5.12.2010

Nissan Cube SL Review




It's been nine months since our last drive in a Nissan Cube...and we've learned one thing. With this vehicle, a lot depends on how you equip it.

Last time around, it was a very sparsely equipped base model. This time around, Nissan sent the SL ($17,130), which gets you interior upgrades, a nice AM/FM/CD/mp3 audio system with 8 speakers, Bluetooth and premium grade seat fabric. Makes a huge difference.



                        

And Nissan went even further...the SL Preferred Package ($1800) brought Nissan Intelligent Key, a pushbutton ignition, a further upgrade to the audio system with a color display and USB connectivity, six upgraded speakers with a Rockford Fosgate woofer, XM satellite radio, a rearview camera, and fog lights.

The Ginormous Package (really...$2500) added an Aero kit, 20-color interior accent lighting, illuminated stainless steel kick plates, a custom grille, hood molding accent, chrome front fascia accent, cargo area protector and an 8-piece interior trim applique set that goes around the HVAC vents other spots on the dash with a faux carbon fiber look.

And, for $250, the Interior Designer Package gets the carpeted floormats, carpeted cargo area mat, shag dash topper and front door bungees (for securing plush traveling companions, don't you know).

Oh, yeah...and $100 for a vehicle alarm impact sensor.

That and destination charges get you to $22,330. Which is a lot of money for a car that competes primarily in the $15-18K segment with the Kia Soul and Scion xB.  But it was very, very likeable. To the point that both my wife and daughter were talking about how they'd be perfectly fine with one of these (hint, hint).

I will say that it is enormously comfortable (aided by the better fabrics), far roomier and more cargo-capable than you'd expect, and peppier (there is no better word) than the continuously variable transmission mated to an engine with a 122 horsepower rating would have you believe. But the value equation at 22 and change is a hard sell...at least to me.

EPA estimates: 27 city/31 highway.



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