Nissan's Cube will go on sale in the UK next year as the firm launches the cult car outside the Japanese market for the first time.
The new car, which loses some of the second-generation Cube’s square looks, is based on a new chassis that could be used in the next Micra, continuing Nissan’s tradition of using the supermini as a platform for quirky low-volume cars such as the Figaro and Pao.
Although its wheelbase is only 10mm longer than a current Micra’s, at 2530mm, the Cube is 261mm longer than the hatchback. Power comes from a 1.5-litre diesel motor or a 1.6-litre petrol unit coupled to a CVT gearbox; no manual option is planned.
British buyers will benefit from a wraparound rear window that does away with a D-pillar to improve visibility for drivers of right-hand-drive versions. Also at the rear of the car, the new Cube retains the current model’s side-hinged tailgate.
Inside, it’s a little less unusual, with a simple dash and fascia design incorporating a wave effect, although there are some neat touches, such as the different colours for the speedo and rev counter (white and blue) and customisable dash coverings; owners can choose from materials such as shag-pile carpets and wood-effect trim. Exterior graphics will also be offered.
Cubes built for the Japanese market will have a new type of catalytic converter that uses fewer precious metals such as platinum and rhodium.
The car goes on sale in Japan next month, the US at the beginning of next year and in the UK around November 2009. An electric version is also in the works; Nissan previewed the new Cube with an all-electric concept car earlier this year.
Nissan UK has yet to decide how much to charge for the Cube, but expect it to be priced to compete with cars such as the Mini.