2014 Nissan Cube
2014 Nissan Cube
2014 Nissan Cube. Click image to enlarge

Review and photos by Paul Williams

Newport Beach, California – You have to wonder about the future of the Nissan Cube. The most recent information about this model on the Nissan media website is dated 2012; and at the time of this writing, the consumer site (Nissan.ca) doesn’t include the Cube in its “Build and Price” car configurator. Furthermore, at the recent “Nissan 360” event in Newport Beach, California, senior Nissan executives wondered aloud whether vehicles like the Cube should even be in the company’s model lineup.

Why? Well, let’s put it this way: Canadian Cube sales in 2009 totalled 2,416 vehicles, but by 2012, that number dropped to 318. So far this year (2013, first nine months), 156 have been snapped up by cubists. A number like that might work for Bentley, but for a budget-priced economy car, you don’t need an MBA to figure out that demand is drying up.

But the 2014 model was available at the Nissan 360 event, which featured all of the Nissan and Infiniti models (and one Datsun…) sold globally. Largely unchanged from 2013, we took one for a quick spin.

The Cube (Nissan’s marketing mooks don’t use a capital “C”, though Senior Editor Jonathan Yarkony still seems to think it’s a proper noun) is obviously something of a design statement. It is, without a doubt, the weirdest looking vehicle in the Nissan lineup, and that includes the Juke (which is selling comparatively well).

With its “aymmetrical rear window, refrigerator style rear door and wide range of personal accessories” the Cube, according to Nissan, is a “unique blend of fashion and functionality.”

Indeed it is quite functional. With a 2,530 mm wheelbase contained within its 3,980 mm overall length, the Cube’s wheels are pushed out to the corners, maximizing interior space. Headroom feels huge. The tall roof seems to tower above you, adding to the sense of roominess in the Cube. The big windows also contribute.

The interior design is, like the exterior, all curves, circles and ovals. It gives the impression of being sculpted out of Play-Doh, although Nissan describes it as emulating a lounge environment. It doesn’t’ really seem automotive, which is perhaps the intent.

2014 Nissan Cube2014 Nissan Cube
2014 Nissan Cube. Click image to enlarge

The “lounge sofa” reclining rear bench seat slides fore and aft, and is positioned higher than the front seats affording some outward visibility for rear passengers. Continuing the asymmetrical theme, the major gauges (speedometer and tachometer) are different colours. Light blue and white, they are apparently designed to make it easier to distinguish one from the other. Nissan says this effect produces a “natural ambiance similar to the glow of the white moon and the blue earth.” I think Nissan is having a bit of fun with us, here.

There are lots of cupholders and bottle holders (11 in all) and detachable hooks for holding bags and what-not that can be relocated within the cabin. There are shelves and front-door bungees in various colours that fit into door cutouts where you can store maps, towels and, I kid you not, “small stuffed animals” [most likely Uglydolls, Hello Kitty or Tokidoki rather than old-fashioned Ganz teddy bears or Beanie Babies –Ed.]. Well, at least they’re not live!

The exterior is equally unique, and in this regard I think the appearance of the vehicle should really speak for itself.

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