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Nissan Cube Estate engines, drive and performance

2010 - 2010 (change model)
Performance rating: 4 out of 54.0

Written by Simon Harris Published: 6 June 2019 Updated: 10 October 2023

The Cube is offered with just one engine: a 110bhp 1.6-litre petrol with the option of either a five-speed manual or a CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) automatic. Later on a more frugal manual-only 1.5-litre diesel will join the range. The existing 1.6-litre, meanwhile, offers only average levels of performance, hauling the small Nissan to 62mph in 11.3 seconds.

The CVT is slower still, taking another 1.1 seconds longer to reach the performance benchmark. In town the 1.6 feels well up to the task, even when mated to the CVT auto. On the motorway, an area where you would expect a small car to struggle, the Cube’s engine copes admirably, particularly the CVT models that allow high-speed cruising at low revs.

The Cube has been designed for comfort rather than high-speed agility, so it’s very light and easy to drive around town and, thanks to suspension tweaked for European tastes, isn’t a disaster when you venture out in the country. That said, choose a Mini or even a Kia Soul if your main priority handling. The Cube isn’t bad, demonstrating some agility, but is simply outclassed by both the Mini and Kia for both finesse and fun.

The slab-sided Cube is also vulnerable to crosswinds.