Streamlining a box is a difficult proposition. Just ask Volvo-- it took them decades to wean their stylists off of a steady diet of t-squares. But with Nissan's diminutive little Cube, boxy is the point.

And while the square peg in a round marketplace ethos is a boon when it comes to interior packaging, it's lousy for aerodynamic efficiency, sapping power, increasing gas consumption and wind noise. Which leads ups to Nissan's present conundrum: how to get more chutzpah out of the Cube without a clean-sheet powertrain.

On the Cube's home turf, trundling about with a 1.5-liter, 88-horsey miserbox in Japan's crowded city centers is par for the course. But giving it the block rockin' beats necessary to keep up on American interstates (much less German Autobahns) is proving difficult for the automaker.

Nissan hopes to keep an updated version of the aforementioned four-cylinder underhood, which means that serious aerodynamic and weight savings will need to be realized in order to deliver acceptable performance. The issue of excess poundage will likely be particularly hard to address in the U.S. market, where everything from America's love of power accessories and heft-adding options is legendary, to say nothing of needing to uprate the suspension componentry to cope with vast Yankee potroast potholes.

 

The Cube is set to be built on a reworked platform it will share with the Micra and Tiida, and it could be more expensive Stateside than in other markets (relative to its positioning elsewhere), likely slotting in between the Versa and Sentra.

We hope the Cube keeps its good-humored styling, which is markedly more daring than that other box (the Scion xB), particularly when it comes to the cheeky round headlights and the wacky asymmetrical rear window, but wouldn't mind a bit more jack in our boxes.

[Source: AutoWeek]