“When the going gets weird, the weird will be driving Nissan Cubes.” But even for the rest of us, it will be hard not to be seduced by the “geometrical whimsy” of this four-door box-mobile. “A single wraparound door provides access to both the luggage space and the rear right passenger seat. If possible, the car is “even weirder inside,” where a water-droplet motif festoons undulating upholstery and an “inexplicable circular patch of shag” decorates the dash.
What’s most striking about the Cube’s interior is just how big it is. There’s so much head-, leg-, and elbow-room that it feels “more like a limo than the upmarket economy car it actually is.” Every detail—from the dome light to the shapes of buttons—makes you smile. But that cute design merely disguises the car’s true mission: “to be the thoroughly practical, no-nonsense urban vehicle of the early 21st century.”
Unfortunately, the Cube is a lot less fun to drive than to look at. Its 122-hp, 1.8-liter engine averages a “very good” 28 mpg, but provides barely adequate acceleration. Its compact footprint makes it maneuverable in tight spaces, yet “in routine driving, the car feels clumsy.” For a vehicle this small, the Cube takes far too long to stop, and “the steering is a bit vague.”