2009 Nissan Cube Krom

Don Sherman Jeffrey Jablansky

Nissan Cube Krom, Kia Forte Koup - the kool thing these days is to retire traditional spelling in favor of hipster verbiage. This is the third Cube (or, perhaps, Küb?) that Nissan has sent us over the past month, and I've enjoyed experiencing all of them.

This particular model comes tricked out with a ground effects package, a spoiler, and chrome wheels, naturally. It plays tricks on your eyes with its badgeless grille, convincing you it's some kind of teddy-bear/bulldog mix with bulging, growly eyes. It wants to play fetch - in this case, for friends or groceries - and gets plenty of looks while doing so.

After I spent a good portion of the weekend in a ZipCar Scion xB, the Cube's strengths as a wow-it's-bigger-in-here-than-it-looks! city car became apparent. Although the Cube is not fast by any means, its optional CVT (continuously variable transmission) operates smoothly to make the most of the modest four-cylinder engine. Steering feel is very light, especially at low speeds, but it still helps you deftly glide through tight spots in traffic.

The Cube is a vehicle to inspire strong declarations and to stir emotion. Why? It presents a different and unfamiliar vehicle experience sure to befuddle shoppers of mainstream vehicles. And it will polarize opinion.

It's like walking into a cardboard box! It's like a big rollerskate! The seats are like couches! It's a hipster with tires! (OK, no one said that.) It's a lot of fun for commuting and around town but probably not the best for a cross-country drive. The Cube will probably not appeal to everyone, but those who like it will end up loving it.

Jeffrey Jablansky, Intern

Krom is a god worshipped by Conan in those movies and books. I can imagine Schwarzenegger saying "By Krom!" right now.

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