Interior Comfort and Ergonomics
The interior space of the Cube is HUMOOOOOOONGOUS. It’s like Harry Potter walking into the Wizard camping tents at the Quidditch World Cup, which look like small normal tents on the outside but are actually extremely spacious inside. Like magic. The windshield is well ahead of the driver and there’s so much headroom Shaq would have no problems fitting his whole family in here. I remember hearing echo when people were talking in the car. The seating position is high for a car, I guess that’s why the Cube is technically classified as a small wagon. It feels a little like you’re driving one of those small delivery vans in Europe dropping of baguettes, with great visibility all the way around. The roof of the Cube was about half a foot higher than a MAZDA3 I parked next to and almost as tall as the Toyota Sienna.
There’s plenty of legroom upfront and in the back the rear bench seat slides forward and back to give you more cargo room flexibility. There’s virtually no overhang in the tail of the car, so cargo capacity is limited with the rear seats pushed back. You can fold them down but they don’t go into the floor or anything, because the Cube also has very low floors, making in and out access very comfortable. The rear seats also recline a little, a feature that impressed many coworkers when I drove to lunch. But they’re easily amused. Oh and there’s an ipod jack on this Cube that worked really well. Nissan also managed to fit a cup holder in every nook and cranny of the car.
Shock and awe. OK I’m kidding. As I mentioned earlier, the Cube’s 122-hp, 1.8 liter DOHC four banger works decently well in conjunction with the CVT. It’s like riding a really fast turtle. It won’t blow you away but it will pleasantly surprise you. More often than not I was the first one off the line at a stop light but you probably won’t care to do that if you’re the type of person who just bought a Cube.
The Cube gets 28 MPG in the city and 30 MPG on the highway. It is very fuel efficient considering the size and shape of the car. The CVT actually gets better MPG than the 6-speed manual(24/29). The ride quality is superior for a vehicle in this class, so smooth that my wife thought it was much better than the MINI Cooper. Road grip was also pretty decent, I took some corners pretty quick and at no time did I fear I was losing control despite the tallness of the car.
C’mon, if you bought a Cube, you’re not looking for performance. The good news is that nobody expects any performance from this car and that’s what gives you that advantage at the red light. Low expectations, my friends.
The Cube handles really well considering how tall it is and the high sitting position. I tried taking a few corners at 20 MPH and my wife did not scream at all. There is noticeable body roll but it’s probably due to the tall greenhouse and virtually vertical A pillars. The short wheelbase means a great turning radius, a quite remarkable difference from the Dodge Challenger I reviewed a few weeks back. Again, the Cube exceeds expectations on the handing front, too. Cruising around town in the Cube is definitely a very enjoyable experience. It’s prefect for city living.
It is impossible to lose the Cube in the parking lot. My wife loved this car’s styling. Quirky is the best way to describe the design language on the Cube. The taillights are harmless, and the headlights are just OK. The second generation Cube has better headlights, which are round lights inside cubic boxes, much more fitting for the Cube. The best part of the exterior would definitely be the right rear corner with its wrap-around windows and blacked out C pillar. This is different than the other rear corner, which has a strong C pillar that’s not blacked out and thus gives the Cube the only asymmetric rear on a production car in North America. As I mentioned before, you either love it or hate it. I love it. It is an interesting combination of Japanese weirdness and European flair. It’s almost like a modern art piece at the MoMA. You definitely attract a lot of attention in this car. I definitely got a lot more looks from girls in the Cube than I did with the Challenger SRT8. I’m not sure if they were impressed, however. More shocked than awed I guess.
Unlike most cars, the Cube features an interior that rivals its exterior design. The first thing you notice upon entering the car is the “ripple” on the ceiling. It looks like a water ripple on a pond surface or a sound wave emanating from the center of the ceiling. It serves absolutely no function whatsoever, but it is so cool. The circular theme carries throughout the inside, from the circular climate control unit in the dash to the rounded corners on the “Jacuzzi” style dashboard design. The faux stitching patterns on the seat covers make the seats look more expensive than they are, and 20-color interior illumination gives it a cool party atmosphere. The tester also had illuminated kick plates like those on an Infiniti, a very nice touch that makes the car look and feel more expensive.