2009 Nissan Cube Preview

Jeff Youngs | Dec 31, 2008
FAST FACTS
  • All-new model for 2009
  • Unique asymmetrical styling
  • Five-passenger seating
  • 122-hp, 4-cylinder powerplant
  • Front-wheel drive
  • Three different models
  • Full range of dealer accessories for customization
  • On sale in spring of 2009

Introduction

The Nissan Cube is an all-new mini MPV entering the same growing segment populated with the Scion xB, Honda Element, and the upcoming . With seating for up to 5 passengers, the Cube is readily identified by its unique asymmetrical styling-the rear window wraps around the passenger side of the vehicle while the driver's side has a traditional thick painted D-pillar. The styling is focused on the functional, as Nissan utilizes the visible pillar to hide the mechanicals of the standard swing-out rear tailgate. The Cube is expected to go on sale in spring of 2009.

Design

Designed to be utilitarian and practical, the interior of the Cube is roomy with dual front seats and a 3-position sliding and reclining theater-style rear seat. The styling of the interior mirrors the uniqueness of the exterior. Inside, passengers will find asymmetrical gauges, "water drop" interior accents, and detachable multi-hooks for storage.

The interior of the Cube is available in two color environments with cloth upholstery: Wall Gray or Graphite. The Wall Gray interior includes a suede-like fabric with special stitching designed to create a "relaxing contrast between the warm, light gray upholstery and warm off-black interior accents," according to Nissan. The Graphite interior is available with two cloth grades. It was designed to "provide a combination of relation and more traditional �driving enjoyment' attitude," says the automaker.

Model Lineup

Nissan offers three models of the 2009 Cube: base Cube, Cube S and Cube SL. All three models share an identical engine, drivetrain and chassis. The differences are found in the standard equipment levels with the Cube SL sitting at the top of the model range.

Standard features on all Cube models include power windows, power door locks, remote keyless entry, variable intermittent windshield wipers, rear window defroster with a timer, and 12-volt power outlets. Available options include the Nissan Intelligent Key system with push-button ignition, Bluetooth hands-free phone system, Rockford Fosgate subwoofer with 6-speaker audio system, XM satellite radio, iPod interface, and a rear sonar backup system.

More important than the factory options, many Cube buyers will embrace the full range of dealer accessories that allows Cube owners to customize their vehicles with illumination kits (20 different color choices), kick plates, rear cargo organizer, pet blankets, wheels, aero kits, and more.

Hardware

Mounted under the front hood of the 2009 Nissan Cube is a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine. It is rated at 122 hp and 127 lb.-ft. of torque. There are two transmission choices for the front-wheel-drive Cube: manual or automatic. The manual transmission is a 6-speed unit with a new shift control system and triple-cone synchronizers for smooth shifting. It is available on the Cube and Cube S models. The second transmission is Nissan's familiar Xtronic CVT. Now in its second generation, the continuously variable transmission (CVT) has been tuned for good acceleration response, smooth operation and efficiency. The CVT transmission is available on all 2009 Nissan Cube models.

The Cube's suspension is independent strut with coil springs in the front, and a torsion bar rear axle. Power steering is standard, with electronic vehicle-speed-sensing assist. All models have front disc, rear drum brakes with ABS, electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), and brake assist (BA) as standard. The stock wheels are 15-inch steel with all-season tires.

Safety

The new 2009 Cube features Nissan's Advanced Air Bag System (AABS) with driver and front passenger front air bags and seat-mounted driver and front-passenger side-impact air bags. In addition, there are also roof-mounted side curtain air bags for front- and rear-seat passenger protection. The front seats both feature active head restraints. A tire-pressure-monitoring system, stability control, and traction control are all standard features across the model range.

Technology

The continuously variable transmission (CVT) on the 2009 Cube is an updated version of Nissan's unique Xtronic CVT with Adaptive Shift Control (ASC). Compared to a standard automatic transmission with a predetermined fixed number of gears and ratios, a CVT offers a nearly seamless number of possible gear ratios, which according to Nissan allows the engine to run more efficiently and offers more power under varied driving conditions. CVT transmissions also eliminate much of the "hunting" found with traditional transmissions, Nissan says, as they operate through acceleration and braking cycles. Nissan has been using CVT transmissions in production models since 1992.
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