Nissan Cube review 2022

The Nissan Cube is a funky small car sold in the 2000s, but officially imported to Britain in 2010

£5,648
Average price
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1
Out of 5

Pros

  • Fun, distinctive styling
  • Pleasant to drive
  • Spacious interior

Cons

  • Wide-opening boot door isn’t very useful
  • Plenty of wind noise
  • Hard to find for sale
  • MPG

    0 - 0

  • CO2

    0 - 0 g/km

Model review

Nissan’s range of cars these days predominantly focuses around functional – if not particularly exciting – models, including the Juke and Qashqai crossovers, as well as the Micra hatchback and Leaf EV. 

But Nissan has produced some very funky cars over the years, not least the particularly colourful Cube. Originally launching in 1998 as a Micra-based model, it was the second-generation Cube in 2002 that really hit the jackpot.

Purely sold in Japan, where it proved to be a huge success with more than a million sold, this model was roomier, more powerful and more Cube-like than its predecessor, with a particularly unique design that makes this Nissan look like nothing else on the road. 

Through its extensive exposure – it even appeared on in-period Top Gear episodes – the Cube became a hit around the world, with many examples even being imported over to the UK, just so that British drivers could get their hands on one.

Latest model

But with the reveal of the third-generation Cube in 2008, Nissan announced the Cube would finally be officially sold outside of Japan, with the first UK cars arriving in late 2009. 

Retaining the same funky asymmetrical and wraparound design, the side-hinged rear door remained too, though the rest of the Cube got a more modern design inside and out. 

Launched with limited trim options and a single petrol engine, Nissan originally said that a diesel engine would join the range, but slow sales in Britain meant it was never officially launched here. 

However, the Cube’s days here in the UK were numbered, with Nissan announcing in early 2011 – just a year after its launch – that it would stop importing examples due to the poor exchange rate between the Japanese Yen and British Pound. Production and sales of the Cube would continue in other markets until 2019, though. 

But back in the UK, Nissan decided to put its efforts into the Juke and Leaf, both of which were brand-new at the time. 

Value for money

At its launch in 2010, UK price for the Cube started from £14,000 and rose to £16,300 for a top-spec automatic model, which was quite a lot of money at the time, particularly when compared to superminis. 

As the Cube hasn’t been sold here for more than a decade, models have likely depreciated as low as they’ll go, and though it does make this Nissan an affordable used buy, its cult status has helped to keep prices healthy. The majority of examples you’ll see for sale will be imported cars (though this isn’t much of an issue providing they’ve already been UK registered, as Japan also drives on the same side of the road), and versions start from around £2,000 for a high-mileage car. 

If you’d like a UK car, prices start from around £3,000 for an example with over 100,000 miles on the clock, with lower-mileage examples worth double that. We spotted a 2010 car with 50,000 miles listed for £6,500. 

Looks and image

Without doubt the thing that will attract you to the Cube is the way it looks. Few cars manage to live up to their name quite so much as this Nissan, with its boxy design giving it impressive street cred. Though it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, it’s hard to dispute that it doesn’t stand out. The fact its design is asymmetrical is another oddity, as on the passenger side of the car the rear glass wraps around the back end of the car, adding to the funky look. 

All versions sold in the UK also come with quirky cross-shaped alloy wheels. It’s worth noting the Cube’s deceivingly small size – at less than four metres long, it’s actually smaller in size than a new Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa. 

Inside, the Cube’s design isn’t quite so bold as the outside, though with a wave-effect dashboard and curved seats, there are still plenty of neat touches. The quality is also decent throughout, while top-spec Kaizen versions get a more modern satellite navigation system. All versions get plenty of equipment, too, such as all-round electric windows, a stunning glass roof and air conditioning. 

The Cube is also pleasant to drive, and excels with its easy going nature, with good visibility and light steering making it excellent around town. It’s not the most accomplished at higher speeds, though, with its engine feeling strained and it’s also vulnerable to crosswinds too. 

Space and practicality

At less than four metres long, the Cube is smaller than many superminis, and in that respect, offers a decent amount of space. With its high roof and wide-opening rear doors, it’s very easy to access, while there’s a decent amount of room in the back too. 

The side-hinged boot door that opens outwards rather than upwards isn’t the most practical, while at 288 litres, the boot doesn’t offer as much room as you might expect, either. 

Engines

Nissan offered the Cube with just one engine when it was officially sold in the UK – a 1.6-litre petrol engine producing 110bhp. There’s two gearbox choices though, a five-speed manual or CVT automatic. 

With the manual, 0-60mph can be dispatched in 11.1 seconds, with the CVT taking longer at 12.2 seconds.  

Running costs

With just a single petrol engine option in the UK, it means that it is quite thirsty when it comes to fuel. Nissan claims 42.8mpg and 151g/km CO2 emissions, which aren’t very impressive for a car this small, although the boxy shape doesn’t help things. 

It’s also placed in insurance group 15 (out of 50), while annual road tax will set you back around £220. 

Things to look out for

Though the Nissan Cube might have sold in small numbers in the UK, much of it underneath the surface is shared with other Nissan products, which generally have a good reliability reputation. 

It’s worth making sure everything works properly and there’s no major damage, as the Cube’s unique design can make some parts quite hard to come by. 

Rivals

The Cube is a car that’s quite hard to pigeonhole, but some slightly oddball rivals to consider include the Daihatsu Materia and Nissan Juke. If you’re wanting something small and practical, models like the Honda Jazz, Renault Modus and Vauxhall Meriva could be worth considering.

Depreciation

As we’ve mentioned, the Cube hasn’t officially been sold by Nissan since 2011, meaning many used examples are unlikely to depreciate that much further. Well-kept, low-mile examples may even earn ‘future classic’ status in the years to come. 

Trims explained

Three trim levels were offered on officially imported Cubes – the regular car, the Kaizen and an LDN special edition. Equipment highlights and pricing are as follows.

Cube –

All Cube models come with plenty of standard equipment, including Bluetooth, cruise control, a glass roof and rear privacy glass. Fifteen-inch alloy wheels are also fitted, along with electric front windows, a CD player, air conditioning rear electric windows and remote locking.

From £3,500 (used)

Kaizen –

In addition to the standard car, the Kaizen brings a Nissan Connect audio and satellite navigation system, along with a rear parking camera, parking sensors and full climate control.

From £3,500 (used)

LDN –

Limited to just 100 units in the UK, the LDN was the original launch edition, and comes painted in a unique Bitter Chocolate colour, while also coming with matching velour interior trim. Other features include climate control and automatic lights and wipers.

From £4,000 (used)

Summary

  1. Funky small MPV officially sold in the UK in 2010…
  2. But plenty of models were imported from Japan before and after that
  3. Cool and quirky styling
  4. Relatively practical interior
  5. Well-equipped
  6. Easy to drive
  7. Rare to find on the used market
  8. Only one thirsty petrol engine offered
  9. Small dimensions
  10. An interesting alternative to a regular small car

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