Wednesday 28 May 2008

Squaring up the Cube

Nissan is working flat out on the new Cube. The first generation of the quirky vehicle was only sold in Japan where it enjoyed huge success thanks to its eye-catching design. Since it was only for Japan, the vehicle got imported by customers in their thousands. The Cube also had an older brother called Cubic which provided a 3rd row of seats.

The new model, caught here undergoing testing in France will be sold throughout the world, including Europe and the U.S.

Nissan showed a concept called Denki (electric in Japanese) Cube with high-efficiency lithium-ion batteries at the New York Motor Show. The hybrid will utilise cutting-edge lithium-ion battery technology and will developed in the UK alongside with NEC. This previews an electric Cube scheduled for 2010, as well as a conventional petrol engined version. A 1.6VVT petrol engine is expected to be borrowed from the Renault Clio alongside the 1.5 dCi, which is expected to stay firmly in Europe.

Exterior changes should be minimal compared to the concept, although the current car’s low rear lights will be placed near the boot lid to meet European regulations. A smooth CVT automatic and manual gearbox will be offered along with a classier interior to suit UK tastes.

The first photo shows the car undisguised at a press conference. Other than testing in France, Nissan has been testing Cube mules in London, near their design centre. These prototypes include the Cube and the Cube Cubic. The latter may make it to the UK if demand is sufficient.

Its hard to distinguish what the Cube will be rivalling since the Note takes on supermini based MPV's like the Renault Modus, Vauxhall/Opel Meriva, Daihatsu Materia and Ford Fusion but it is safe to say, for those who don't want a European styled people carrier will have the option to choose the Cube. The Cube should reach dealerships by 2010 followed by the hybrid in 2011. Expect a world debut at the LA autoshow in November. Nissan Cube to be unveiled in LA

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