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3/4 Front Glamour 2012 Nissan Cube

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Expert's Rating

3.7Good

MPG 26 City / 30 Highway
Pros
  • Smooth ride
  • Quiet cabin
  • Many standard safety features
Cons
  • Styling not for everyone
  • Below average handling
  • Limited cargo space
, Automotive Editor -
With its strange styling cues and boxy shape, the Nissan Cube is one of the most distinctive cars available today. But the quirky Nissan also has practicality built into that upright shape. While the Cube doesn't take up much space on the road, it has interior space that bests many compact cars. Its low price also helps it appeal to a wide array of buyers, as does ease of entry. So if you need a versatile small car that is distinctively designed and comfortable inside, the Cube could be worth a look.

Introduction

The base Cube is the 1.8. Like all models, it comes with a 1.8-liter four-cyinder producing 122 horsepower. The standard transmission on the 1.8 is a six-speed manual. Also included on the least expensive Cube are features such as power windows, mirrors and locks with remote keyless entry, air conditioning, 15-inch wheels, privacy glass, stability control, tilt steering wheel and a two-speaker audio system with CD player and AUX input.

The 1.8S comes standard with the manual transmission, but a CVT automatic transmission is optional. It gets upgrades like cruise control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, front seat armrests, Bluetooth and an audio system with six speaker and iPod integratin. The top-trim 1.8SL adds the CVT automatic transmission as standard, along with 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic climate control, keyless entry and start and map lights.

The Kia Soul is similarly shaped and has similar power, but doesn't have as much space inside. The Scion xB is priced about the same and also has a boxy shape, but a cheap feeling interior and complicated audio controls. The Honda Fit is more of a traditional subcompact hatchback and is better to drive and just as flexible inside, but it lacks the Cube's sophisticated optional features. And the Mini Cooper Countryman is also fun to look at, more fun to drive but can be much more expensive.

So the Cube maintains a unique role in the automotive landscape for people who want to drive around in a boxy car that also benefits from a spacious interior and impressive people-hauling capability for something that doesn't take up much space on the road. Base cars are rather well-equipped and the top-of-the-line SL is available with decidedly advanced features. If you're into the looks, give the Cube a test drive.

Which Style To Buy?

2012 Nissan Cube
Starting price
$9,999

2012 Nissan Cube 1.8

Recommended for: Buyers looking for a small car that's distinctive

The base model Cube comes well equipped for a small car in this price range. Standard on all Cubes is the 1.8-liter four-cylinder with 122 horsepower. The base model gets a six-speed manual transmission as standard. Also included are 15-inch wheels with wheel covers, privacy glass, power windows, mirrors and locks with remote keyless entry, air conditioning, trip computer, tilt steering wheel, height-adjustable driver's seat and a rear center armrest. There's also a two-speaker audio system with CD player and AUX input and alarm system with engine immobilizer. The base model has no factory options.

2012 Nissan Cube
Starting price
$9,999

2012 Nissan Cube 1.8 S

Recommended for: Buyers looking for a better-equipped Cube

The 1.8S builds on the base model's generous equipment roster and also opens up buyers to more option packages. The S gets as standard body-colored exterior mirrors, Bluetooth, cruise control, dual overhead map lights, premium cloth upholstery, chrome interior door handles and an upgraded six-speaker audio system with an iPod interface and steering wheel-mounted controls. A CVT automatic transmission is optional. The Indigo Edition Package adds alloy wheels, keyless entry and start, a navigation system with a five-inch touchscreen monitor and backup camera, SiriusXM satellite radio with traffic and weather, USB input, Rockford Fosgate speakers with a subwoofer and the automatic transmission.The 1.8S builds on the base model's generous equipment roster and also opens up buyers to more option packages. The S gets as standard body-colored exterior mirrors, Bluetooth, cruise control, dual overhead map lights, premium cloth upholstery, chrome interior door handles and an upgraded six-speaker audio system with an iPod interface and steering wheel-mounted controls. A CVT automatic transmission is optional. The Indigo Edition Package adds alloy wheels, keyless entry and start, a navigation system with a five-inch touchscreen monitor and backup camera, SiriusXM satellite radio with traffic and weather, USB input, Rockford Fosgate speakers with a subwoofer and the automatic transmission.

2012 Nissan Cube
Starting price
$9,999

2012 Nissan Cube 1.8 SL

Recommended for: Shoppers who want a unique-looking small car that's loaded with features

The SL loads the Cube up with even more features, some of which are impressive for a car of this price. Standard equipment on the 1.8SL includes the automatic transmission, 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, automatic climate control and rear heating ducts. The Preferred Package adds fog lights, the navigation system with SiriusXM traffic and weather and Rockford Fosgate audio with a subwoofer and USB input.

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