Best of the Box Cars?

February 26th, 2009

nissan-cube-sideNow, this thing looks to me like it was designed by a Japanese Frenchman, and that’s a compliment. Nissan’s Cube Mobile Device (so-called per their website) has been called “cute” so often that Carlos Ghosn must have heartburn. But he won’t complain when these cars start selling, as they will in May in Nissan showrooms.

At a time when the car industry sorely needs a lift and a new life, perhaps a stylish, well-made Mobile Device can help blow some fresh air into a despondent market. The Cube offers so much in the way of utility and styling at a base price of under $14,000 that city buyers will find it hard to resist. The side-hinged rear hatch, the sliding rear seat, and the boxy shape all give it really good cargo capability.

The base version features a 122-hp, 1.8-liter four with a six-speed transmission. There are three other trims—up to the $19,360 Krom—that enable you to add all kinds of goodies and a continuously variable automatic. Performance is pretty decent, but don’t try to do the Nurburgring in this car.

2010_kia_soul_430_1208-1There have been several shootouts of competing box cars. In one, pitting the Scion xB and the Kia Soul Sport (right), against the Cube, they gave the edge to the Kia. But that car looks like somebody stepped on it, and the Cube . . . well, you know we think it’s cute.

If you were in the market, which of the box cars—Kia Soul, Scion xB, or Nissan Cube—would you likely buy, and why?

—jgoods

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