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2012 Nissan cube (1.8, 1.8 S, 1.8 SL) review

The Nissan cube enters its fourth year of availability in 2012 with its standout styling and roomy cabin firmly intact, maintaining its unique place in the automotive world. It again offers an asymmetrical rear window, refrigerator-style rear door, space for five in its lounge-like interior or 58 cubic feet of cargo room, and more than 40 accessories to help buyers customize cube to their precise tastes and needs.
2012 Nissan cube photo2012 Nissan cube photo
Enhancements for 2012 include a new 1.8 S Indigo Limited Edition Package with a unique Indigo seat trim color, Nissan Navigation System, RearView Monitor, Rockford Fosgate audio, Nissan Intelligent Key® and 15-inch aluminum-alloy wheels. Other changes include the addition of the Nissan Intelligent Key® as standard equipment on SL models and an attached front passenger seat armrest on S and SL models. Five new exterior colors are also offered for 2012 – Pearl White, Brilliant Silver, Gun Metallic, Cayenne Red and Bali Blue. The 2012 Nissan cube is available in three well-equipped models: cube 1.8, cube 1.8 S and cube 1.8 SL.
2012 Nissan cube photo2012 Nissan cube photo
Unique, Asymmetrical Design
At first glance, the Nissan cube’s appearance seems to embody the simplistic nature of its name – a box on wheels. But a closer look reveals a more complex and intricate design with a surprising sense of dynamic movement. With cube’s long wheelbase relative to its overall length (a 99.6-inch wheelbase against a 156.7-inch overall length) and wide track, the wheels, are pushed out to each corner – providing exceptional space utilization and a confident-looking stance that has been compared to a “bulldog in sunglasses.” Along with its stance, cube’s distinctive look is aided by the wide headlights and grille treatment, the small but substantial body proportions and the short “tail” section.
2012 Nissan cube photo2012 Nissan cube photo
In the rear, the bar-type taillights reinforce the wide, anchored look. Another unique aspect of cube’s exterior is the large greenhouse. The A-pillars are positioned far outward and relatively upright, giving a wider range of forward visibility. The front door windows utilize a “photo frame” design, while the asymmetrical wraparound side/rear window creates enhanced rear diagonal visibility for lane changes and reverse parking.
Unlike typical top-hinged or clamshell-style utility rear doors, cube features an easy-access refrigerator-style opening, which makes it possible to open or close it even if parked tight against other cars in parallel parking spaces or when backed in against a wall or other obstacle. The back door opens fully when space allows, for loading groceries, luggage or large objects – or to a limited-access position (about eight inches) when space is restricted, for retrieving or loading a backpack or other small objects. The one-hand door handle operation is designed for easy use, even while carrying things in the other hand or arm.
The Nissan cube is available in eight mild-to-wild exterior colors: new-for-2012 colors Pearl White, Brilliant Silver, Gun Metallic, Cayenne Red and Bali Blue, along with previously available colors Sapphire Black, Golden Ginger, and Bitter Chocolate.
A “Casual Lounge” Interior
The centerpiece of cube’s universal appeal is its “social space” – the surprisingly roomy interior that offers room for five in lounge-like comfort. It creates a third space, in addition to home and school, for interacting with friends. It’s a space that is highly changeable and adaptable to owners’ evolving lives, with plenty of room for personalization.
Cube’s clever, inspired and surprisingly open occupant space combines “casual lounge”-style passenger seating with a relaxed driving experience. The interactive interior is anchored by its curve-themed architecture, such as the subtle wavy shaping of the instrument panel, door panels, seat shapes, armrests, and the iconic circular/oval shapes of elements ranging from air conditioning vents, door pulls and climate controls.
The comfortable cube seating includes a 6-way manual driver’s seat and 4-way manual front passenger’s seat, along with a “lounge sofa” style reclining rear bench seat. The sliding rear seat can be adjusted to three positions – full rearward (providing ample legroom), mid-position (3.9 inches forward) or front position (6.0 inches forward). The rear seat also is positioned higher than the front seats, theater style, enhancing rear passenger comfort and visibility.
Other interior features include the “floating pod” instrument panel with asymmetrical light blue and white gauges, which are designed to make it easier to distinguish between the speedometer and the tachometer. The gauge needles “sweep” when the engine is started to add a sense of flair, while the gradation effect gives a natural ambience similar to the glow of the white moon and the blue earth. Sub-gauges are concentrated for enhanced visibility. The three-spoke steering wheel is available with leather wrapping and steering wheel-mounted audio controls (standard on cube S and SL models).
Convenient storage spaces and cup/bottle holders are abundant throughout the cube interior – including six cupholders (instrument panel, front center console and rear armrests) and five bottle holders (door panels and center console). There are also detachable multi-hooks for holding bags or hats, which can be moved to other places including the instrument panel and rear passenger doors. “Shelves” are located on the top center and the passenger side of the instrument panel. Although the shelves are not designed for holding objects when cube is in motion, they provide convenient spaces for placing keys, cell phones or digital music players when cube is parked. The Nissan cube interior design also incorporates a series of subtle “Water Drop” concentric circles. Inspired by nature and the calming way that ripples move outward from a drop in water, the circles can be seen in items ranging from the roof headliner to the cupholders to the climate control design.
A Wide Range of Available Features
The 2012 Nissan cube includes standard power windows with driver’s side one-touch auto up/down feature, Remote Keyless Entry system, power door locks with auto-locking feature, rear window defroster with timer, cargo area hooks, and 12-volt power outlet and adjustable front seat belt upper anchors.
Available cube technology features include Nissan Intelligent Key® with Push Button Ignition, Bluetooth® Hands-free Phone System, Rockford Fosgate subwoofer and amplifier with six upgraded speakers, XM® Satellite Radio (XM® subscription required, sold separately) and Interface System for iPod®. The Nissan Navigation System with 5-inch color touch-screen, XM NavTraffic® capability (XM® subscription required, sold separately), and USB connectivity are available with the cube SL Preferred Package or new 1.8 S Indigo Limited Edition.
The cube interior is offered in two color environments, Light Gray and Black. Light Gray, available in a quilted suede-like fabric with special “natural wave” stitching only, is designed to create a relaxing contrast between the warm, light gray upholstery and off-black interior accents. The Black interior, available in two cloth grades, provides a combination of relaxation and more traditional “driving enjoyment” attitude. The 1.8 S Indigo Limited Edition includes Black/Indigo cloth seat trim.
Unexpected Power and Driving Ease
Just as the Nissan cube has its own unique take on styling and interior design, the engineering team took a fresh approach to performance – creating a vehicle that is easy to drive and easy to handle in traffic. Cube’s stress-free driving experience is the result of a number of factors: an extremely tight 33.4-foot curb-to-curb turning radius, a tall seating position made possible by the tall body height, an extremely short hood “invisible length” (the area of the hood panel that the driver is unable to see) and good rear visibility for parking and backing up.
Cube combines an advanced 122-horsepower 1.8-liter DOHC inline 4-cylinder with a choice of Nissan Xtronic CVT® (Continuously Variable Transmission) or 6-speed manual transmission for good acceleration response, smooth operation and fuel efficiency. The 6-speed manual transmission is available with cube 1.8 and cube 1.8 S models, while the CVT is available with the cube 1.8 S and standard on the cube 1.8 SL. Engine torque is rated at 127 lb-ft. Fuel economy is estimated at 27 mpg City/31 mpg highway with the CVT and 25 mpg City/30 mpg Highway with the 6-speed manual transmission.
Cube’s suspension combines an independent MacPherson strut front design and front stabilizer bar with a torsion beam rear axle with integrated rear stabilizer bar. Its comfortable, flat ride is a result, in part, of the Ripple-control shock absorbers and the high body stiffness. Other standard equipment includes vehicle-speed-sensitive electric power-assisted steering, power-assisted front disc/rear drum brakes and 15-inch wheels with P195/60R15 tires.
Cube’s long list of standard safety features includes the Nissan Advanced Air Bag System (AABS), seat-mounted driver and front-passenger side-impact supplemental air bags, and roof-mounted curtain side-impact supplemental air bags for front and rear-seat outboard occupant head protection. Cube also offers standard front-seat Active Head Restraints, Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) and Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) with Traction Control System (TCS), along with an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist (BA).
Three Well-Equipped Models
The 2012 Nissan cube is offered in three well-equipped models: cube 1.8, cube 1.8 S and cube 1.8 SL. Two option packages are offered – the SL Preferred Package and new Indigo Limited Edition.
The SL Preferred Package includes the Nissan Intelligent Key® with Push Button Ignition, fog lights, Nissan Navigation System with 5-inch touch screen display, USB connection port, RearView Monitor, upgraded speakers, Rockford Fosgate subwoofer and amplifier, and XM® Satellite Radio (XM® subscription required, sold separately).
The 1.8 S Indigo Limited Edition includes 15-inch split 6-spoke aluminum-alloy wheels, Black/Indigo cloth seat trim, Nissan Intelligent Key® with Push Button Ignition, Nissan Navigation System with 5-inch touch screen and XM NavTraffic® capability Radio (XM® subscription required, sold separately), RearView Monitor, six upgraded speakers, Rockford Fosgate 8-inch subwoofer and amplifier, XM® Satellite Radio (XM® subscription required, sold separately), and USB connection port for iPod® and other compatible devices.
2012 Nissan cube photo2012 Nissan cube photo
More than 40 individual accessories are offered – ranging from a unique 20-color interior accent lighting kit and shag dash topper to aerodynamic body kit and unique wheels – allowing Nissan cube owners to personalize their vehicles to reflect their own tastes and needs.
Other accessories include illuminated stainless kick plates, rear cargo area organizer, interior trim appliqu├ęs and more. Four Accessory Packages are also available, which combine a number of popular features: Interior Designer Package, Interior Illumination Package, Sport Package, and Exterior Accent Package.


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