Nissan Cube

[singlepic id=1311 w=640 h=480 float=center]By Cor Steenstra, with photographs by Christopher Jones and model Ada Yan.

With 6’4″ it is quite rare that I feel dwarfed in a car. It happens, mostly when I drive the big SUV s and Pick-Up Truck. To my big surprise, the Nissan Cube also managed to dwarf me!

A design that is clearly targeted at the home Japanese market with its severe tax laws and parking space limits, this Nissan, like th Scion xB, makes ultimate use of its small exterior dimensions with a very rectangular chape, thjus creating as much interior space as possible. A relatively tall height allows for upright roomy seating positions, and when I adjust the drivers seat to my comfort, I have about 10″ of headroom still available. Amazing.

The exterior design is notably asymmetrical, which rubbed a few people up the wrong way because they’re not used to it. It does have all elements very well integrated, but the way the bumpers are formed does give it a bit of a “baby’s full diapers” look, which is not exactly harmonious. Better solutions would have been possible, especially on the rear, where this treatment combined with the horizontal tail light units makes for a higher than necessary floor in the hatch.

That hatch floor was filled with storage compartments that did not seem to fit very flush, but when you take it out, a cumbersome task in itself, it opens up a whole weird can of worms, showing even white styrophoam to overcome height differences. Very amateurish.

The rest of the interior had the “Stone dropped in water” theme waven through it, as you can see on the ceiling and in the door pockets. A horrible piece of rug/carpet was mounted in the center of the dash. I have not found any use for it at all, especially not with the car in motion, so I question the logic behind this completely. It does not enhance the design of the interior, nor does it add an extra performance to it.

My 8 year old daughter was particularly enchanted by the color adjustment option of the interior flood light, up to 12 color variants of which she preferred the Aqua. I was surprised by the lack of material coordination, where some panels did not match others in color nor grain. I have not experienced this with Nissan’s before, so this was quite a shock.

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