Nissan recognized the renewed success of the subcompact market in North America and promptly brought over their distinctive Cube. It's powered by a 1.8L 4-cylinder engine that makes 122 horsepower. Two transmissions are available -- a 6-speed manual or continuously variable transmission.
The Cube distinguishes its self from other compact cars with its distinctive, standout styling. It features an asymmetrical wrap-around rear window on one corner, rounded window frames and a box-like design. Inside, unique Japanese styling cues abound: the dashboard is shaped like a wave, cresting in the center where the stereo controls and the circular climate control pod resides. The most talked-about design element has been the "ripple" ceiling, which provides the illusion of radiating waves from the center dome light.
The Cube features a reclining 60/40-split rear seat as well as 11 cubic feet of cargo room. The rear seat also slides forward and back to make even efficient use of that rear cargo area. Over 50 cubic feet of cargo space is available with the rear seats folded.
The base Cube model starts just under $15,000 and includes a CD player with auxiliary audio input jack, 6-way adjustable driver seat, an impressive 11 beverage holders, a trip computer, air conditioning, side curtain air bags, remote keyless entry and anti-lock brakes. The S trim adds $1,440 to the base price, but also an upgraded stereo, premium cloth seats, map lights and a cargo cover.
The SL trim starts at $18,520. It upgrades the wheels to 16-inch aluminum ones, adds automatic headlamps and climate control and a premium stereo system. It comes standard with the CVT transmission. The Preferred package is also available on the SL. It includes push-button ignition, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, fog lights, Bluetooth, rear parking sensors, XM NavTraffic and satellite radio and a 150-watt Rockford Fosgate subwoofer.