicked throughout the front dash making appearances on the centre console and speedometre.
The Cube starts at $17,398 and includes a 122-hp engine. The horsepower rating seems a little low but thanks to the Cube’s weight it still feels peppy.