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Posts Tagged ‘Nissan Cube’

Toyota, Nissan and GM Take Top Honors in Motorist Choice Awards

Balancing customer satisfaction and cost of ownership.

by on Sep.24, 2014

Toyota's FJ Cruiser is the favorite SUV, according to IntelliChoice and AutoPacific's Motorist Choice Awards.

When it comes to the brands that best fit their lifestyle needs, U.S. drivers are pointing to Toyota, Nissan and General Motors, the three topping the charts in the new Motorist Choice Awards.

Compiled by data tracking service Intellichoice and automotive research firm AutoPacific, Inc., the awards are meant to reveal the vehicles that deliver the best combination of customer satisfaction and lower-than-expected operating costs.

Auto Insight!

“Buyers look for a vehicle based on their usage needs and emotional desires” said Daniel Hall, vice president of AutoPacific. “By paying attention to these buying patterns, and incorporating our satisfaction data and IntelliChoice’s cost of ownership insights, we can offer sound advice to consumers across all vehicle segments.” (more…)

First Look: Hyundai Curb Concept

Small crossover could make sense as a production vehicle if fuel prices continue to rise.

by on Jan.10, 2011

The Hyundai Curb Concept isn't production ready, but with a few detail changes, it could see production in the future.

Hyundai must be serious about improving the fuel economy of its fleet. How else to describe the wave of small cars that are on the horizon for the Korean automaker? There’s the Veloster hatchback, which was introduced at the 2011 Detroit auto show, and Hyundai has confirmed a five-door Accent for the U.S. market. And now, there’s the Curb Concept, which, like the Veloster, was unveiled in Detroit.

The Curb isn’t a production-ready car — it sports future tech that isn’t quite ready for prime time. But it’s not a pie-in-the-sky concept, either. It’s not hard to envision this small crossover making it into production with toned-down styling and more-conventional technology.

Detroit Auto Show News!

Speaking of styling, the Curb is an exercise in the company’s “fluidic sculpture” theme, and the end result is a slightly boxy theme with plenty of softened and rounded edges. It’s probably a little too out there for mainstream tastes, but with some adjustments, it would be a good vehicle for fighting the Kia Soul, Nissan Cube, and Scion xB.

One of the more interesting design features is the windshield — the glass wraps around the A-pillar. This design element is a nod to motorcycle helmets, but it also should improve forward visibility.


Honda Pulling The Plug On Element

Finishes run with 2011 model-year.

by on Dec.03, 2010

Bye-bye Element, at the end of the 2011 model-year.

The innovative, if controversial Honda Element will be pulled from production at the end of the 2011 model-year, the Japanese maker has announced.

Launched in 2002, as a 2003 model, the Element was an archetype of the boxy design niche that has gone from unique to near-mainstream, with the launch of competitors like the Kia Soul, Scion xB and Nissan Cube.

“It made boxy vehicle designs cool,” said John Mendel, executive vice president of American Honda. “The Element proved that ultimate functionality can often come from thinking inside the box.”

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Honda took a number of small steps to try to keep Element fresh, adding more power and safety features in 2007, for example, and even launching the Dog Friendly Element accessory package in 2009.

But it failed to come up with a complete makeover in a segment where hipness and freshness are critical.  Some owners wandered off to competitors like the Soul, the hot seller in the boxy segment, right now.  Others stayed within the Honda franchise but shifted to more mainstream offerings, such as the similarly-sized CR-V crossover.


Revisionist History: Was the Pontiac Aztek Merely Ahead of its Times?

Progenitor of the Cube, Soul, xB and other funky hip designs - or just plain ugly?

by on Jul.07, 2009

Was it the ugliest vehicle ever made or a trendsetter ahead of its time?  The 2001 Pontiac Aztek is shown here with a pop-up tent, part of an astounding line of accessories that made it the equivalent of a Swiss Army knife on wheels.

Maybe if you put a bag over its...tail? Was the Pontiac Aztek the ugliest vehicle ever made or a trendsetter ahead of its time?

I’m used to having people stare at me when I drive by.  Well, not me, exactly, but the various cars I rotate through, on a regular basis.  Call it the head-turn factor, if you will, for it’s one indication of how well a product stands out in today’s competitive and overcrowded automotive market.

Some vehicles grab your attention because they’re just plain beautiful, the Mercedes-Benz CLS, for example; others because they’re rare and exotic – a Bentley or a Lamborghini.  Then there are the odd ducks that simply stand out, and these days there are a whole bunch of them coming to market.

There’s the Kia Soul, made famous by those hip little hamsters in a commercial that’s gone mega-hot on You Tube.  Nissan’s weighed in with its own offering, the decidedly funky Cube.  And, of course, we can’t ignore the xB, now in its second generation.  The boxy crossover was the product that put Scion, Toyota’s youth-oriented brand-within-a-brand, on the map.

What do they all have in common?  They’re basically all boxes on wheels, and more than a bit retro, with a hint of the classic, full-sized van in their DNA.  That said, their designs are all a bit out of the norm, they’re definitely not minivans, nor are they SUVs.  Each has a decidedly distinctive take on an otherwise fundamentally simple shape.  The asymmetric Cube tries hard to be cute, Scion is L.A. street smart and Soul boasts hip-hop sensibilities, with its flashing interior lights.

Subscribe to TheDetroitBureau.comBut above all, they’re designed to deliver maximum functionality – which is, after all, the thing that boxes, or vans, if you prefer, do best.  So, it should be no surprise that the combination of form and function is connecting so well with today’s buyers, especially young ones also attracted to the reasonably low price tag of these three models.

Then again, maybe it should be a surprise.

It wasn’t all that long ago that American buyers turned a big thumbs down on another quirkily-styled box-mobile that attempted to combine incredible functionality and flexibility — arguably a good bit more than the newer Soul, Cube and xB – and a bold styling statement.

I’m referring, of course, to the late and largely unlamented Pontiac Aztek.


Sneak Peek: 2010 Nissan Cube

Making square cool.

by on Feb.11, 2009

Nissan Cube: Geek Chic?

Nissan Cube: Geek Chic?

Nissan’s little Cube is one of those gotta-have machines we’ve been seeing for years at the Tokyo Motor Show and wondering why they didn’t bring it to the U.S. Now they’re finally going to.

Since it’s launch, in 1998, the Cube has had the same sort of geek appeal as the original Scion xB. It’s a boxy example of form=function=fun. Beyond the basic square-as-cool body, there’s the wraparound window that flows from side to rear, and what Nissan’s small car marketing manager Rich Latek describes as a “casual lounge” interior.

The problem, or problems, were multiple. With the first two generations, the single rear pillar was on the wrong side, and the car simply couldn’t meet U.S. crash specifications.