Nissan Cube 2010 Road Test

Tue, 12 Jan 2010

You might take one look at the Nissan Cube and decide it’s an oddball of strictly limited appeal. And you’d be wrong. Because, since its first incarnation in 1998, Nissan has sold a million of them.

You see them all over the Far East, in Bangkok and Hong Kong as well as Tokyo. Honda makes its own version. Daihatsu makes one too. Now KIA has had a crack at the same market with its Soul.

So what’s the appeal?

I guess, simply a desire to be different. Make a statement about yourself. Rebel against the conventional.

You get a high roof, wide opening doors, low door sills (making it particularly accommodating for the elderly, who hate its looks).

Yet underneath, it’s a Note. Note engine. Note suspension. Note steering. So it drives and handles pretty much like a Note, and on those sqidgy big 195/65 R16 tyres it rides the speed cushions very well too.

It’s comfortable. There are lots of cupholders to put the morning’s Costa Coffee. You can talk as you drive using the hands-free Bluetooth. Anyone in the back can recline their backrest and go to sleep if they want to.

It’s geared high enough not to drone on the motorway, and the engine has decent low down torque so you don’t need to rev it. The claimed 42.8mpg should be possible, which isn’t quite as good as the forthcoming diesel will be, but it’s good enough.

The Kaisen version has Nissan’s excellent reprogrammable Connect satnav that doubles up as the screen for a reversing camera. All versions come with cruise control and speed limiter.

The more I think about it the closer it seems to be to the ideal car for non car people like my 24 year old son. It’s got all the things he appreciates in a car, though I don’t know if he’ll go for the shape.

A disadvantage is that in protecting occupants from getting rammed up the backside by a Toyota Land Cruiser, the engineers have slung a massive girder across the back that prevents dogs from hopping in and making the car smell. (Perhaps no disadvantage at all.)

But the back seats slide and the backrests fold down, so there’s plenty of room for stuff.

Don’t worry if you don’t like it at all. Nissan only expects to sell 2,000 over the next year in the UK.

So, buy one if you like it. Don’t buy one if you don’t. But if you do buy one at least you get a decent driving experience, good levels of comfort and reasonable performance and economy.

For the same sort of money that Ford now asks for Fiesta, or Citroen wants for a C3.

For prices, specifications, engines, transmissions, dimensions and performance figures, please click the tabs.
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