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Edmunds: Nissan Cube v. Scion xB

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http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/Drive...photopanel..1.*

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The problem with most Japanese cars here is that they're dull, soulless, and generic. But after seeing tons of truly weird and different cars in Asia this past winter, I actually wish they would import some of this lost-in-translation, automotive-anime, Japanese subculture madness here. Modern cars in the US are all pretty much the same, dictated by certain car norms, shapes, and functions... to begin with, why do all cars have to be symmetrical? Why must luxury car interiors be covered in leather and wood?

Anyway, I really like the Cube, especially in that color, even though I'm not sure I could drive one. Its two most amusing features - the built-in emergency flares and fake-AWD - are all so ironic (and amusing) considering its intended use in the city, appealing to the same sensibilities that seriously consider a vending machine dress crime-preventing camouflage. :lol:

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If they brought the Cube here maybe they could market them to those of us that work in a cube.. 'You work in a cube, now you can DRIVE a Cube!!'.. :)

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Besides the utility these boxy vehicles provide (Cube and xB), I personally do not find anything else appealing about them. I think the Cube and first generation xB (I think it was called bB or something close to that in Japan) sold well in the Japanese market because it connected better with their culture. Somehow I think the appeal of these vehicles gets lost in translation in the U.S. Market.

So far Toyota (Scion) and Honda have tried to reach out to a younger demographic with a boxy hatch/crossover product (Scion xB and Honda Element). Every time I see one on the road, someone far beyond the target demographic in age is piloting one of these vehicles. I don't think the "boxy equals youth appeal" philosophy of design works as well in the U.S. as it does in Japan.

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>>"I actually wish they would import some of this lost-in-translation, automotive-anime, Japanese subculture madness here. Modern cars in the US are all pretty much the same, dictated by certain car norms, shapes, and functions..."<<

Which reminds me, why must professional models be slim, blemish-free & attractive? Why not some short, fat, dumpy ones w/ bad skin?

This cube thing is in lockstep with the Aztek: ungainly, 'unnnatural' & unattractive. As with any sector you care to name, there's always somebody who finds those 'qualities' endearing & interesting.

If we're very lucky, the xb will wither & die, the element is already slated for extermination, and the cube will never arrive.

>>"Why must luxury car interiors be covered in leather and wood?"<<

No worries here: MANY of them are primarily swathed in plastics.

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So far Toyota (Scion) and Honda have tried to reach out to a younger demographic with a boxy hatch/crossover product (Scion xB and Honda Element). Every time I see one on the road, someone far beyond the target demographic in age is piloting one of these vehicles.

I see a lot of Elements, driven by every possible demographic you can think of. This is probably because it is indeed a very useful vehicle. You are right about the xB though, I see mostly old farts driving those around. But then what we see driving these vehicles doesn't indicate the majority.

The xB was made to be trendy, the Element was made to be useful. The Element SC is marketed more inline with the xB.

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There are actually two Cubes, the original 5-seater (smaller than the original xB/bB), and the lwb 5+2 seat (you wouldn't want to put anyone in the rear seats except in an emergency, e.g. they lost their legs) Cube­³, about the same size as a Meriva, Ractis or the original bB/xB (the new bB is smaller, Agila and Cube-sized; the new xB is bigger, PT Cruiser-sized). The Cube³ is planned for export markets, but with 5 seats.

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There are actually two Cubes, the original 5-seater (smaller than the original xB/bB), and the lwb 5+2 seat (you wouldn't want to put anyone in the rear seats except in an emergency, e.g. they lost their legs) Cube­³, about the same size as a Meriva, Ractis or the original bB/xB (the new bB is smaller, Agila and Cube-sized; the new xB is bigger, PT Cruiser-sized). The Cube³ is planned for export markets, but with 5 seats.

Interesting... which is the one that Edmunds tested out? I hope we're at least getting the same grille and headlight arrangement (I like the pattern) and retro-fridge-style opening rear door.

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I almost bought an Element when they first came out, and I still like those little stagecoaches, so useful. This Datsun is really cool and interesting... different. I would never buy a Scion, or any Toyota product, because of their attitude.
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