Review: Nissan Cube (Loaner)

Since March 22nd, my family's been tooling around in a Nissan Cube.

Let's be honest: We hate it. We miss our Honda Odyssey and look forward to its return. Heck, this thing makes me yearn for the consistent handling, quiet competence of my 10 year old Toyota Camry.

Yep. This brick is Hello Kitty with wheels, and yikes has it overstayed its welcome.

For those who don't know, a Nissan Cube is a Nissan Versa with a different body. A Nissan Versa is the smallest Nissan automobile sold in America, featuring a coarse 122 hp 1.8L engine and a Continuously Variable Transmission. Pic of the versa:

Beauty is subjective, but I'd say ugly is obvious. How these TWO rolling monstrosities made it past clay models is beyond me. Anywho...

So, what you have with the Cube is a box-it-came-in car, with amazing interior space. Let me describe what it's like to drive this car: Imagine driving your patio deck around with an underpowered engine and Satan's own transmission. Truly, the interior of the car is laid out as if they began with a completely flat floor, added "chairs" (not seats), and then welded sides and a roof on it.

And the driving...hoo boy. It's beyond me how Nissan managed to make a tiny car drive like a 2/5ths scale Chevy Tahoe: Numb steering, incredibly stiff suspension (think Z71 offroad Tahoe), and complete indifference to direction changes combine to make driving this thing incredibly tiring. I just got back from taking my son to Shelbyville (85 mile roundtrip) and found myself utterly exhausted. Once again, my decade-old Camry seems like a 7-series BMW compared to this thing.

To be fair, it has some virtues:
  • Lots of cupholders
  • Amazing headroom
  • Fits both large and small drivers
  • Returned double the mileage of our van on the "deliver children" test loop around the greater Georgetown metro area (27mpg)
  • Good sound system
  • Eyecatching, in a way that compels strangers to approach, ogle, and see if you're feeling alright. (Thankfully, when I repeat by rote, 'It's a rental', they seem relieved.)
Truly awful little contraption.

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