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Old 01-30-2008, 10:27 AM   #1 (permalink)
MetroMPG
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Location: 1000 Islands, Ontario, Canada
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Blackfly - '98 Geo Metro
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90 day: 58.72 mpg (US)

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Dan Neil for president! (LA Times Nissan Cube review)

The LA Time's esteemed auto writer, Dan Neil, reviews the Nissan Cube: Nissan Cube: The right angles

Never before have I read a car review in the mainstream press that nails the issues as well as this one, which focuses on the Scion Xb-like vehicle that Nissan has announced it will be bringing to the US market for 2009.



The image shown, and the car Neil drove isn't the one the US will get - it's slated for a redesign for 09. Nevertheless, I love the premise of the review:

Quote:
So why am I driving it? Because I wanted you, Mr. and Ms. America -- if you'll put down the xylophone of barbecued ribs for a moment -- to look at the car of your future: smaller, lighter (2,530 pounds), slower, less powerful.
He goes on to hit every nail on the head - many of the key problems, compromises & challenges that the US faces in a future with 35 mpg CAFE rules. Some of his observations:

(FYI, these bullet points are quotes pulled from the article...)
  • It will be utterly impossible to achieve energy security or to significantly reduce greenhouse emissions unless we are able to lower the average vehicle weight.
  • [the current JDM Cube's] top speed on the highway is about 85 mph, when the Cube's quarry-block styling generates truly epic aerodynamic drag.
  • My time in the Cube reminds me that so much of the American car market -- from price to performance to fuel economy -- is over-amplified silliness, a wretched gas-wasting orgy sold to us in various shades of envy. In other words, 90 hp is plenty.
  • If the Cube is any indication of what the rolling world is like a decade from now, take heart. Cars will be smaller but still plenty big, slower but still plenty fast. The wisdom of the Cube is the wisdom of all cubes: Efficiency is a beautiful thing.
I love how he addresses the porking up of Scion's redesigned box on wheels:
  • Speaking of the xB: When I favorably reviewed the xB, the box-lovers howled. The car's weight went up 600 pounds, the horsepower went up 55, and fuel economy dropped like a stone. How is that progress? they asked. The Nissan Cube promises to be everything these kids could want, and less.
This article is definitely worth a read. I've only pulled a few of the gems from his text, but there's a lot more where they came from: Nissan Cube: The right angles

Move over Barack. Step aside McCain... Dan Neil for president!

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