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2012 Nissan Cube 1.8 S

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On the Road
2012 Nissan Cube 1.8 S

2012 Nissan Cube Engine.

Photo © Nissan

The Cube doesn't disappoint when it comes time to drive. My test vehicle came with a 1.8-liter inline 4-cylinder engine hooked up to a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) with front-wheel drive. Base and S models come with a six-speed manual transmission as standard equipment, while SL gets the CVT automatically. With just 122 hp and 127 lb-ft of torque on tap, the Cube is no barn burner, but it doesn't feel sluggish, either. That's probably thanks to a very light curb weight of 2,831.

The Cube's cube-like shape isn't particularly slippery in the wind, with a coefficient of drag of 0.35 -- comparable to a full-size pickup truck. This only becomes apparent at freeway speeds, when the Cube can get blown about a bit. Driving around town, Cube is stable and maneuverable, with quick steering and a well-damped suspension. I was pleasantly surprised with how quiet and serene the Cube's cabin was during everyday driving. Conversations between driver and rear-seat passengers were easy, with no need to raise our voices to be heard above the road noise. I was a little disappointed when I discovered that the Cube is equipped with drum brakes in the rear, though I didn't experience any difficulty with the stoppers. It's just that drum brakes are not as effective as disc brakes, and even at this price point, discs all around should be a given.

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