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1. Overview
2. Walkaround and Interior
3. Driving Impressions
4. Summary, Prices, Specs

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2009 Nissan Cube (continued)

Driving Impressions

2009 Nissan Cube

Weighing just 2800 pounds in its basic form, the Cube doesn't tax the 122-horsepower engine at all, and it feels reasonably quick getting away from stoplights and stop signs in urban and suburban settings.

The Cube SL test car we drove had the CVT transmission as standard equipment, and it worked very well with the engine's 127 foot-pounds of torque without a lot of waiting around for the revs to catch up to the ratios, a common problem with other CVTs that tend to make driving noisy and clunky. Not in the Cube CVT. It's not a rocket ship, but it more than keeps up with the traffic, and it isn't buzzy or whiny at freeway speeds.

EPA-rated at 22/30 mpg City/Highway, Cube runs on Regular gas.

The suspension under the Cube is entirely conventional, with MacPherson struts, coil springs and a stabilizer bar up front, and a torsion beam setup with coil springs and a stabilizer bar at the rear, simple, cheap and effective, and a system that has tuned out almost all of the usual body roll in corners, so the Cube feels stable and planted on its relatively skinny, tall tires.

The steering is light and easy, but not ropey, and the driver's seating position is nice and high, with really excellent outward vision in all directions. It rides on P195 16-inch tires and wheels, and there are no larger tire options.

One of the driving dynamics that distinguishes the Cube is its 33.4-foot turning circle, the shortest in the class, and more than six feet shorter than some of its competitors, a factor that just makes the Cube more maneuverable in more tight places than the other cute little cars.

We found the brakes worked just fine in the busy, crazy downtown Miami traffic, defending the Cube against tourists, pedestrians, scooters and cabbies, with good power and good pedal modulation, without the added expense of rear discs. The brakes are discs front and drums rear, but with ABS, electronic brake force distribution, Brake Assist, traction and yaw control built into the system.


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