(from Nissan press
release) 2009 NISSAN CUBE SET FOR SPRING U.S. DEBUT; NEW
ENTRY-LEVEL COMPACT COMBINES FASHION WITH FUNCTIONALITY
– Small But Substantial,
Spirited But Economical, All-New Third Generation Cube’s
Asymmetrical Design and Lounge-Style Interior Provide Unexpected
Charm and Utility –
Huey Lewis once sang
“It’s hip to be square.” Few believed him. Mathletes wax poetic
about the superior geometric efficiencies of a cube in terms of
volume v. surface area. And get little respect. Cavemen discovered
that a round stone rolls better than a square one. And, as a
consequence, gave birth to the traffic jam. In 1998, Nissan
introduced the original Cube, an aptly named box-on-wheels, to minor
consumer interest. Perhaps, like homo erectus, the Cube was simply
ahead of its time.
But times change, and so did the Cube. In 2002, an all-new second
generation Nissan Cube was introduced in the Japanese market. More
spacious inside, more glass outside, more power under the hood and,
more importantly, a few more angles and curved surface details added
to its compact, slab-sided exterior. Quintessentially Japanese, this
new Cube took Tokyo by storm. A pocket-sized fun-and-function
cocktail mixing the charm of Godzilla and the wit of Mothra, buyers
were smitten. And so, it turns out, Huey was right after all.
Like the Nissan GT-R before it, the Nissan Cube soon found an
audience outside of Japan – not in person, but through its exposure
in fashion and automotive magazines, videos and on the Web.
Reboot to today, more than 10 years since its original appearance,
and the Nissan Cube is ready to meet the world in person, coming to
America in spring 2009 in an all-new, dramatically rethought third
generation design that is clever, quirky, witty, fun and uniquely
functional. And still totally square.
More than just unique geometry, however, the new 2009 Nissan Cube is
also conceived as a totally different take on an automobile – a car
that doesn’t want to be defined as car. “With its unique blend of
fashion and function, Cube imagines a life less ordinary,” said Al
Castignetti, vice president, Sales, Nissan Division, Nissan North
America, Inc. (NNA). “Cube is as much of a Mobile Device as it is an
automobile, something that enhances life like people’s digital
devices do. Cube is a vehicle that people of all ages can fall in
love with, even when they don’t love cars.”
Evocative Yet Rational
Though its uniquely
styled, asymmetrical body makes a standout statement against the
backdrop of today’s look-alike entry-level vehicles, Cube presents a
range of strong rational arguments for purchase as well.
Along with its projected fuel economy of over 30 mph Highway
(equipped with the CVT transmission, actual EPA estimates not
available at this time), Cube offers an alphabet of standard safety
equipment – including an Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) with
Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist (BA),
Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC), Traction Control System (TCS), Tire
Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), six air bags (including front,
side and curtain supplemental air bags) and front seat Active Head
“The new Nissan Cube is not, by any measure, a pure ‘youth car,’
though it especially meets the needs of young adults’ lives in the
sense that it is social, expressive and practical,” said Castignetti.
“And like many entry-level vehicles, Cube will be purchased by young
consumers with the help or influence of their parents. We believe
the combination of value, fuel economy and safety will be especially
reassuring to parents involved in such decisions.”
A “Bulldog in Sunglasses”
The all-new 2009 Nissan
Cube builds on the previous generation Cube’s non-traditional design
with an improved stance and an added sense of dynamic movement. With
Cube’s long wheelbase relative to its overall length (a 99.6-inch
wheelbase against a 156.7-inch overall length) and wide track, the
wheels, in effect, are pushed out to each corner – providing
exceptional space utilization and a confident-looking stance that
has been compared to a “bulldog in sunglasses.”
“The designers, engineers and planners’ effort and passion in
creating the next generation Cube was unheard of – perhaps only
exceeded in recent memory by that of the Nissan GT-R development
team,” said Castignetti. “They were constantly drawing, cartooning,
adding thoughts and ideas, which is how the image of the bulldog
emerged and evolved. This was not a traditional development
Along with its stance, the “incognito canine” look is aided by the
wide headlights and grille treatment, the small but substantial body
proportions and the short “tail” section. In the rear, the bar-type
taillights reinforce the wide, anchored feel. The Cube’s creators
also sought to maintain a sense of “pure design,” reducing the
number of character lines to give simplicity and freshness to the
Another unique aspect of the Cube’s exterior is the greenhouse. The
A-pillars are positioned far outward and relatively upright, giving
a wider range of forward visibility. The front door windows utilize
a “photo frame” design patterned after a personal photo frame, while
the asymmetrical wraparound side/rear window creates enhanced rear
diagonal visibility for lane changes and reverse parking.
“The ‘geometric circle shape in the square’ rear window is Cube’s
signature,” said Castignetti. “Though there are D-pillars on both
sides of the Cube, the visual effect of the narrower passenger-side
pillar is quite remarkable in the overall appearance, a look aided
by the asymmetrical back door.”
Unlike typical top-hinged or clamshell-style utility rear doors,
Cube features an easy-access refrigerator-style opening, which makes
it possible to open or close it even if parked tight against other
cars in parallel parking spaces or when backed in against a wall or
The back door opens fully when space allows for loading groceries,
luggage or large-sized objects – or to a limited-access position
(about eight inches) when space is restricted for retrieving or
loading a backpack or other small objects. The one-hand door handle
operation is designed for easy use, even while carrying things in
the other hand or arm.
The 2009 Nissan Cube is available in eight mild-to-wild exterior
colors: Chrome Silver, Steel Grey, Bitter Chocolate, Scarlet Red,
Caribbean Blue, Moss Green, Super Black and White Pearl.
A “Casual Lounge” Interior
The centerpiece of the
new Cube’s universal appeal is its “social space” – the surprisingly
roomy interior that offers room for five in a lounge-like comfort.
“Cube is not wasteful in terms of its footprint, carbon or physical.
It creates a third space, in addition to home and school, for
interacting with friends. It’s a space that is highly changeable and
adaptable to owners evolving lives, with plenty of room for
personalization,” said Castignetti.
Cube’s clever, inspired and surprisingly open occupant space was
conceived with a “Jacuzzi Curve” layout and “floating meter pod”
driver’s area. It combines “casual lounge”-style passenger seating
with a relaxed driving experience. The interactive interior is
anchored by its curve-themed architecture, such as the subtle wavy
shaping of the instrument panel, door panels, seat shapes, armrests
and the iconic circular/oval shapes of elements ranging from air
conditioning vents, door pulls and climate controls.
The comfortable Cube seating includes 6-way manual driver’s seat and
4-way manual front passenger’s seat, along with a “lounge sofa”
style sliding rear bench seat.
The reclining rear seat can be adjusted to three positions – full
rearward (providing ample legroom), mid-position (3.9 inches
forward) or front position (6.0 inches forward). The rear seat also
is positioned higher than the front seats, theater style, enhancing
rear passenger comfort and visibility.
“In some ways, the Cube is like the big cardboard appliance boxes
you used to play in as a kid – they could be clubhouses, race cars,
forts, whatever your mood and imagination wanted at the time,” said
Castignetti. “The new Cube’s interior leaves room for imagination
and personalization, yet also starts with a solid functional
Stress-Free Driving, Room For
driving experience is the result of a number of factors: an
extremely tight 32.8-foot curb-to-curb turning radius, a tall
seating position made possible by the tall body height, an extremely
short hood “invisible length” (the area of the hood panel that the
driver is unable to see) and the good rear visibility for parking
and backing up.
“Our studies show that one of the most stressful aspects for young
or inexperienced drivers is parking, particularly parallel parking,”
said Castignetti. “Cube is extremely adaptable to parking
environments in terms of its compact exterior dimensions, good
visibility and easy steering.”
Other interior features include the “floating pod” instrument panel
with asymmetrical light blue and white gauges, which are designed to
make it easier to distinguish between the speedometer and the
tachometer. The gauge needles “sweep” when the engine is started to
add a sense of flair, while the gradation effect gives a natural
ambience similar to the glow of the white moon and the blue earth.
Sub-gauges are concentrated for enhanced visibility. The three-spoke
steering wheel is available with leather wrapping and steering
wheel-mounted audio controls.
Convenient storage spaces and cup/bottle holders are abundant
throughout the Cube interior – including six cupholders (instrument
panel, front center console and rear armrests) and five bottle
holders (door panels and center console). There are also detachable
multi-hooks for holding bags or hats, which can be moved from place
to place – including the instrument panel and rear passenger doors.
The “shelf expression” concept features two “shelves” located on top
center and passenger side of the instrument panel. Not designed for
holding objects when the Cube is in motion, they provide convenient
spaces for placing keys, cell phones or digital music players when
the vehicle is parked. The shelves can be personalized with
accessory wood-like trim or shag carpeting. Cube’s “Magic Rubber
Bands,” another clever Cube accessory item, are colorful rubber
straps (red, yellow, orange or silver) that slip into cutouts on the
door armrests to secure items such as maps, nametags, photos, towels
or small stuffed animals.
“The interior concept is really about the Cube conforming to the
users’ needs, rather than the other way around – you can put your
favorite items anywhere you want, not where the vehicle tells you
to,” said Castignetti. “The designers demanded that every aspect of
the Cube interior be delightful, as well as functional.”
The Cube interior design also incorporates a series of subtle “Water
Drop” concentric circles, inspired by nature and the calming way
that ripples move outward from a drop in water. The circles can be
seen in items ranging from the roof headliner to the cupholders to
the climate control design.
A Wide Range of Available Features
Cube’s heating and
cooling system provides quiet, efficient operation with easy to
recognize and use knobs and switches. Other standard equipment
offered on the 2009 Nissan Cube includes power windows with driver’s
side one-touch auto down feature, Remote Keyless Entry system, power
door locks with auto-locking feature, variable intermittent
windshield wipers and intermittent rear window wiper, rear window
defroster with timer, cargo area courtesy light and hooks, 12-volt
power outlet and adjustable front seat belt upper anchors.
Available Cube technology features include Nissan Intelligent KeyÔ
with Push Button Ignition, Bluetooth® Hands-free Phone System,
Rockford Fosgate subwoofer with six speakers, XM® Satellite Radio (XM®
subscription required, sold separately), Interface System for iPod®
and a rear sonar system.
The Cube interior is offered in two color environments, Wall Gray
and Graphite. Wall Gray, available in a quilted suede-like fabric
with special “natural wave” stitching only, is designed to create a
relaxing contrast between the warm, light gray upholstery and warm
off-black interior accents. The warm off-black Graphite interior,
available in two cloth grades, provides a combination of relaxation
and more traditional “driving enjoyment” attitude.
“The Cube interior is a great example of how an inexpensive, high
value vehicle can be done well – quality design, quality materials
and the features and equipment that the user needs with room for
personalization, rather than forced customization,” said Castignetti.
Unexpected Power and Driving Ease
Just as Cube has its own
unique take on styling and interior design, the engineering team
took a fresh approach to performance – creating a vehicle that is
easy to drive and easy to handle in traffic.
The emphasis for Cube’s performance credentials is squarely on
fun-to-drive, rather than exhilaration. Cube combines an advanced
122-horsepower 1.8-liter DOHC inline 4-cylinder with a
new-generation Nissan Xtronic CVTÔ (Continuously Variable
Transmission) for good acceleration response, smooth operation and
fuel efficiency. Torque is rated at 127 lb-ft.
The MR18DE engine, also utilized in the popular Nissan Versa, is
designed to be powerful and responsive, while also delivering
excellent fuel economy. Fuel economy is projected to be over 30
miles per gallon Highway with the CVT transmission (actual EPA fuel
economy unavailable at this time).
The Xtronic CVT, unlike conventional stepped gear automatics,
operates as essentially “one gear” through use of a belt and two
pulleys. By infinitely varying the working diameters of the two
pulleys, the transmission eliminates the “steps” between gears,
resulting in a smoother, more efficient operation by keeping the
engine in its optimum power range under a variety of driving and
Cube’s new generation CVT adopts a new CVT oil warmer for enhanced
warm-up performance in cold conditions (reducing friction). It also
includes an advanced Adaptive Shift Control (ASC), which detects the
driving situation and style (economy, normal, sports) and
communicates with the engine control – helping optimize both fuel
economy and driving pleasure.
The 2009 Cube is also offered with a 6-speed manual transmission
with a new shift control system, triple cone synchronizers (1st and
2nd gear) and reverse synchronizer system. The 6-speed manual is
available with Cube 1.8 and Cube 1.8 S models.
“The Cube has a strong power-to-weight ratio, which combined with
the advanced CVT, gives it a surprisingly spirited driving feel.
Throw in the small turning radius, good outward visibility and the
smooth suspension feel and you have the perfect formula for
navigating through traffic with confidence and ease,” said
Cube’s suspension combines an independent MacPherson strut front
design with stabilizer bar with a torsion beam rear with integrated
stabilizer bar. Its comfortable, flat ride is a result, in part, of
the “Ripple Control” shock absorbers and the high body stiffness.
Other standard equipment includes vehicle-speed-sensitive electric
power-assisted steering, power-assisted front disc/rear drum brakes
and 15-inch wheels with P195/60R15 tires.
Cube’s long list of standard safety features includes the Nissan
Advanced Air Bag System (AABS), seat-mounted driver and
front-passenger side-impact supplemental air bags, and roof-mounted
curtain side-impact supplemental air bags for front and rear-seat
outboard occupant head protection.
Cube also offers standard front-seat Active Head Restraints, Tire
Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) and Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC)
with Traction Control System (TCS), along with an Anti-lock Braking
System (ABS), Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD) and Brake
Three Well-Equipped Models
The 2009 Nissan Cube is
offered in three well-equipped models: Cube 1.8, Cube 1.8 S and Cube
A full range of dealer accessories allows buyers to expand their
Cube world with items such as an illumination kit with 20 selectable
colors, illuminated kick plates, rear cargo organizer, pet blankets,
wheels, aero kits and more.
“We know that self-expression is important to many potential Cube
buyers, so we’ve provided the room and accessorize to help with
personalization,” said Castignetti. “However, Cube is far from a
blank or empty canvas that buyers must equip on their own. Cube is a
different kind of box than other vehicles on the market, with an
abundance of personality right off the assembly line.”
functional and adaptable, the 2009 Nissan Cube offers an unmatched
sense of ‘smart simplicity.’ It builds on a Cube DNA of distinctive
spirit and non-automotive style, and adds an enhanced level of
humanistic charm and clever design,” said Castignetti. “If cars
could talk, Cube would be likely to say, ‘Nice to meet you.’ Come
this spring, America gets its chance.”