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2013 Nissan cube

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2013 Nissan cube Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.2

What exactly is the Nissan Cube? Part mini- wagon but with a taller profile like a crossover SUV, you'd also be correct if you just called this category-defying compact vehicle exactly what its nomenclature suggests: a box on wheels. And it's a relatively inexpensive one at that, good news for the younger drivers whom this car attracts. With a starting price around $17,500, the 2013 Nissan Cube boasts big style for the money. Because of its shape, the Cube offers lots of versatility, too. Beneath that funky sheet metal is a flexible 5-passenger interior with a surprising amount of space. The Cube isn't as sprightly as the Kia Soul or as fuel efficient as the Mini Cooper Hardtop, but offers its own sense of style at a budget-friendly price.

You'll Like This Car If...

If your eyes are among those that dig this car's looks, you may not even need another excuse to head to the Nissan dealership. Should further incentive be required, your peepers – and bank account – will appreciate the Cube's low price and easy driving manners.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Visual appeal (or lack thereof) aside, the Nissan Cube is not a highway warrior or a road carver. If you endure a long commute or crave a speedy vehicle that's good at cornering, consider stepping up to the Hyundai Elantra GT, Nissan Juke, Ford Fiesta, or Mini Cooper Clubman.

What's New for 2013

Only minor changes are in store for the 2013 Nissan Cube, including Sapphire Slate exterior color replacing Golden Ginger and the addition of "PUREDRIVE" badging on all models that signifies Nissan's wider efforts to improve fuel efficiency. The 1.8 base grade is no longer available, and neither is the Cargo Version Package. Also waving goodbye is the Indigo Limited Edition model.

Driving the cube
Driving Impressions

With its squat and square styling the Cube makes no pretensions of driving exhilaration, so its lack thereof shouldn't come as a surprise. Not that we expect the Cube's buyers...

... to be itching to carve mountain roads. More likely, they'll be using the Cube to scoot around the city. With just 122 horsepower, the Cube requires some patience getting up to speed on freeways. At higher speeds, the engine drones and the cabin is filled with wind noise, the latter issue an aerodynamic compromise inherent in a vehicle shaped like, well, a cube. At much slower speeds, we appreciated the Cube's tight turning radius that made parking a snap. Cube models with an automatic transmission use a continuously variable version (CVT). CVTs take some getting used to because they feel like you have just one gear instead of several.

INTERIOR DESIGN FEATURES
Is a big tuft of shag carpet in the middle of the dash a bit kitschy? Well yes, but it's a conversation starter and can even be useful. We found that big soft spot a good one to set sunglasses and other items that all too easily scamper about in cars.

SLIDING/RECLINING REAR SEAT
Nissan dubs the inside of its Cube a "lounge," and helps bolster that proposition with the inclusion of rear seats that slide and recline. This allows greater passenger comfort, not to mention flexible cargo room when it's time to haul the dorm-room furnishings.

2013 Nissan cube Details
Interior

Rather than mimicking its boxy exterior, the 2013 Cube's cabin is ripe with waves, circles and undulations. The entire dash slinks to and fro, and the air vents are elongated orbs. Take a gander above at the high ceiling, and you'll notice a headliner with a rippling pattern emanating outward from the center dome light, akin to ripples created after a stone plunges into a lake. The seats are spacious, though not exactly supple. The steering wheel tilts but does not telescope. Rear cargo room is limited but can be expanded to over 58 cubic feet with the 60/40-split rear seats folded. Nooks and crannies abound to hold drinks and devices.

Exterior

The Cube joins the small cast of other boxy compact vehicles such as Scion xB and Kia Soul, but still manages to stand out from them. Whereas those rivals have taut, angular lines, the Cube's symmetry is softened with rounded edges. And then there are the windows, big orbs of glass that make the Cube look like it jumped to life from a cartoon. The rear-left window especially stands out, as it gives the appearance of wrapping around the corner of the car. Rounded lights front and back complete the square-meets-circle motif. The Cube's rear door swings out toward the left instead of raising vertically like a hatchback.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

A base 2013 Nissan Cube S model includes power door locks, windows and mirrors, cruise control, Bluetooth wireless connectivity, a 6-speaker AM/FM/CD player with an auxiliary input, folding rear seats, and a security system. In addition to six airbags, safety features include anti-lock brakes, brake-assist technology and traction-control systems.

Optional Equipment

Extras available on the 2013 Cube include a Preferred Package that bundles a navigation system with 5-inch touch screen, rearview monitor, and premium Rockford Fosgate speaker system with subwoofer. Individual options include an ambient lighting kit for the interior and aerodynamic enhancements for the exterior. And of course, we can't leave out the interior design kit that includes that dash-mounted tuft of shag carpet. On base S models, a CVT automatic transmission can be had in place of the 6-speed manual.

Under the Hood

The 2013 Nissan Cube is powered by a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine that makes a just-adequate 122 horsepower. Transmission choices include a 6-speed manual in base models or a CVT automatic that's standard in SL trim and optional for the S. All Cubes are front-wheel drive. The Cube's highway ratings of 31 mpg with a manual transmission and 30 with the CVT are good but not jaw-dropping. By comparison, a Subaru Impreza reaches up to 36 mpg, a Mini Cooper rates 37 mpg, and a Ford Fiesta can garner the magical 40 mpg.

1.8-liter inline-4
122 horsepower @ 5,200 rpm
127 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 27/31 mpg (automatic), 25/30 mpg (manual)

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