• Mar 7th 2006 at 12:30PM
  • 14

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]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 9 Years Ago
      I love the xB, but I think I love the Cube even more.

      While the xB is trying oh-so-hard to be "hip" (just look at the color selction and "Release Series"), the Cube's more good-humored styling could end up being more appealing. Paint this in bright colors, Nissan, and I'm so totally there. :)
      • 9 Years Ago
      I will sell my Element in a heartbeat to get one of these. This is way better than the xB. Way better.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Yes, bring the Cube! We're used to the Scion and the Cube would be a great competitor:

      • 9 Years Ago
      I stay in Japan for a few months at a time to visit my brother and have had a chance to drive the cube. It's a cool looking car, that is if you like boxes. We took it on a weekend trip to the mountains to do some snowboarding. His WRX was having a new clutch put in and all they had were yellow plates and the cube so we took the cube. It feels at home in the cramped cities but out on the toll roads and highways it's a little scary, due to the lack of power and size. Also the rear tail lights seem to sit way to low and the spray of water and snow from the tires obscure the drivers behind you their view of them. We beat the $hit out of it while we had it in our possession. I enjoy cars that give something back to me and this for one was not. After you get over the neat box look you come to find out that's all it really is, a box with wheels. Needless to say we were both happy to get his 300+hp modified wrx back to rip through the mountain switch-backs the next weekend.
      Clyde Batter
      • 9 Years Ago
      This thing's as funky looking as the Scion xB, and Toyota is selling tens of thousands of them.

      Go for it, Nissan. Give Scion a run for their money and watch what Toyota/Scion comes up with next.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Yeah, Nissan should just put the 1.8l from the Versa or the new 2.0l from the new Sentra. They're mre powerful and parts would be interchangeable which will help the aftermarket support.

      I'd take this over the xB or Element OR the damn Dodge Hornet! I just hope the next gen that we're getting is similar to the current one.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Nissan is approaching this problem the wrong way. Even if they lightened it, who wants to drive a vehicle with a buzzy 88 horsepower? Put a 2.0-engine in it, or even better the 2.5 from the Altima and call it a day.
      • 9 Years Ago
      The Dodge Hornet is comming!!!!!!!
      • 9 Years Ago
      Some old grandma is going to buy it because it gets good gas mileage and is cheap, and will ruin it for everyone else. Kids will run from this car after seeing blue hairs parking it at the local bingo hall parking lot.

      Nissan better put factory 20" rims and slam it 2" so it rides like crap to scare the old folks away from it. Pimp my Cube.
      • 9 Years Ago
      holy shit!
      the first time i saw the CUBE was off a link on the NissanForums a while back.

      this would be an amazing marketing stand for the Nissan fan clubs around the world.
      id sport one, cause:
      1.i love nissans
      2.i hate scions
      • 9 Years Ago
      Car and driver once tested all the only Jap cars. They rated the cube highest in terms of Yankee rating.

      I am a huge fan of its asymmetrical styling. Will sure buy one.

      There is a Cube3 too, which has 3 rows of seats !!

      I used to hate boxes, now I like them.. a lot.
      • 9 Years Ago
      I've been waiting for the Cube to hit the US for a while now. I'm just wondering if I'll be able to hold out long enough (2007 I imagine) and not pickup a Versa this summer instead
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