2010 Nissan Cube

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Key Specs
Our Take
Road Test
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Key Specs

of the 2010 Nissan Cube. Base trim shown.

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Ride quality
  • Quiet cabin
  • Safety features
  • Value for the money
  • Gas mileage with CVT
  • City-friendly turning circle

The Bad

  • Sluggish acceleration
  • Ungainly handling
  • Unsupportive seats
  • Small cargo area
  • Swing gate rear door
  • USB/iPod input only in higher trim levels

Notable Features of the 2010 Nissan Cube

  • Manual or CVT automatic
  • Bulldog-inspired styling
  • Standard electronic stability system
  • Adjustable rear seats

2010 Nissan Cube Road Test

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Joe Wiesenfelder
For 2010, Nissan has added another trim level to the boxy Cube, the Krom (with a long O, pronounced "chrome"). The Cube is otherwise unchanged for 2010 (see them compared), and Kelsey Mays' 2009 Cube review details the lineup well. I'll concentrate on the new Krom.

In short, the Krom turns the affordable Cube into a more distinctive and definitively less affordable Cube, whose higher price I suspect will turn off many, many buyers. It also has a dorky name. Chrome with a K? It's no better than the Kia Forte Koup (coupe). Why do automakers do this?

At $20,440, the Krom adds a whopping $6,450 over the suggested retail price of the base Cube 1.8. Perhaps more relevant, it's $2,990 more expensive than the closest trim level, the 1.8 SL. Here's what it gets you: The bumpers are more prominent, adding almost an inch to the car's length, and the grilles are chrome. Sill extensions give the Krom a lowered look, and the 16-inch alloy wheels are specific to the trim level, being — you guessed it — chromed. (The SL also has 16-inch alloys, but they aren't chromed.) The Krom also has a spoiler atop its rear swing gate.

The interior has exclusive black and gray seat fabric, aluminum pedals and titanium-tone trim around the vents and gear selector. The Krom is also the only version to get steering-wheel stereo controls. Standard features that are optional on the 1.8 SL include a backup camera, which employs a small display in the dashboard, an...
For 2010, Nissan has added another trim level to the boxy Cube, the Krom (with a long O, pronounced "chrome"). The Cube is otherwise unchanged for 2010 (see them compared), and Kelsey Mays' 2009 Cube review details the lineup well. I'll concentrate on the new Krom.

In short, the Krom turns the affordable Cube into a more distinctive and definitively less affordable Cube, whose higher price I suspect will turn off many, many buyers. It also has a dorky name. Chrome with a K? It's no better than the Kia Forte Koup (coupe). Why do automakers do this?

At $20,440, the Krom adds a whopping $6,450 over the suggested retail price of the base Cube 1.8. Perhaps more relevant, it's $2,990 more expensive than the closest trim level, the 1.8 SL. Here's what it gets you: The bumpers are more prominent, adding almost an inch to the car's length, and the grilles are chrome. Sill extensions give the Krom a lowered look, and the 16-inch alloy wheels are specific to the trim level, being — you guessed it — chromed. (The SL also has 16-inch alloys, but they aren't chromed.) The Krom also has a spoiler atop its rear swing gate.

The interior has exclusive black and gray seat fabric, aluminum pedals and titanium-tone trim around the vents and gear selector. The Krom is also the only version to get steering-wheel stereo controls. Standard features that are optional on the 1.8 SL include a backup camera, which employs a small display in the dashboard, and keyless access.

The Krom is as much an enigma as the regular Cube, if not more so. I don't know if it's their styling that makes the Cube's boxy-car competitors more universally appealing, or the fact that the Scion xB has been around longer and has become old hat. See how the Cube, xB and Kia Soul fared in our Cars.comparison of 2009 models.

Comfort Levels
I remember finding our 2009 Cube 1.8 S' driver's seat rather uncomfortable. The 2010's seemed better, though it doesn't appear to be different, aside from the fabric. Another editor, who took the Krom on a longer trip, was unimpressed: What was soft on a short drive translated to unsupportive over the long haul. As before, front passengers wanted an inboard armrest; only the driver's seat has one.

The Cube has an edge over the xB and Soul in one comfort aspect: ride quality. It soaks up bumps well, which gives it another advantage on pockmarked city streets. Likewise, even though the Krom is almost an inch longer than other Cubes, it's 4 inches shorter than the Soul and roughly 10 inches shorter than the xB, which makes it good for small urban parking spaces. The turning diameter is 33.4 feet, tighter than the Soul and xB, both of which are more than 34 feet.

Boxy Dynamics
I have no reason to believe the Cube is unstable, and it has a standard electronic stability system, but it does feel more top-heavy than the other boxes — and definitely more so than conventional cars. It's also more susceptible to crosswinds, as I learned on a gusty day of highway driving.

The Cube is modestly powered, and our car's continuously variable automatic transmission cost us a little off-the-line acceleration compared with last year's six-speed manual. It also seemed slower than it actually was. Though Nissan's CVTs are among the best-executed on the market, they characteristically let the engine rev up to high rpm, often at unexpected times, which gives the impression of straining. In truth, it's just finding the most powerful and/or efficient combination of engine speed and gear ratio.

It pays off. The CVT is rated 27/31 mpg city/highway, and the manual gets an estimated 25/30 mpg. This beats the xB (22/28) and the Soul's smaller engine (26/31). Of the three, the Soul gives the most options, challenging the Cube with its smaller engine and the xB with its more powerful one (24/30).

A Cube With a View
The Cube is a few inches narrower than its boxy competitors, but it has plenty of headroom. Proving again that dimensions don't tell the whole story, the Cube's front seat could use a little more legroom for tall drivers, despite a slight advantage by the numbers alone. On the flipside, the backseat specs show a 2- to 3-inch legroom deficit, but sliding the seat back on its track gave me enough legroom, and the 60/40-split backrests have a generous amount of recline.

No matter where you sit, the tall windows and narrow pillars make for an open feeling and good visibility. The Krom's standard backup camera is a big plus.

In terms of cargo-carrying, the Cube has pros and cons. The pros include a maximum cargo volume of 58.1 cubic feet — which is larger than the Soul's (53.4 cubic feet) but smaller than the xB's (69.9 cubic feet). One of the cons is that its cargo volume behind the backseat is roughly half that of the other two models, at 11.4 cubic feet. A backseat that slides fore and aft definitely lends versatility, though. The final shortfall is a rear swing gate in lieu of a conventional liftgate. It requires more clearance behind the vehicle, so backing too close to a wall or a parked car can pose a problem.

For what it's worth, things could be worse. Historically, Japanese imports with swing gates have typically opened toward the curb, forcing you to load cargo from the street. The Cube's opens toward the street.

From Quirky to Bizarre
A Cube review wouldn't be complete without mention of its quirky and optionally bizarre features. The water-droplet ceiling and overall design are generally well-received, though the materials quality seldom impresses. (In fact, all three of the boxy cars mentioned seem a step behind the more traditional economy cars introduced recently.)

The strangest car feature of the millennium, though, must be the Cube's "shag dash topper," which is basically a 1-foot-diameter shag rug on top of your dash. "Topper" is another name for "toupee," and it fits. This tuft of '70s-era carpet might seem a good place to throw your cellular phone or sunglasses, were it not for the warning label underneath the piece that warns you not to do such a thing, as distraction or injury might occur. Because I live in the fast lane (ask anyone), I tried it anyway, and my stuff slid all over the place. The toupee doesn't even do well what you think it should.

That means the toupee is there solely for the look. It must seem quirky and fun in Japan, whereas in this country it serves solely to entertain car reviewers and inspire mockery. Not since Honda's "The Fit is Go!" ad campaign has a Japanese automaker presented such a generous gift. The topper is to car reviewers what former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is to comedians: Fish in a barrel. The side of a barn. A deer in the headlights.

Another conundrum is the shelf built into the dashboard in front of the passenger, which seems another good place to, uh, shelve items. Once again, the very bossy owner's manual warns against it. For what it's worth, owner's manuals are always full of warnings about loose items on dashboards and inaptly named "parcel shelves." Then again, it's one thing to warn people not to loiter in a rockslide area and quite another to do so after building a bench there.

Fortunately the topper feature is an option, and, as toupees often are, it's a bad one. In 2010, it's perfectly acceptable to shave your dashboard and go au naturel. People will respect you for it. If Nissan introduces an optional dashboard comb-over, we might have to revoke their import license.

Safety
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has designated the 2010 Nissan Cube a Top Safety Pick thanks to its top ratings of Good in all tests: frontal, side and rear impacts, and roof strength. Standard safety features include front, side and curtain airbags, plus antilock brakes with discs in front and drums in the rear. A stability system with traction control is also included.

Cube Krom in the Market
The Krom seems like a very expensive version of the Cube, and I wonder if it does enough to justify its higher price. Standard features that are optional on the next trim level down go for $1,600 there; that leaves $1,390 to cover what are mostly cosmetic changes. Nissan offers a slew of options in the form of dealer-installed accessories, including some things the Krom incorporates, such as a rear spoiler. My guess is that most aspiring Cubists would be happier getting a less-expensive trim level and decking it out to suit their taste. If they're desperate for a conversation piece, I suggest they forgo the $230 Interior Designer Package, which includes the shag dash topper, and throw a few bucks at a thrift-store wig instead. Save money on both the car and the hairpiece. I'm here to help.

Send Joe an email 



2010 Cube Video

Cars.com's Joe Wiesenfelder takes a look at the 2010 Nissan Cube Krom. It competes with the Scion xB and Kia Soul.

Latest 2010 Cube Stories

Consumer Reviews

Exterior Styling
(4.6)
Performance
(4.4)
Interior Design
(4.6)
Comfort
(4.7)
Reliability
(4.7)
Value For The Money
(4.8)

What Drivers Are Saying

(4.0)

Very reliable car

by Thomaslee2142 from Indianapolis on August 21, 2018

This car meets all my needs. It is reliable and a great gas saver! I would recommend this car to anyone looking for a dependable vehicle. Read full review

(5.0)

Great little spacious car

by Mrb0x on July 4, 2018

The cube gets it done! Love that it has great gas mileage and is roomy enough for the family or for road trips! Room is spacious and it's a great starter car! Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2010 Nissan Cube currently has 1 recall

IIHS Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2010 Nissan Cube 1.8

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
good
Overall Rear
good
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Other

Roof Strength
good

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
good
Driver Torso
good
Overall Side
good
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
acceptable
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
acceptable
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Manufacturer Warranty

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    36 months / 36,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    60 months / 60,000 miles

CPO Program & Warranty

Certified Pre-Owned by Nissan

Program Benefits

24 Hour Emergency Roadside Assistance, Towing Assistance, Trip Interruption Benefits, 3-month free subscription to SiriusXM Satellite Radio on properly equipped vehicles, Complimentary CARFAX® Vehicle History Report™ and 3-Year CARFAX® Buy Back Guarantee

  • Limited Warranty

    7 years / 100,000 miles

    7-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty from original in-service date; $50 deductible
  • Eligibility

    Under 6 years / 80,000 miles

    Vehicles receive a 167 point inspection and reconditioning.

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Cube received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker