Year of the Cube

The article was published in the November, 2009 issue, but I just learned of it from a Nissan customer mailing. Automobile magazine named the Nissan Cube, of which I was one of the first people in Pittsburgh to own, the 2010 Design of the Year. This is the same award that went to the Audi A5 in 2009 and the Audi R8 in 2008. So why the Cube?

According to Robert Cumberford, it has nothing to do with beauty or elegance, and he even sets aside originality, since it is the third version of the car. His one-word explanation is “charm.”

“You’ll probably start to smile as you approach the Cube. It’s funny-looking, yes, but in an especially agreeable way.” “It’s funky, fun, and just generally fine.”

Robert goes into more detail about the specifics of the design, citing everything from the rippled ceiling to the CVT gearbox. There are two comments that I especially agree with. The first has to do with the interior space:

“…the interior gives you a sense, if not the fact, of unlimited space. The amount of headroom, elbow room, and legroom makes the Cube feel more like a limo than the upmarket economy car it actually is.”

So true. Aside from the dash topper, the roominess of the interior is what everyone comments on the first time they get in. The second comment that stuck home was Robert’s declaration of the Cube’s mission:

“…to be the thoroughly practical, no-nonsense urban vehicle of the early twenty-first century.”

I can’t say whether or not that was Nissan’s goal, but I think they’ve achieved it. I second Automobile’s choice. Oh, and there’s a little bit of nonsense in there too.

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