My Little I.C.E. Cube

Once in awhile, a person has to take a deep look at themselves and realize when they’ve made mistakes. When we were younger, it might have been realizing how mean it is not to share toys with a sibling. When we’re older, it’s things like choosing the wrong major in college, or taking the wrong job. For me, I recently realized that I’ve been searching far and wide for the perfect car in the EV space, when the one true vehicle for me has been staring me in the face since 2009 –the Nissan Cube.

The last thing a Challenger sees before it gets taken to Gapplebees.

I recently had the opportunity to drive a Cube, and boy oh boy, have I been blind until now! Who needs electric motors when you can have 122hp of unbridled fury from a 1.8-liter pure fossil fuel powerhouse? Free of heavy battery packs, excessively torquey electric drive units, and intrusive features like autosteer and collision avoidance systems, the Cube is the ultimate in unadulterated motoring pleasure. A true driver’s car if ever there were one.

EVs have nothing on 1800 angry hamsters.

Putting my foot down in the Cube, the engine roared to life with a throaty growl of pure power. I was thrown back in the seat, barely able to keep the steering wheel straight, as the front wheels pulled the Cube to 60 faster than I thought possible. Not even the Model S Plaid holds a candle to this, and I have 100% confidence the Cube could gap anything else out there. In fact, I had the pleasure of embarrassing several Mustang Hellcats and Shelby Camaros. It was like they weren’t even trying to race, left in the dust and a nice view of the Cube’s side-opening rear hatch.

This bad boy can hold so many Mustang owner tears.

Power is put to the ground via the legendary Jatco JF009E continuously variable transmission. No pesky gears in this piece of fine Japanese engineering! The engine can run at optimal speed for power at all times thanks to the transmission’s buttery smooth, finely adjusting gear ratio system, driven by a sturdy chain that’s good for every single one of those 122 horses. You’ll hear a lot of negative anecdotes from people who drink copious amounts of Haterade, accusing Nissan of shipping the Cube with unreliable or even defective transmissions. Effectively, this couldn’t be farther from the truth! Nissan has demonstrated a willingness to extend existing warranties on some CVT-equipped vehicles like the Cube. Cube owners only have to start worrying themselves sick after 10 years/120,000 miles. So for the low price of a Nissan Cube, owners gain access to limited-liability all-you-can-eat Jatco JF009E transmission assemblies! I can hardly think of a better deal than this, other than Hyundai/Kia’s famous limited-liability all-you-can-eat Theta II long blocks.

Nissan, probably.

The inside of the Cube is every bit as good as its underpinnings. Ample storage space allows it to seat 5 people and everything they could ever want to bring with them for a months-long stay in the boonies. The infotainment system is the perfect blend of simplicity and limitation, keeping the driver’s eyes where they should be: on the road. Circular adornments are peppered throughout the interior, balancing out the Cube’s cube with a healthy dose of anti- cube. Let it never be said that the Cube is square, because it’s decidedly not.

Nary a square in sight as long as only look inside the car.

No 4WD? No problem! The Cube’s front wheel drive system did a top notch job of keeping 100% traction until it met steep, slippery terrain that the Cube just seemed to know was not fit for us to travel across. We had ignored the warnings, after all, when our luggage brought the Cube to its bumpstops.

It can hold as much luggage as you like, as long as your luggage is Jatco JF009E CVTs.

We pressed on like the fools we would be remembered as had the Cube not stopped us like a watchful automotive presence. Complicated 4WD systems are merely tools to enable humans to go too far, so in a way, the Cube is a guardian none of us expect, but all of us deserve. With the turning radius of a Traxxas Rustler, the Cube had no issues turning back without having to throw it into reverse.

It easily climbed this mountain (of Jatco JF009E CVTs).

The Cube’s exterior styling is second to none, as the wannabe racecars that saw it’s backside found out. It’s freezer-shaped main cabin is optimized for efficiency, out-performing even the most environmentally friendly electrics in miles-per-kWh hands-down. It can even be re-upped at any fuel station that sells regular gasoline, so you know it’ll handle your longest road trips with relative ease. No range anxiety here – just open roads ahead, as much power as any sane person needs, and a bundle of cargo room. The Cube will surely be my next purchase, and I can’t wait.

Special thanks to Ron McAdams for providing access to a personal vehicle for this article.

2 thoughts on “My Little I.C.E. Cube”

  1. This article is the ultimate proof that EVTV is sadly dead, despite some efforts since Jack’s departure.

    This is the biggest OFF-TOPIC. Sir Jack Rickard used to post *some* NON-EV related stuff, in a funny and elegant way, but he never did something like this. He would never have allowed any ICE vehicle been advertised in his website.

    What’s next? The New Gen GM Hummer review?

    If Jack were among us, in his straight style, after reading this article, he must have said: “Allan de Yong, you are fired from EVTV. Hasta la vista, baby”.

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