Nissan Cube

The Nissan Cube is a cube-like compact hatchback that was introduced in 1998 but was not offered outside of Japan until 2009. In fact, when it was first sold, it used a different name and shared the same chassis as the Nissan Micra, known as the ""March"" in Japan and Southeast Asia. In addition, the compact fuel-efficient 1.3-liter engine found in the Micra was also used in the Cube. For a short period, a four-wheel-drive model was available when interest grew for exports to Australia, the U.K., and Hong Kong.

More on the Nissan Cube
About the Nissan Cube

Enthusiasts who look into the history of the Nissan Cube often comment on the time it took for the popular car to reach a global market. Besides its obvious attraction as being an apparent box with wheels, the Nissan Cube built its popularity on its extremely fuel-efficient engine. Moreover, its large amount of storage space and room for five adults were features that were not often seen with ultra-compact vehicles. The cube showed that a box-shaped car was not only an innovative design, but also offered plenty of headroom and cargo space. It became a practical solution for transporting cargo and gained a reputation as a ""funky people mover.""

Before the Cube won the attention of the U.S. market, the second-generation model already started its descent on the U.K. and European markets. An electric version called the Denki Cube Concept was created specifically for the New York International Auto Show in 2008. American consumers started to request the fuel-efficient gasoline version to be sold in the U.S at the show. Due to this demand, the third-generation Nissan Cube was unveiled in November 2008 at the Los Angeles International Auto Show and then mass-produced for an official release in mid-2009.

One of its most unique features is the illusion of an asymmetrical rear window that wraps around the passenger side, giving the Cube a futuristic appearance. The Nissan Cube’s success was quite serendipitous in that from its first inception in 1998, Nissan thought little about the modest ultra-compact that would later become a favorite in foreign markets. The quirky design initially approved by Nissan executives in Japan to meet the tastes of the domestic market and culture surprisingly also met the demands of outside markets.

Nissan Cube Features

The Nissan Cube comes in three versions: the 1.8, 1.8 S, and the 1.8 SL. All models share the same engine and drivetrain specs. The Cube runs on the MR18DE, a 1.8-liter DOHC 16-valve four-cylinder engine that outputs 122 hp. It uses a Continuous Variable Valve Timing Control System (CVVTS), which gives it outstanding fuel efficiency, even more than the first generation model. Active brake limited slip is a standard feature, while the Xtronic variable transmission, which is a new technology by Nissan, is standard on the SL version and optional on the S.

The base and the S models roll off the factory floor on 15-inch alloy wheels, while the SL model sits on 16-inch four-spoke alloys. Automatic on/off headlights are only available in the SL trim. Exterior accents such as a custom front grille and an aerodynamic body kit, which includes a front lip, side skirts, rear diffuser, and a roof spoiler, are optional aesthetic upgrades. The privacy glass was an option in previous years but is now a standard feature on all models.

Inside, the Nissan Cube comes standard with air-conditioning, power windows, power door locks, and keyless entry. Stylish electroluminescent gauges, a multi-functional trip computer, visor vanity mirrors, and a 12-volt DC power outlet are standard features on all Cube models. Regarding optional upgrades, buyers can pay for Nissan’s Intelligent Key with push button ignition, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, dual overhead map lights, automatic temperature controls, rear heating ducts under the front seats, and Bluetooth connectivity.

Two of the main features of the Cube that are popular with consumers are the utility areas and storage compartments. Six cup holders, five bottle holders, two ripple hooks, and many innovative storage compartments are scattered across the interior. The bench seats can be folded flat and the four-way adjustable passenger seats allow room in the trunk for a variety of large objects.

Nissan Cube Evolution

This first installment of the Nissan Cube was known in Japan as the Z10. It was only exported privately to the U.K., Australia, and Hong Kong.

The second generation Nissan Cube was still only produced for the Japanese domestic market in 2002. However, some private exports were sent to the U.K. and other European markets. During this period, attention toward the Cube started to build with the press and automotive enthusiasts.

The third and current generation Nissan Cube is the first official model to grace the streets of the U.S., U.K., Australia, and other foreign markets in 2009. It was marketed as an ultra-compact car with attitude, and has received mixed reviews. Overall, the Nissan Cube is well regarded by motorists and has won many awards as a result.

Select a Nissan Cube Year

2012 Nissan Cube


Some new features greet the 2012 models, including a new package for the 1.8 S CVT with Nissan Navigation System, Rockford Fosgate audio, a rear-view camera, and Nissan Intelligent Key, a standard feature on the SL models. The Cube also expands its color palette with the addition of five new colors.

2011 Nissan Cube


Now in its third model year, the 2011 Cube receives revised content, a new exterior hue, and improved emissions certification. The 1.8 SL with the Preferred Package and the 1.8 S Krom Edition get an enhanced SD card-based nav system with real-time traffic updates. Golden Ginger replaces Moss Green on the paint list. And in California, the Cube is certified as LEV2-SULEV.

2009 Nissan Cube


The 2009 Nissan Cube marked the model’s debut in the U.