Junkyard Gem: 2010 Nissan Cube with 6-Speed Manual Transmission

The Nissan Cube sold very well in its Japanese homeland, but struggled to find many North American buyers during its 2009-2014 sales run over here. As was the case with its boxy Scion xB competitor, the target demographic of youthful Americans looking for a “mobile hub” (Nissan’s term) seemed unimpressed with the Cube, and plenty of Cube haters saw its asymmetrical design as the visual equivalent of fingernails-on-the-chalkboard. Here’s a 2010 Cube in a Denver self-service yard with the exceedingly rare six-speed manual transmission.

The six-speed manual was mandatory in the base trim level and optional in the second-from-the-bottom Cube S. All the higher levels got the CVT, and that’s the transmission you’ll find in just about every Cube on the road today.

Getting a manual Cube saved the buyer plenty of money; a six-speed entry-level 2010 Cube cost just $13,990 (that’s about $16,780 in 2020 bucks), while the cheapest possible CVT Cube started at $16,030 ($19,225 today). Few felt willing to go for the cheaper transmission, of course, not when they had to spend hours in stop-and-go traffic every week, juggling a phone and coffee and steering with their elbows. Who’s got a hand free for a gearshift? 

The idea was that youthful drivers would go crazy for the color-changing LED interior lighting and futuristic-looking controls, and perhaps some did.

The Cube offered an amazing amount of interior space for its small footprint, and the rear door swung open sideways for easy cargo loading from the sidewalk (right-hand-drive cars had the rear door hinge on the other side).

If you never liked Big Daddy Roth’s Orbitron, the asymmetry of the Cube’s body likely sends you into a rage. I’ve always liked the look of the Cube, and I might keep my eyes open for a six-speed runner for sale at a reasonable price (since I know I’ll never manage to find any of the tiny quantity of five-speed Mazda5s sold in the United States).

Poor unloved Cube!

Pretty much the same thing as a really cool smartphone. Nissan keep the code-nerd underscore-character “SHIFT_” thing going for many years after the Dot-Com Boom made it crypto-fashionable.

Mobile devise, mobile device.

This ad is just depressing for those of us stuck in 2020.

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