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2012 Nissan cube

Overview
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2012 Nissan cube Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.3

One of the Big Three CEOs once said that his company didn't build small cars because it was impossible to design a good-looking small car. Well, that theory has certainly been put to the test, and cars like the 2012 Nissan Cube prove not only can a small car be frugal and inexpensive, it can be funky and unique and cool, too. The 2012 Nissan Cube cleverly disguises a roomy and versatile people-hauler as a 20-something chic urban commuter. Best of all, you can slide into a Cube for just a shade over $15,000. Cough up a few more bucks and you can have yourself a really well-equipped model complete with options you won't find on any other car (like the circular shag carpet dash pad). And, lest you think the Cube is too small to safeguard you against a world filled with SUVs and pickup trucks, the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) has handed the Nissan Cube its Top Safety Pick award. The Cube may not be alone in the boxy-compact-wagon-thingy category, not with the boxier Scion xB still in the running (the Honda Element is no more), but its rounded edges and asymmetrical rear pillars make it far more interesting to look at, and it certainly is a conversation starter.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you're looking for something small, fun and inexpensive that expresses your desire to not blend in with the crowd, the 2012 Nissan Cube 5-door wagon is a great start. The great gas mileage, roomy and versatile cargo area, and fun option choices simply sweeten the deal.

You May Not Like This Car If...

The Cube is a great urban commuter, but if you plan on doing some light off-road trips or weekend ski trips, you'd be much better off in something like the 2012 Suzuki SX4. Those seeking more power and bit more polish might want to look at the more expensive Mini Cooper Clubman or Countryman, or even the Nissan Juke.

What's New for 2012

Changes to the 2012 Nissan Cube wagon are limited to some option shuffling. There is a new package for the 1.8 CVT that adds unique seat color fabric, navigation, a rearview monitor, and the Rockford Fosgate audio system. Nissan's Intelligent Key is made standard on the SL trim, while both the S and SL gain a passenger-seat armrest.

Driving the cube

Driving Impressions Although it's doubtful many driving enthusiasts will be falling over themselves to drive a 2012 Nissan Cube, most everyone else will probably find something to like. Acceleration is passable given...

the 1.8-liter engine's mere 122 horsepower. We highly recommend going with the manual transmission if you can. It helps squeeze the most out of the Cube's engine and makes the drive a bit more entertaining. Exhibiting noticeable decibels of wind and road noise at highway speed, the Cube is not the quietest vehicle on the road, but, it's no worse than other small cars such as the Kia Soul or Scion xB. Like most Nissan compacts, the 2012 Cube is blessed with a firm suspension that delivers a smooth ride even when encountering uneven or choppy pavement. Thanks to its small turning radius, the 2012 Nissan Cube is a breeze to move around in tight confines, while its available rear parking sensor ensures you'll never damage its pretty rear end (or anyone else's for that matter).

Navigation
Part of the Preferred Package, Nissan's small and inexpensive navigation radio is as good, or better, than units costing four times as much. The Cube's navigation unit is one of the most intuitive and easy-to-use systems we've encountered, and that includes aftermarket units. With maps and data stored on an SD card, updating the map data is as easy as accessing your home computer.


Rippling Headliner
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.

2012 Nissan cube Details
Interior

An expressive exterior deserves an equally expressive interior and the 2012 Nissan Cube wagon doesn't fail to deliver. Round shapes populate the dash and door panels, while unusual textures are sprinkled throughout the Cube's spacious cabin. Look up, and you'll see a large dome light attached to a foam headliner with a rippling pattern emanating from the center out. The design mimics the ripples made on a lake after a stone is tossed in. The same effect is repeated on the Cube's door-mounted speaker grilles. The 2012 Nissan Cube's boxy wagon shape makes for a roomy interior that can easily carry five adults. A sliding rear seat allows for a choice between maximum legroom for passengers or cargo space for their luggage. Headroom is beyond reasonable, and the Cube's long list of cool options includes a user-friendly navigation radio, ear-drum-busting Rockford Fosgate stereo and Interior Illumination Kit.

Exterior

Looking more like a die (the singular of dice) than a cube, the 2012 Nissan Cube nevertheless fits the 4-corner definition of a box on wheels. Its soft, rounded edges give it a friendlier feel than the Scion xB, and its rounded headlights, taillights and side glass juxtapose nicely with the Cube's squared-off silhouette. The wheels appear a bit small, as do the wheel-well openings, imparting the look of a rolling top hat. Without question the most intriguing element of the Cube's design is the asymmetrical rear section that features wraparound 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 that allow you to create one super-stylish mode of transport. We do worry a bit about the taillights being so low and close to the rear bumper, a position that might expose them to damage even in a low-speed bumper kiss.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Standard features found on the base 2012 Nissan Cube include a 2-speaker audio system with auxiliary input, air conditioning, power locks with remote entry, a 6-speed manual transmission and 15-inch steel wheels. The S trim adds a 6-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, an iPod interface, steering-wheel audio controls, body-color mirrors and cruise control. SL models get automatic climate control, Intelligent Key entry and start, automatic headlights and 16-inch alloy wheels. Standard safety features include stability and traction controls, anti-lock brakes with brake assist and six airbags.

Optional Equipment

There are a few stand-alone options offered for the 2012 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 1.8S Preferred Package adds unique seat color, Nissan Navigation System, RearView Monitor, Rockford Fosgate audio, Nissan Intelligent Key, and 15-inch alloy wheels. 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.

Under the Hood

There is one engine offered for the 2012 Nissan Cube, a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder unit 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 6-speed manual transmission is standard, while a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) is optional on the S Trim and standard on SL. 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 @ 5,200 rpm
127 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 27/31 (CVT), 25/30 (manual)

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2012 Nissan cube Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.3
Out of 10

Based on 102 Ratings for the 2009 - 2014 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.4/10
    Quality
    9.3/10
  • Reliability
    9.5/10
    Performance
    9.0/10
  • Comfort
    9.5/10
    Styling
    9.6/10

Comfy and Reliable

By on Friday, December 26, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 112,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Roomy, storage space, fun "disco" colors, &parking"

Cons: "Bad gas mileage-no passenger armrest,a bit "flimsy"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

"This vehicle is very roomy and can haul a lot (the main reasons I purchased.) However, not good on gas mileage if you have to drive a lot. Also the overall quality is just OK. It can park almost anywhere -- best feature! However, it can blow around in the wind a bit. Overall fun little car, but I'm ready for something a bit more sophisticated."

Love this car!

By on Thursday, December 11, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 63,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Lots of interior space and legroom in the back"

Cons: "Horrible handling in the snow"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

"Overall I am very pleased with my cube. I have been driving it for 4 years now and am still in love with it. The interior is more spacious than most of the cars/SUV's I have been in. I consistantly get about 31mpg combined city/hwy. The backseat is moveable so the tiny trunk can be expanded when needed. The backseat can comfortably fit a 6'5" man. If i lived in a place with better weather it would be the best car I have ever driven. The ONLY issue I have is the way it handles in inclement weather, if it is windy it is almost dangerous to go faster than 65mph. If you live in an area that gets snow on a regular basis. I would not recommend this car. It is too light to do well in the snow. If you live in a warm area that is not prone to windstorms, this is the perfect vehicle!"

5 people out of 10 found this review helpful

The quality difference is unreal.

By on Thursday, December 04, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 48,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "All positives other than its boxy design."

Cons: "There are no negatives."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This is the first 100% made in Japan vehicle that we have owned. The difference is noticable. It makes you wonder why we can't make them like this here in the USA. It also is puzzling as to why Nissan did not promote this vehicle more, offer it in more brighter colors, and 2014 is the last year for this model as it is being discontinued."

1 person out of 4 found this review helpful

Good car

By on Thursday, December 04, 2014

I owned and sold this car
Reason: Wife needed new car

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "roomy, great mpg,always could find a place to park"

Cons: "O"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Just traded wifes 2009 cube, kids moved to ohio longer trip lots of hills . Needed awd so traded cube in for 2015 rogue sv, we like the rogue but sure miss the cube !"

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

great car for the price

By on Monday, November 24, 2014

I owned and sold this car
Reason: family member needed a car

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I was looking in August 2010 for a new car, I had driven Chevy Astros for years. I tried many different auto & being handicap I needed a car that I could get in with out any help. The Nissan Cube was the only one. I'm able to get a lot of things into the car, great leg & body room, you don't feel like your squished into a small car. Great large windows all around. A family member needed a car so I gave her mine & got myself the next model style up at purchase & found out they are no longer going to sell the Cube in the USA."

4 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Fantastic ride to Own

By on Thursday, October 30, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 54,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Perfect reliabilty, suggest upgrading suspension"

Cons: "Careful in wind. a Little light. Get snow tires."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I bought my 2009 Nissan cube for a all season and then now, a summer only ride. i never thought I'd own one seeing that they were only in Japan for decades. Once I found out they were coming here for a bit, I rushed out to get one. It comes with power everything. Mine is a 6 speed. wonderful transmission. Clutch is long, but you only need like 2 " of it. Tons of room for what seems to be a tiny machine. Great in the rain because water doesnt get in the car due to the flat side. People in the back seat will love the STADIUM SEATING!!! Love the waving from other cube owners. It is definitely the "I want a unique car person" car. Its a little tricky in the wind just like any mini van, truck or other tall vehicle. This is why I had it lowered to reduce the wheel gap and hieght. Handles AWESOME now. I push 30 MPG out of it with the nicely synchromesh 6 speed. I don't need the clucth after 1st gear just like the old Datsun 280ZX. The only changes to the car are: -Side window visors (for rainy hot days-keep the AC off) -Rear roof spoiler -Front air dam -Sub woofer -cold air intake -Upgraded springs Its a blast to drive. Not powerful, but responsive. I would never recommend the CVT for anyone that loves a manual shift car. No issues at all. Still has the original brakes at 54,000 miles. Perfect car so far. Next we'll add a Nissan Juke! :-)"

5 people out of 9 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?