Is the Nissan Cube the Future of Transportation?

by Benjamin Jones on November 28, 2008

This year at the LA Auto Show, Nissan unveiled a new vehicle, the Cube. While the Cube has been kicking around in Japan for quite a few years, it had good company. There are tons of similarly shaped compact and subcompact cars that don’t make the Cube seem quite so out of place. In North America that’s a slightly different story. Sure, there’s the Scion xB, but that’s just one car, hardly a class or a design trend in and of itself.

The Cube will go on sale in the spring and will come with the same 122-hp engine that currently comes in the Nissan Versa and will be available with either a 6-speed manual transmission or a CVT that should put the lovable box slightly above 30 mpg. Nissan hopes to make this car a new model for utility and convenience, but without the waste that goes along with driving your truck to the store to tow the groceries home.

But the real question is, will it work? Nissan wants to appeal to a large cross-section of the North American consumer with this car, and looking at the success the xB has had, I think that’s definitely possible. However, it’s also possible that the xB has simply filled a niche that is now saturated, and that at best the Cube will be fighting within that niche for a limited market share instead of stealing buyers away from bigger, more expensive crossovers.

I sure don’t have the answer, but what do you think? Even though I may not think the car is ugly, the average consumer might. Will this car be another flop, a case of the Japanese market not translating to the North American market? Time will tell, but until then, feel free to speculate in the comments.

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1 1337 December 2, 2008 at 5:35 pm

Wow, look at that boxy shape and large front cross-sectional area. I bet the Cd is just below that of a refrigerator! However, at sub-highway speeds, I suppose it can be space- and fuel efficient.

2 Viliyana Filipova August 4, 2009 at 3:40 am

This Car is really nice, really good looking and the most important is that it is eco-friendly. The CO2 emissions are increasing much, and the big usage of automobiles last years, means that it will not stop increasing. We should reduce it, with such cars, like this. I hope that car builders will pay more attention to the earth and will care about it much more.

3 1337 August 6, 2009 at 7:57 am

Viliyana Filipova-

The Cube actually has awful fuel economy for a car that size. The manual transmission model gets an EPA-rated 24/29 MPG, and the automatic (technically, CVT) gets 28/30. The Honda Fit gets 28/35, the Scion xD gets 27/33, and Nissan’s own Versa hatchback gets 28/34.

The Cube is quite inefficient for a small, boxy car, and nearly all of the Cube’s competitors are more efficient.

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