By KBB.com Editors
If the high cost of gas has one silver lining, it's the proliferation of fun, cool and feature-rich small cars. No longer do frugal-minded drivers have to settle for a bare-bones subcompact - not when there are radically shaped five-passenger vehicles like the 2011 Nissan Cube from which to choose. With a price starting around $15,000, the Cube doesn't ask owners to settle for less, offering a long list of standard safety features that have helped earn it an IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) Top Safety Pick award. Its unique exterior design, highlighted by the asymmetrical rear end and iPod-like lines, help the 2011 Nissan Cube stand apart from other box-type compacts (think Scion xB), as does its long list of unusual options and accessories.
If you need the practicality of a roomy small car that gets good gas mileage, but your creative side strives to own something you don't see in every driveway, the 2011 Nissan Cube is just the ticket. Unique accessories, like the shag dash pad, are both fun and functional.
For 2011, the Cube SL Preferred Package and Krom Edition gain an SD card-based navigation unit with five-inch color touchscreen, XM NavTraffic capability and USB connectivity.
Driving Impressions While we doubt many driving enthusiasts will find the 2011 Nissan Cube much to write home about, as daily transportation it works just fine. On the highway, the Cube exhibits...noticeable wind and road noise, but no worse than in most cars for this price range. The Cube's inoffensive road manners include acceptable acceleration, reasonably tight steering and a suspension that delivers a smooth ride even when encountering uneven or choppy pavement. The Cube excels in the tight and narrow confines that are the urban jungle. With its small turning radius, compact dimensions and available rear parking sensors, the Cube is one of the easiest small cars to park and maneuver.
Making a strong impression with your looks is good, but doing so without spending a fortune is great. Love it or hate it, the Nissan Cube provides an undoubtedly eye-catching design at a price almost any car buyer can afford.
With only a cursory glance, one might overlook the unique form of the Cube's headliner. Even though a flat headliner would have been perfectly acceptable, Nissan's designers decided to simulate the ripples created by dropping a pebble in water. The result is an interesting conversation piece and an indicator of Nissan's commendable attention to detail.
The 2011 Nissan Cube has an interior unlike any we've seen. The dash and door panels are peppered with rounded shapes, and interesting textures can be found throughout the cabin. Above the passenger's heads is a large dome light surrounded by grooved ripples radiating out across the headliner; the same effect, which mimics a pebble dropped in water, is repeated on the speaker covers. The Cube's upright sides make for a spacious interior capable of accommodating up to five people. Helping to balance the space requirements of both passengers and cargo is a sliding rear seat, which can be moved several inches fore or aft. Head and shoulder room is ample in all seating positions; the same can be said for legroom, especially in the rear seats.
Due to the angles of its body and the softened curved corners, the 2011 Nissan Cube might have more aptly been named the Nissan Die. Not quite cube-like, the Cube's rounded fenders, headlamps and taillights are more oval in design, while its door and window cut outs feature similar contoured corners.
Without question the most interesting aspect of the Cube is its asymmetrical rear section that features wrap-around glass on one side and a body-color pillar on the other. Adding to the Cube's distinctiveness is a wide variety of exterior accessories, not to mention the super-stylish factory-modified Krom edition.
Standard features found on the base 2011 Nissan Cube include a two-speaker audio system with auxiliary input, air conditioning, power locks with remote entry, a six-speed manual transmission and 15-inch steel wheels. The S trim adds a six-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, an iPod interface, steering-wheel audio controls, body color mirrors and cruise control. SL models get automatic climate control, automatic headlights and 16-inch alloy wheels. The Krom Edition offers a Rockford Fosgate audio system with subwoofer, XM Satellite Radio, SD navigation with NavTraffic, 20-color interior lighting package, Intelligent Key keyless entry and start, five-inch color monitor with RearView Monitor and a body kit with rear spoiler. Standard safety features include stability and traction controls, anti-lock brakes with brake assist and six airbags.
There are a few standalone options offered for the 2011 Nissan Cube, such as the 20-color interior accent lighting and the Interior Designer Package. Most other options require buyers to move up to the next-higher trim level to add equipment. The exception is the Preferred Package, offered for the SL trim, that adds a six-speaker Rockford Fosgate audio system, RearView monitor, SD navigation with NavTraffic, XM Satellite Radio, keyless entry and engine start and fog lights. Small businesses might appreciate the special-order Cargo option, offered for the base Cube, which deletes the rear seats, armrests, cup holders and seatbelts, transforming the Cube into an efficient delivery vehicle.
There is one engine offered for the 2011 Nissan Cube, a 1.8-liter four cylinder rated at 122 horsepower. Power is acceptable for a small, inexpensive and fuel-efficient car, but those who value rapid acceleration may be disappointed by the Cube's performance. On base and S trims, a six-speed manual transmission is standard, while a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) is optional on the S Trim and standard on SL and Krom trims. The CVT does a good job in maximizing the engine's output and actually offers better fuel economy than the manual transmission, but some buyers may be put off by the way the engine seems to race under hard acceleration.
1.8-liter in-line 4
122 horsepower @ 5200 rpm
127 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 27/31 (CVT), 25/30 (manual)
By Lisa on Tuesday, September 09, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 32,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "roomy interior, good gas mileage, easy handling"
Cons: "could have a little more get up and go power"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I love my Cube! I think I will get a newer one too when I am ready to get a new car. It handles great, gas is great, interior is bigger than it looks on the outside...really I have no complaints at all. I get looks everywhere I go cus it is so funky. Love it!"
8 people out of 11 found this review helpful
By kj002 on Tuesday, June 03, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "fun to drive, cute inside, cup holders, comfy seat"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"I actually really love this vehicle. I purchased it after I totaled by Kia Soul 2011. My favorite feature of the entire car is the extra cup holder that is on the left side of the steering wheel. I know that sounds ridiculous, to have that feature be my favorite, but really it is great! Its such a nice option as well as many of the cup holders in the car. I love the futuristic look inside the car. I have an automatic and its not exactly a powerful car but I get actually great milage. I live in Seattle, so it is perfect for hills and stop and go traffic. The seats are great and feel like sofa cushion. I also love that the back seat can tilt back if you need! I have fit so much in my Cube! If you think this car looks small from the outside just wait and see how big it is inside. I've stuffed my car full of fencing materials from Home Depot, large boxes, a mattress, dog crates, everything-you name it! Personally, I think this car is almost as ugly as a PT Crusier, but its so ugly its cute! I get stopped by people all the time, wanting to know what it looks like inside and etc. A lot of the things I like about it are the asthetics, but I think that is because the car fits my mileage and driving needs! I would def tell people to take a second look at the car!"
27 people out of 37 found this review helpful
By B on Friday, March 07, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 43,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Cons: "I do miss the sunglass holder.."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I love my cube. I am not in the 'profile' that this car was aimed at. I would actually have preferred a small wagon- a Sentra sized wagon would have been perfect for me. The size will fool you- you cant believe what fits in it. I have 3 big dogs who fit w/ crates. I travel 4 times a year, 2 hours away, to purchase the dogs raw food. It all fits with room to spare in the cube, at 30+ mpg..I used to take a pickup because I couldn't fit it all in my Sentra, and used twice the gas"
13 people out of 19 found this review helpful
By livingbrown on Monday, December 02, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 44,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun car, Head turner, reliable, great sound system"
Cons: "strange air pressure when rear windows are down"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I bought my Cube brand new and paid way less then I would have for another vehicle with the same options. The car has headroom to spare! Lots of get up and go for such a fuel efficient engine. Seats are large in the front captains chairs and I easily fit 3 across the back seat! Love the back up camera and bluetooth hands-free phone feature, as well as the great Rockford Fosgate sound system that came installed when I bought it. Lets me plug in my iphone or ipad straight into the dash and pulls my playlist into the stereo so I can use controls on my steering wheel to change songs, as well as having a aux jack for any other device! Have had the vehicle over 2 1/2 years and have never had to do anything except the standard maintenance. Great in snow, never gotten stuck! Huge wrap around windows make for next to no blind spots and just look cool! Love the accents on the interior roof and in all the cup holders as well as the speaker covers! Only beef is that when the rear windows are open at speeds above 30mph, the car makes a noise, which I think is caused by the ripple effect on the ceiling, that hurts the drivers ears...but no other passengers are effected by it...weird. Otherwise great car for a great price!!"
5 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By Nick on Monday, October 21, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 25,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This thing is awesome! It's the roomiest compact out there. Among it's closest related cars, the Kia and the Scion, it is the slowest and most fuel efficient. I was concerned whether it could travel at high speeds but I've had it over 90 without a problem. I get about 30mpg all the time whether I'm on the highway or in the city (it's not exactly aero-dynamic). It's loaded with options and very easy to drive. My kids can stand up in the back seat while they get in but if I want more trunk space I can slide the rear seat forward an entire foot leaving them legroom like any compact but a huge cargo area. It did very well on ice when I traveled. The seat jacks way up giving very good visibility. I drove it 25 miles on a pretty rough dirt road through the mountains and it performed well. I can fit a bicycle inside it with the seats laid down."
18 people out of 19 found this review helpful
By cube lover on Sunday, October 20, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 19,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"first it is so comfortable to drive, because of the styling visibility is fantastic, very roomy I am claustrophobic and do no feel closed in at all . gas mileage is wonderful , color is beautiful wish they had continued the caribbean blue in their newer models just love this car! you can carry almost anything because of the fold down seats and cargo space air conditioned works great and the service Nissan gives you is wonderful ."
7 people out of 8 found this review helpful