It’s been five and a half years since I bought a 2009 Nissan Cube. I was looking for something that was different and would draw more eyes to the vehicle as it would be wrapped in promotional material, yet still be functional for the work I needed it to do. The Cube I purchased has a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine paired with Nissan’s Xtronic CVT automatic transmission. As a promotional tool it was a hit as it was new in Canada and not a day went by without being asked about the vehicle – was it a hybrid or electric, what the heck is it etc.
Background on vehicle use:
47,000 KMs in the first year (44,000 KMs in 9 months). The vehicle was taken with a full load from Victoria, Port Hardy, Campbell River, Tofino, Hope, Kelowna, Prince George, Dawson Creek, 100 Mile House, Whitehorse, Yellowknife, Edmonton, Calgary, Regina, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Dauphin, Thompson, Thunder Bay, Niagara Falls, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City, Fredericton, Halifax, Charlottetown, St John, and Peggy’s Cove – and that was just Canada! It’s also seen the entire US eastern seaboard including the Florida Keys, Texas, Arizona, Utah, California and many more.
Much of the travel through the Canadian north was on gravel roads. And for 5,200 KMs the car was equipped with a trailer hitch and it pulled a small trailer with approx. 450 kgs of gear and other materials on top of the cabin being fully loaded.
By taking the back seat out of the Cube you can create for yourself a mini-minivan. The swinging tailgate makes for easy loading and unloading and I’m still amazed at just how much you can cram into a Cube.
It is very nimble with a great turning radius making it simple to drive and easy to park. With the large windows, including the wrap-around rear window, visibility is great. Getting in and out of the vehicle is also easy.
Durability has been excellent. The engine and transmission were more than capable of handling the full load and trailer combo including through Death Valley, California and over the Sierra Nevada mountains. Considering how much time has been spent in it and its use as a work vehicle, it has held up very well. Nothing has broken, no torn seats or carpets and all doors and windows are still well-sealed. And mechanically apart from routine maintenance, it has never needed any mechanical repairs.
There have been a few recalls but only for minor issues which the Nissan dealership quickly rectified without any further complications.
The Nissan Cube is a very noisy vehicle. Not so much at slow speeds but as soon as you get to 60 KPH or faster the wind noise is very noticeable and road noise also comes readily into the cabin. High cross-winds can also present a bit of problem but nothing keeping two hands on the wheel doesn’t counter.
The heaters have always been a little weak, so defrosting windows and just keeping moisture off the inside of the windows can be a bit of a chore. Air conditioning on the other hand has worked well from day one.
Fuel mileage is not great. In fact it is only about 20% better than our V8-powered work vehicle (Ford) when loaded with people and/or materials.
Would I buy another or recommend the Nissan Cube? Well, you can’t buy one – not new anyways. They have been discontinued in Canada after very poor sales. Even after five years I’m still not sure if the Cube is ugly or not. But ugliness aside, it has been reliable, and very functional despite outward appearances. If you need a reasonably priced used small vehicle and are considering a Nissan Cube, give it a spin, you may come to like it too.