Thursday, September 1, 2011

Devon figures out the Cube of Nissan




The Nissan Cube is a funky little hatchback that's been sold in Japan for years. It's not the most stylish of Nissan cars, but it surely does stand out. With rivals from Kia and Scion, will the Nissan Cube manage to keep up? Or will it be another case of all style and no substance?

Likes: Roomy interior, generous kit, low running costs, distinctly designed inside out.

Dislikes: Sloppy handling, sluggish engine, odd-ball styling, too much wind noise on the motorway.

Performance: There's only one engine available for the Cube. It's a 1.8-liter four-cylinder with 122hp, although the engine is fuel efficient. It doesn't feel up for the job. It offers decent pace around town, but on faster paced roads you'll struggle to get up to speed. The CVT-transmission really does bring the buzz out of the engine, and often robs you off valuable revs when you need it most.

Ride & handling: The Cube feels comfortable because the suspension is set towards comfort, so there's plenty of body-roll in corners. You'll think the car wasn't attached to its chassis. On the motorway, you'll often feel like you're being blown about by cross winds due to the tall body.

Refinement: The cabin is roomy and airy, with very little road noise. Wind noise however will be an issue. The Cube's tall body makes it as aerodynamic as a tower block. So wind noise rushes into the cabin at high levels. The CVT transmission brings the buzz out of the engine. This makes long distance driving a bit tiresome.

Behind the wheel: The front seats are comfortable, but they lack lateral support. The dashboard is easy to navigate. Everything feels user friendly. Forward and rear visibility will be an issue. You'll feel like the windscreen is miles away from you, and those thick B-pillars create massive blind spots.

Space & Practicality: There's plenty of head and legroom in both the front seats and the rear seats. The tall body does give you an airy feel in the cabin. The seats fold down 60/40 to increase cargo space. While the boot isn't massive, it's awkward shape makes getting things in and out a breeze.

Equipment: The Nissan Cube comes well equipped. The base trim comes with air-con, cd-player, 6-way adjustable driver seat and a nifty trip computer. Top of the range models add automatic headlamps, sporty body-kit, and navigation system.

Buying & Owning: The Nissan Cube comes with a low asking price. It's not the most stylish car on the block, but it does offer loads of kit for the money. Discounts are available, and resale value should be good. Running costs are low too, thanks to decent fuel economy.

Quality & reliability: The interior feels well put together. Many plastics feel sturdy and long lasting. Nissan has a solid reliability record. The Nissan Cube should prove to be just as reliable.

Safety & Security: The Cube offers side-curtain airbags, anti-lock brakes and traction control all standard, even on the base trim. Deadlocks, engine immobiliser and an alarm are standard across the range to keep theft at bay.

The Nissan Cube isn't the most stylish car on the block. The interior is roomy, and the kit is generous for the money. However, the Cube's handling is sloppy. The engine isn't really up for the job, and there's too much wind noise on the motorway. It may seem like the Cube is all style and no substance. Even with all the negatives, the Cube still has a market for those who want something out side of the box. Before you consider a Cube however, we highly suggest you look at its rivals first. They're priced the same, but exceed in what the Cube falls short in.

Devon M 

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