2012 Nissan cube (918)


This week we’re looking at the 2012 Nissan CUBE 1.8 S Small station wagon.

General Information: 

Parts from the US/ Canadian n/a; Classification is Small Station Wagon. Cars from Nissan:  Altima, Altima Hybrid, Armada, cube, Frontier, GT-R, JUKE, LEAF, Maxima, Murano, Murano CrossCabriolet, NV Cargo, NV Passenger, Pathfinder, Quest, Rogue, Sentra, Titan, Versa, XTerra and Z.


Fuel economy is really getting important now with prices sure to rise to $8-10 per gallon if the current trend continues. Change is needed to get back to policies that will not only develop alternative energy sources, but to realize oil is still needed until those other sources are developed. What will it take to for people to demand sensible and responsible oil consumption?  Will it be that you will pay $200 or more to fill your tank with gas. And that translates to as much as $10,000 per year before folks will be convinced radical policies are not in our best interest. If prices do go to those levels that will mean Obama has been re-elected and it will be too late to fix the problem.

Think about it. . . as you recall it was Henry Ford who said “Thinking is the hardest work, which is why so few people do it”.

Handling & Performance:

This is a nice handling little wagon with a good turning radius and generally an all around nice around town car. It is also pretty good on the highway except it is a little “light on its feet” which is good for dancing but not so good on the highway on a breezy day.

CVT – Continuously Variable Transmission. Today, several car manufacturers, including General Motors, Audi, Honda and Nissan are designing their drivetrains around CVTs to replace planetary conventional automatic transmissions. The concept is not new with the first patent filed in 1886 after it was conceptualized by Leonardo da Vinci about 500 years earlier.

Of course CVT technology has been refined and improved. CVT employs a pulley based system or are Toroidal (replace belts and pullys with discs and power rollers) or Hydrostatic in design (that usesvariable-displacement pumps to vary the fluid flow into hydrostatic motors).

The benefits are that CVTs have far fewer parts that deliver a smoother ride because it eliminates “shift shock”, improved fuel efficiency, better acceleration, better control over emissions as CVTs replace inefficient fluid torque converters used in current conventional automatic transmissions. Whichever version of the CVT works best, it would appear likely to be the choice of all car makers in the future.


Of course, we know, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but Ugly Betty comes to mind. Cube is odd looking but such design has become acceptable in today’s world. The design is not aerodynamic, and that’s ok too because we’re not trying to break the ground speed record in our transportation vehicles. Surely it is spacious, especially in that it has headroom an NBA player would appreciate. Ultimately the consumer will decide if a car has to be pretty to make it. That fact of not being pretty was echoed by virtually everyone I talked with.

The first thing people noticed, with a curious look, is the “hairpiece” setting atop the dash. Or you may see it as piece of shag carpet left over from carpeting your house in the 1950s / 60s.

Fit and Finish:



Very good.

Conveniences and comfort:

Good. I especially appreciate the ease of Bluetooth connection and if you use Pandora on your iPhone it feeds right into the audio. On the other hand I don’t care for the visors that don’t extend to cover the side window.

I like the large swing out door to the Cargo area, which is very small, but the rear seat folds down that provides a larger area if you won’t need rear seating.

Consumer Recommendation:

Remember the Rotary engine introduced in the 1960s? Well my suggestion is that if the cube is your choice, be sure the warranty is bullet proof and covers the CVT transmission. If Consumer Guide is a credible source for you, they gave it the 2012 Best Buy Award.

Recognized Competition:

Nissan cube $15,000, Chevrolet  HHR $19,000, Ford Transit Connect $22,000, Jeep Compass $19,000,  Honda Element $21,000, Kia Soul $14,000, Scion xB $16,000, Toyota Matrix $19,000.

Good News:

Good fuel economy, well priced.

Bad News:

Some will say it is unattractive.

Standard Equipment:

1.8 Liter 4-cylinder engine, CVT continuous variable transmission, power assist ABS front disc and rear drum brakes, 15” steel wheels, front and side curtain airbags, LATCH system, traction control, dynamic control and brake force distribution, tire pressure monitor, security system with immobilizer, 6-way driver manual seat adjustment, cloth seats, 60/40 split fold down rear bench seat, leather wrapped steering wheel with cruise and audio controls, audio system with 6-speakers, iPod interface, Bluetooth hands free phone system, air conditioning, remote keyless entry, power windows and auto locking feature, intermittent wipers front and rear, power mirrors, swing rear cargo door.

Gas Stats:

$4.09/ Gal avg. April 14, 2012


for more information.

27 City and 31 Highway MPG


MSRP $17,420.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@atthewheel.com
Copyright © 2012 – An Automotive Love Affair

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