2008 L.A. Auto Show: 2009 Nissan Cube

MMS ID 67328 (created by CM Utility) automatic-content-migration
  • Competes with: Scion xB, Pontiac Vibe, Kia Soul
  • Looks like: Nissan is getting on the boxy bandwagon
  • Drivetrain: 122-hp four-cylinder with continuously variable automatic transmission
  • Hits dealerships: Spring 2009

Scion busted down the preconception of exactly how boxy an econobox could be with the original Scion xB a few years ago. Now Nissan — as well as Kia, with its new Soul — is unleashing its own boxy economy car, the aptly named Cube. Long a hit in Japan, the Cube will make its American debut next year.

Powered by the same 122-hp four-cylinder found in the Nissan Versa, the company says we can expect the Cube to get more than 30 mpg. The Versa gets up to 27/33 mpg city/highway.

Like most Nissans, the Cube will come in three trim levels: Cube 1.8, Cube 1.8 S and Cube 1.8 SL. All Cubes will come with standard stability control, active head restraints for the front seats, seat-mounted side airbags up front and side curtain airbags for both rows. Power windows and air conditioning are also standard.

Upgraded features like Bluetooth, satellite radio, a Rockford Fosgate stereo system, iPod integration and rear parking sensors will be optional.

So how will the Cube set itself apart from its Versa sibling? It’s not just the unique shape, but also the seating configuration. The rear bench seat is not only set higher than the front seats — called stadium seating — but it can slide rearward to create more space. Nissan says these 6 inches of extra legroom are great for “lounging.”

Whatever people decide to do in or out of the Cube, its funky style, good fuel economy and slate of standard features make it an interesting alternative to other economy cars.

MMS ID 67326 (created by CM Utility) automatic-content-migration
Photo of David Thomas
Former managing editor David Thomas has a thing for wagons and owns a 2010 Subaru Outback and a 2005 Volkswagen Passat wagon. Email David Thomas

Latest expert reviews