“For something with such rounded edges, how can they call it a Cube?” asked a good friend, recently. It’s one of those little questions I found myself pondering as I got the chance to drive Nissan’s new offering – and the latest entry into the expanding category of what might be called “box-mobiles.”
The 2009 Nissan Cube joins the list with the second-generation Scion xB and the current viral hit, Kia’s new Soul. The three of them start out as little more than boxes on wheels – when did square become hip? – about the most functional, flexible shape you can come up with. Then the makers round a corner here, exaggerate a beltline there, add a few hip, and sometimes goofy features, like Soul’s pulsing disco lights, and for the final touch, deliver the whole package at a surprisingly affordable price.
The 2009 Nissan Cube falls into the middle when it comes to cost, $14,710 for a base car, compared with $13,995 for the Soul and $16,420 for the xB. Our test car nudged the sticker price up another $8,000, money paid for such niceties as an upgraded audio system, lighted sill plates and one of the strangest accessories we’ve ever seen, a round piece of shag carpeting that looked a lot like a chia pet – or worse, some fungus – growing out of the top of the instrument panel.