While fuel prices rise, the buyer's need for versatile vehicles with adequate cargo space remains. To that end, Nissan has brought its edgy Cube subcompact multi-purpose vehicle over from the Japanese market.
Edgy and asymmetrical in design, the 2009 Nissan Cube incorporates a wrap-around rear window that carries through to the right side of the vehicle. Its low-slung ride height, but upright stance means the Cube can whip through city traffic while the driver retains a commanding view of the road.
Trims for the 5-passenger Cube are Base, S, SL, and the top-of-the-line Krom, spelled K-R-O-M, Edition. All models are powered by a 1.8-liter inline-4, generating 122 horsepower and 127 pound feet of torque. Power is sent to the front wheels through either a 6-speed manual or continuously variable transmission.
Fuel economy for the Cube ranges from 24-28 miles per gallon city, up to 30 miles per gallon highway.
As with the eye-catching exterior, Nissan has pushed the envelope with the Cube's cabin. Waves ripple from the center of the ceiling and the door-mounted speakers. Opting for the up-rated Krom Edition will get you a 6-speaker stereo system with Rockford Fosgate subwoofer.
The unorthodox interior layout actually makes for improved ergonomics. The cup holder to the left of the steering column leaves the right hand open to change gears or manipulate the radio and climate controls. The 60-40 split fold rear seats give way to ample impressive rear cargo space for a car classified as subcompact.
Also part of the Cube's trendy packaging is the interior LED lighting. Turning the dial in the center console will scroll through as many as 20 interior accent colors.
Standard safety features on the Cube include 4-wheel antilock disc brakes, traction control, vehicle stability control, side impact door beams, energy absorbing steering column, and a full array of front and side impact airbags.
Initial base MSRP for the 2009 Nissan Cube is $13,990. A fully loaded model will top out at just over $20,000. The Cube is backed by a 5-year, 60,000-mile powertrain warranty.
With edgy styling inside and out, a fuel efficient powerplant, and numerous practical features, Nissan hopes that the Cube will capture the interest of those who crave an innovative ride for their active lifestyles.