Subcompact car; Built in Japan
  • 4-door hatchback
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $4,700 – $16,900*

2009 Nissan Cube Front

2009 Nissan Cube Rear

2009 Nissan Cube Interior

2009 Nissan Cube Exterior

  • Fuel economy
  • Standard safety equipment
  • Passenger and cargo room
  • Rear seat doesn’t fold flat
  • Road noise

Nissan’s Cube offers a surprising amount of space and practicality in a small and highly styled package. People shopping for small crossover-type sport-utility vehicles, and outgoing folk looking for something beyond the ordinary subcompact universe, should give Nissan’s personality-infused little box a close look and trial run. Anyone with mobility problems also will find that the Cube offers amazingly easy entry and exiting.


Introduced late in the 2009 model year, the squared-off Cube was a subcompact four-door wagon with a swing-out back door and front-wheel drive. As the newest addition to this Japanese automaker’s lineup, the Cube came in four trim levels: 1.8, 1.8 S, 1.8 SL, and top-of-the-line Krom. The sole engine was a 122-horsepower 1.8-liter four-cylinder, borrowed from Nissan’s compact Versa. Two transmission choices were offered: a six-speed manual or a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). The base model and the S came standard with the manual gearbox. The CVT was available on the S model, but was the only transmission offered on SL and Krom editions.

Standard safety features included antilock brakes, traction control, an antiskid system, curtain side airbags, and front side airbags. Cube’s rear seat was positioned slightly higher than in other subcompact cars, and it was able to slide back and forth to accommodate passengers or cargo. The S model included cruise control and a cargo-area cover. SL equipment added 16-inch alloy wheels and automatic temperature control. A Preferred Package that included rear-obstacle detection, keyless access and engine start, and a wireless cell-phone link was optional on the SL. That Package was standard on the Krom edition, which also included an uplevel sound system and a rear spoiler. Though Nissan’s Cube was a highly distinctive and unique vehicle, it competed against such subcompacts as the Honda Fit, Scion xB and xD, and Suzuki SX4.

Yearly Updates

2010 Cube
Auxiliary audio controls on the steering wheel became standard this year on S and SL models, rather than optional. A wireless cell-phone link now was standard on SL and Krom models. A 4.3-inch audio display with USB connectivity and a RearView Monitor were added to the optional SL Preferred Package, and to the Krom edition. New S-model equipment included a Radio Data System and speed-sensitive volume control, as well as MP3/CD-ROM playback capability.
2011 Cube
The 2011 Nissan Cube was largely unchanged.
2012 Cube
There were no changes of note to the 2012 Nissan Cube.
2013 Cube
Cube carried over with virtually no changes for 2013, save for the cancellation of the entry-level model and discontinuation of the Cargo Version package and Indigo Limited Edition trim package.
2014 Cube
There were no significant changes for the 2014 Cube.


transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

Only one engine has been available in the Cube: a 122-horsepower, 1.8-liter four-cylinder, mated to either a six-speed manual gearbox or a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Note: Initial 2009 model with CVT had an EPA estimate of 28/30 mpg.

dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 1.8/110
Engine HP 122
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 127
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed manual



dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 1.8/110
Engine HP 122
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 127
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
CVT automatic



Road Test

This unique little wagon may be no ball of fire, but with either transmission, Cube has little trouble keeping up with urban traffic. Versions with the CVT feel a bit livelier from a stop than those with the six-speed manual transmission.

Fuel economy is satisfying. A test Cube with the manual transmission averaged 26.6 mpg. Our extended-use SL model with CVT averaged 28.2 mpg. Cubes use regular-grade gasoline.

Even the Krom edition of the Cube has no real sporting intentions. In around-town driving, the comfort-biased suspension nicely absorbs small pavement imperfections, but can’t completely smother large bumps.

For a basic economy car, Cube is fairly nimble and pleasant to drive. The precise steering has light effort at low speeds, but it builds nicely as the pace quickens. Close-quarters maneuverability is quite good, thanks to Cube’s small footprint. Braking control is good, though operational changes within the CVT when slowing to a halt affect brake-pedal feel.

Cube’s engine is vocal during rapid acceleration, but quiets down at cruise. Coarse-surface tire thrum is very noticeable, even at low speeds. Otherwise, the Cube is pleasantly quiet under most conditions.

Controls are well placed and clearly marked. The SL model has an automatic climate control system that uses pushbuttons, while the S gets a simpler system with rotary knobs. Both are easy to use. Nissan’s typical steering-wheel-mounted cruise controls make a welcome appearance on both models, and the SL’s Preferred Package adds redundant audio controls (made standard on all models for 2010). Modest materials and hard plastics are used to good effect for a pleasant cabin that presents better than many class rivals.

Large adults will find plenty of room on comfortable front seats, which give occupants a high position. There’s no center console, thus no center-console armrest, but the driver gets a fold-down seat-mounted armrest. Only the driver’s seat is height-adjustable, using a manual lever. Extra-large sunvisors are provided for the tall windshield. Visibility is generally good. The wrap-around rear window helps the view over the right shoulder, but rear headrests can be a bit of an obstacle.

Most adults should have enough headroom and legroom in the back seat, but taller folks may wish for a bit more knee space behind a front seat pushed all the way back. The rear seat can slide fore and aft to favor cargo or passenger room, and the split seatbacks can recline independently.

The Cube’s cargo area is a deep well, but not very long front-to-back with the rear seat up. There’s no underfloor storage, but the available cargo organizer is quite handy. The split-fold rear seat flops forward easily, but is not close to being flush with the floor behind it. Nissan’s cleverly-designed cloth cargo cover can work with the seat upright, folded, or in any combination. Numerous cupholders spread through the Cube’s interior can also be used as small bins. A glovebox, a couple of small cubbies, and a seatback pocket also offer small-item storage.


Model Tested: 2010 Nissan Cube 1.8 SL w/Pref. Pkg.

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.


Acceleration - 4
Fuel Economy - 8
Ride Quality - 5
Steering/Handling - 5
Quietness - 4


Controls/Materials - 6
Room/Comfort Front - 7
Room/Comfort Rear - 6
Cargo Room - 8


Value - 9

Total: 62


4-door hatchback
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
99.6 156.7 66.7 65.0
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
58.1 13.2 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
42.6 40.2 42.4 35.5
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2009 Cube (Note: Early ’09 models had 4-star rating for rear side impact) 4-door hatchback


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
Front Passenger Injury - 4

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
Rear Passenger Injury - 5


(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Brake noise
Description: The rear brakes may squeal and revised brake shoes are available to correct the problem. (2009-10)
Door handles
Description: The outside rear door handles were being voluntarily replaced with stouter ones. (2009)
Tire wear
Description: The transmitter nut for the tire pressure monitoring system tends to corrode, especially where salt is used on roads, and the company issued a voluntary recall to replace the nuts. (2009)

Recall History

2009 Cube
Description: On certain models sold or registered in specified states, material in nut used to secure the sensor-transmitter of tire pressure monitor may corrode and potentially crack in areas with heavy concentrations of road salt; nut could come out, and indicator lamp would illuminate, as tire quickly loses air pressure at a consistent rate.
2009-10 Cube vehicles manufactured from January 30, 2009 through July 30, 2010
Description: When the vehicle was rotated following a rear moving barrier crash test as required, the amount of fuel leakage exceeded the allowable limits. Fuel leakage, in the presence of an ignition source, could result in a fire. Dealers will develop a special protector and attach it to the gasoline recirculation tube at the location of the filler neck connector. This service will be performed free of charge.
2013-14 Cube
Description: Certain 2013 and 2014 model Nissan Cube vehicles made between July 3, 2013 and October 21, 2013 may have engine stop/start buttons that can become stuck inside the button housing.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.


Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.

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