Chicago Auto Show 2009: Apparently, Huey Lewis Was Psychic (Nissan Cube)



Not content to rest on its laurels with the Versa, Nissan’s decided to reach backwards into their bag of tricks and is finally bringing their Cube to both Canada and the US for the first time. While Japan’s been familiar with the wonders of this stylish rolling box for years (8, to be precise), no one outside Japan really got a chance to know of its glories…until now.


Much like the Versa, the Cube is small on the outside, but extremely large on the inside. The design concept was originally meant to be a sort of intimate mobile club where friends could hang out and relax, which is reflected in the way they’re marketing this bountiful box-car. One thing a particularly tall friend of mine said about the Versa as compared to, say, the Honda Fit, was that it was a lot easier for her to get in and out of the Versa and actually drive it than it would have been in the Fit. It’s unfortunate that she’s not into the cube-ist aesthetic, because she’d be even more pleased with the Cube on that front—it’s got room to spare, and yet can still fit anywhere a Versa can, thanks to its being built on the Versa platform (and featuring the Versa’s spunky 122HP, 127 lb-ft of torque-having, 1.8-L MR18DE inline-4 engine). Good one, Nissan!


Cube shown at actual size—apparently it shrinks in the wash.

To showcase its quirkiness and the infinite ways in which prospective owners can customize their Cubes, Nissan has a camera set up with giant foam-backed cards which visitors are meant to aim at the camera in order to see a 3-D model of whichever aspect of the Cube is depicted on the card they’re holding.  They can then run their finger over the arrows on each card to see more information aboutwhatever area of the Cube they’re looking at.  It’s essentially the same as the promo CD-ROM they’re distributing, except with that, you need to provide your own webcam to get it to work. It’s a clever bit of interactivity, which is what Nissan are hoping you’ll think the Cube is all about.  With the arrival of both the Cube and Kia’s Soul, it looks as though Canada’s days without stylish boxes on wheels are at an end.  Joke’s on you, Toyota!

[Photos: Joe Lucente]