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In 2009, Nissan introduced America to its quirky side with the Cube, an asymmetrical box-on-wheels. Its main purpose is giving owners a chance to express themselves through automotive design. But it's not just style -- the Cube has a roomy cabin with lots of usable space.
A reshuffling of the lineup left only two trim levels for 2013: 1.8 S and 1.8 SL. Both come with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that pushes out 122 horsepower and 127 foot-pounds of torque. In 1.8 S trim, the engine connects to a standard six-speed transmission, and there's the option of a continuously variable transmission. In 1.8 SL trim, the CVT transmission is standard. A Cube with a manual transmission gets 25 mpg city and 30 mpg highway, while the CVT-equipped model delivers 27 mpg city and 31 mpg highway.
A single option group is known as the SL Preferred Package. It includes fog lights, navigation, a rearview camera, a SiriusXM radio, USB connection, and an upgraded audio system.
The Nissan Cube’s 1.8 S trim level is the entry-level trim option, so it carries with it only the most basic of features. On the outside, this model kicks things off with a six-speed manual transmission, so you can row your own gears, 11.02-inch ventilated rotors on all four wheels for quicker stopping and less brake fade, 15-by-6-inch steel wheels with covers to keep the cost down, and body-color power mirrors for easier adjustment. Inside the Cube 1.8 S’s cabin, you get a six-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system with aux-in and iPod interface, Bluetooth connectivity for safe phone operation, power windows, door locks and remote entry for added convenience, and premium cloth seating to go along with a leather-wrapped steering wheel for added comfort.
The 1.8 SL trim level is as high as it goes for the 2013 Cube, as it builds onto the 1.8 S trim by adding more premium features. On the outside, the 1.8 SL adds in an Xtronic continuously variable transmission for a smoother drive, 16-by-6-inch four-split-spoke alloy wheels for extra style and auto-in/off headlights for added safety. On the inside, the 1.8 SL adds in automatic temperature control for a stable cabin temperature, rear heating ducts for even heating front and rear, the Nissan Intelligent Key with push-button start for added convenience, and cruise control for easier long-haul driving,
More powerful engine, slightly calmer body and low base price, but blends in a little and low cargo space
Slightly cheaper, much more power and the original box-mobile, but old model year and low mpg
Lower priced, Honda quality and great mpg, too mainstream and poor standard features
More highway mpg, more conventional looks and stronger engine, but more expensive and less max cargo