2009 Nissan Cube S – Click above for high-res image gallery One of our favorite cars last year was a cream-colored, Japanese Domestic Market (JDM), second-generation Nissan Cube that the Japanese automaker loaned us for a few days of commuting and assorted daily driving duties. It was a fantastic car, with excellent styling, the ingenious e-4WD system, a practical interior, and – bless its heart – a front bench seat. Nissan was passing around the keys because it wanted to build up buzz for the arrival of the third-generation Cube, which would break free of the right-hand-drive market prison to which its predecessors were restricted. The JDM Cube was indeed a tasty appetizer, but now the main course has arrived. Once again, we were given the keys to a Nissan Cube for a few days. Only this time it was brown and, more importantly, you can actually buy it in the U.S. %Gallery-49387% Photos Copyright ©2009 Alex Núñez / Weblogs, Inc. The 2009 Nissan Cube is the third iteration of the nameplate. The previous model is sometimes mistakenly referred to as the "original" car, but it was preceded by the real first-gen Cube, which bowed back in 1998. That Cube wasn't much of a design statement (a pretty generic-looking hatch, really) compared to its successor, and is pretty forgettable unless you're a serious JDM nerd. One of our primary concerns relating to a left-hand-drive Cube was whether Nissan would really go all the way and deliver market-specific asymmetric bodywork. After all, the asymmetry is the Cube's calling card. You see, doing this would have meant more than simply moving the steering wheel to the opposite side of the dashboard -- you'd need unique sheetmetal, too. Determined to make the Cube a true global vehicle, Nissan delivered the goods. All the signature elements have made the trip across the Pacific, and they're in the spots where they belong. For instance, the blackout panel ahead of the lone visible D-pillar is on the driver's side. An extra window and wraparound-look glass are on the passenger side. The big fridge-door rear hatch is hinged on the driver's side, so that it opens away from the curb. Put a new U.S.-market Nissan Cube next to its JDM counterpart and you'll see that they're mirror images of each other. Styling-wise, Nissan sought to retain as much of the second-generation car's charm as it could while meeting all of the regulatory requirements in export regions like the United States. In the Cube's case, this concession to the global marketplace manifests itself in the form of more bulbous front and rear bumpers that add some Leno in front and Beyonce out back. The styling is still eye-catching, but the last Nissan Cube was the better looking car – a design classic, even. That said, most North American shoppers aren't car dorks, so they won't even be aware of the previous Cube's existence. Ignorance is bliss, and most people will be captivated with the new Cube's looks. …
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|MPG||28 City / 30 Hwy|
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|Power||122 @ 5200 rpm|
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