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2010 Nissan Cube Compact Wagon New Car Review Prices Ratings Video
What was tested?:2010 Nissan Cube Compact Wagon.
Price as tested: $13,990.
Pros: Its wild styling and unique features appeal to people who want to be different. And it's a practical, affordable, fun-to-drive commuter car at the same time.
Cons: Some people don't like the styling."
Competitors: Scion XB, Kia Soul, Honda Fit.
If you woke up this morning and thought, "I want to drive a crazy car," Nissan has built the perfect vehicle for you.
It's called the Cube. Aside from the obvious -- the fact that you'll be driving a square car with round windows -- this thing is designed to be different from anything else on the road today.
How many cars do you know that have shag carpet on the dash? Or a headliner that's contoured like ripples on a pond? Or bungee cords on the doors for attaching stuffed animals? Or footwell lights that change colors disco-style?
It's clear that people who buy this car want to be different. While it's priced like any ordinary compact car, starting a $13,990, there's nothing ordinary about it.
The Nissna Cube unique, non-traditional design features an asymmetrical body, a stout �bulldog-like� stance, wide doors, a large greenhouse with wraparound rear window, and a refrigerator-style rear door
The differences start with its Kleenex-box body. The concept of a square car for young people isn't particularly original -- the Honda Element and Scion xB went down this road years ago -- but the Cube takes the shape to a different level.
While the overall shape is definitely boxy, virtually every surface tapers to a rounded edge. The windows are almost oval in appearance, while each of the straight edges is gentle and curvy in execution. And, perhaps most noteworthy of all, the back end is totally asymmetrical -- painted on one side, glass on the other.
Inside, you get the feeling that the Cube is being different for the sake of being different. All the strange things about it -- the headliner, the lighting, the shag carpet -- don't necessarily make it a better car, but they do make it a lot more interesting...
2010 Nissan Frontier 4X4 Compact Pickup Truck
By Derek Price
What was tested? 2010 Nissan Frontier 4X4 Pro4X ($27,730).
Options: Technology package ($900), iPod interface ($270), floor mats ($106).
Price as tested (including $900 destination charge): $29,830.
Pros: It nearly matches the capability of a full-size truck, but it's more affordable, more fuel efficient and more maneuverable than the big trucks.
Cons: It doesn't have the same presence and outright performance of a true full-size pickup.
In the world of trucks, it seems that bigger is always better. TV ads brag about how much stuff you can haul, how roomy the cabin is, and how many horses lurk under the hood.
But does bigger size always mean a better value?
That's the question you have to ask before checking out the Nissan Frontier. This isn't the biggest truck, or the most powerful, but it can do nearly everything the big boys can and save some cash at the same time.
The Frontier is part of a frequently overlooked category of less-than-full-size pickups. While this segment was pioneered with itty-bitty trucks like the Ford Ranger, there's nothing compact about them today -- that is, unless you compare them to their giant siblings.
This feels like a real truck. If you could put the big and brawny Nissan Titan into the dryer for a few cycles, a Frontier would come out at the end. It's heavy and rides way up high, almost like you'd expect in a full-size truck, but it has the added benefit of squeezing into tight parking spaces. Even on the road, it feels a little better -- less like a barge and more like a tugboat.
The only thing most truck buyers look at, though, is performance, and the Frontier doesn't disappoint. It's available with a 4.0-liter V6 engine that, if it wasn't written on the window sticker, I would have sworn was a V8 because it's so smooth, powerful and torquey. It makes 261 horsepower and 281 foot-pounds of torque, which is a huge amount for a truck this size.
All that power translates into good towing capacity. It can pull up to 6,500 pounds, and -- let's face it -- that's more than the vast majority of full-size truck buyers tow anyway. If you need to haul a lot of stuff, it's available with a long bed, too.
Inside, the Frontier has the same tough-truck styling as the Titan. It's not quite as car-like as Toyota's trucks, nor as luxurious as the cabins of full-size trucks from Chevy and Ford, but it's a fairly nice space nonetheless. Compared to other mid-size trucks, which is a much fairer way to measure it, the Frontier stacks up nicely.
The cabin is available in two configurations: King Cab or Crew Cab. The King Cab version I tested comes with little doors that open backward to let passengers in the back. They'd better be small passengers, though, because the seats are tiny. They fit my 4- and 6-year-olds perfectly. If you'll be carrying adults on a regular basis, the Crew Cab is worth the extra money for its full-size doors and bi...