Since 1998, Nissan Motors has been producing the Nissan Cube, a mini multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) in Japan. Nissan also exports its Nissan Cube in exports markets like Europe and North America.
First Generation (1998-2002)
The first generation Cube designated Z10 was launched in 1998 by Nissan Motors. The Cube shared its platform and 1.3-L engine with the Nissan Mirca commonly known as the March in Japan and Southeast Asia. The Cube was placed between the Nissan March and the Nissan Sunny in the Nissan entire range of vehicles. The first generation Cube was available with an optional CVT gearbox and four-wheel drive. Although, the first generation Cube was available only in Japan, it was privately exported to Hong Kong, Australia and United Kingdom as well.
Second Generation (2002-2008)
In 2002, the second generation Cube was introduced with a larger interior than preceding generation. It received a 1.4-L I4 engine and its angled and curved styling was inspired by the third generation March. The ‘e4WD’ system was optional for this generation. The system is capable of transferring power to the rear wheels when the front wheels spin through a small electric motor located on the rear bottom of the vehicle’s floor.
An extended wheelbase version of the Cube was also released which can accommodate seven passengers. It was given the name Cube3 with an optional CVT transmission. The new HR-series 1.5-L engine was made available for the Cube in 2005. This engine was also used in Nissan Tiida.
Some of the features offered in second generation Cube included: an Ion filter for cleaning air, Nissan’s ‘smart key’ feature, a sunroof, 12 different styles of front grill and satellite navigation. There were some models available with bodykits and fender flares. Other optional features were 14 or 15-inch wheels, Autech version featuring chrome styling and seat covering in vinyl styling.
Nissan Denki (Japanese: electric) Cube Concept was unleashed by Nissan at New York International Auto Show in 2008. The Denki was b is basically a lithium-ion battery-powered electric vehicle. This Lithium-ion battery technology is twice as much powerful than the traditional cylindrical battery.
Third Generation (2008-Present)
On November 19, 2008, Nissan unveiled the third generation Cube at the Los Angeles International Auto Show. This generation was also available in export markets including Europe and North America. On May 5, 2008, the third generation Cube was officially went on sale in the United States.
This generation was based on the Renault Nissan Alliance’s front-wheel drive B platform. It was equipped with a 1.5-L HR 16-valve engine with an output of 109 PS (80 kW; 108 bhp). However, the model offered in North American market received a 1.8-L 4-cylinder engine from MR family with an output of 122 hp (91 kW; 124 PS), while a 1.6-L HR petrol and a 1.5-L dCi Diesel engine were used in the models offered in European markets. All these engines are also found in Nissan Note and Nissan Tiida/Versa. A 5-speed manual or 6-speed manual or Nissan’s automatic Continuously Variable Transmission is offered based on the engine used.
With Xtronic CVT transmission, the Cube is intended to achieve 20 km/l (5 l/100 km; 47 mpg-US) in Japan. The average is 28 mpg-US (8.4 l/100 km) city, and 30 mpg-US (7.8 l/100 km) highway. An electric rear-wheel drive motor used in e-4WD trim helps the gasoline engine powered front wheels. It is assumed that the US market will not be able to get its share of 2012 model Cube because of the natural catastrophe of 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Also, there are rumors that whenever Japan will start the export it will start with Infiniti because of its high profit potential. It may also be possible that Nissan opt for an increased production in its North American plant to compensate for the shortcoming of its models.
For the third generation, Nissan also introduced a test vehicle EV-02 powered by 80 kW motor and lithium-ion batteries.
The production version of this vehicle was scheduled to be launched in 2010. The production version supposed to come with a unique body style with its own platform. Nissan LEAF was the only production electric vehicle announced by Nissan based on Nissan Tiida since the announcement of EV-02.