Cult Japanese car the Nissan Cube is due to launch in the UK in January 2009 2010.
1,500 of the affordable urban runarounds will be offered for sale in the New Year.
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Loved by the Japanese, acclaimed by designers, never ignored – the launch of the first UK Nissan Cube in January 2010 could split national opinion with its unconventional, curvaceous new ‘box’ design.
The new Cube is a global collaboration bringing together designers from Japan, Nissan Design Europe and the US to create a truly inspired driving experience. It is intended to appeal to those more passionate about being individual than they are about cars.
First launched in Japan over ten years ago, the Cube was immediately adopted by the stylish, underground and urban set - the ‘denso’, carefree in spirit, unique in mind - as a lifestyle choice more than a car.
Since then, it has found a global audience due to its exposure through fashion, magazines, video footage, online and social networks. The Cube has evolved to appeal to this international mindset, with a new design that is both clever, witty and uniquely functional.
Until now, only a handful of Cube imports have been available in the UK. To retain this exclusivity, Nissan is planning to launch around 1,500 Cubes in the UK in 2010, each one specifically designed to appeal to a creative, urban crowd who will identify with its design credentials.
To date, Cube has been spotted around London’s East End and within certain creative networks, underground art scenes and secret forums, which is in keeping with Japan’s underground cult scene.
Even with minimal UK presence, the Cube is already fuelling debate online, with people posting comments about the design, splitting audiences into those that love it or hate it. Twitter users can follow ‘NissanCubeUK’ and Facebook members can join ‘Nissan Cube UK. Seen it? Love it? Hate it?’ to keep the argument alive.
For those that love it, the Cube is appreciated for its conspicuously unique asymmetrical style, its superior functionality, adaption to modern owners’ needs and its refusal to conform.
Designer Sebastian Conran, one of the first to drive the new UK Nissan Cube said, "The first time I drove the Nissan Cube it was a surprisingly effortless and serene driving experience - you just quietly waft along. I felt a sense of freedom when I moved on from a Porsche to a Nissan Cube, smaller more maneuverable, better visibility, but in London more street presence [I still can't get used to people photographing me at the lights]. The interior feels spacious and comfortable with its wide un-bolstered seats almost similar to sitting at home on a sofa . The car overall embodies a Japanese DNA - exquisite attention to detail packed with thoughtful and practical features - it feels solid and safe too. With the reclining back seat and using the front fully reclined as leg support, this feels almost as luxurious as a Virgin Upper Class experience”
Alfonso Albaisa, Vice President of Nissan Design Europe, spearheaded the global Nissan design collaboration and spent two years making the Cube a reality. He says: “The Cube was not created with the petrol head in mind. This car is not about speed but about taking the time to experience life from A to B whilst appreciating your surroundings. Speed is not a factor. Having a discerning taste, an appreciation for design and function and not being afraid to stand out, is what Cube is about. This is obvious in its design right through to the person that’s in it.’
Cube Design Credentials
Designed to feel like a spacious, modern lounge, the Cube fuses an asymmetrical shape with an interior designed to evoke a feeling of serenity - an escape from the hustle and bustle of life.
The Cube exterior is a stand out statement in a sea of mainstream. It’s been created for an audience who appreciate detail. Even the colour palette breaks conformity; chocolate, sea turquoise, gray, pearl white, sapphire black, luminous red and blade.
The Cube looks deceptively compact with a sculptured boxy styled shape, matched with an ingenious asymmetrical rear door. The rear door curvature typifies Cube. The geometric circle shape in the square is Cube’s signature; no other car has this design. Inspired by a retro SMEG handle, the rear door opens like a refrigerator.
The A-pillars, positioned far outward and upright, give a wider range of forward visibility and the front door windows are patterned after a personal Japanese ‘photo frame’, creating an attractive and unique design profile.
The rear wheels, in the corner of the Cube, add agility and stability and create a curvaceous hip line. This stability suggests that the Cube, although centred on design excellence, also has a sturdy looking presence. This stance is described as a ‘bulldog in sunglasses’.
The interior was inspired by the look of a Jacuzzi soft curve, allowing driver and passengers to feel comfortable and relaxed. A ripple effect has been integrated into the interior's C-pillar, door-mounted audio speakers and even the cup holders giving it a resonating atmosphere.
To add to the interior’s sense of calmness, the Cube sunroof, with a Japanese inspired shoji-like screen, lets in ambient light when it's drawn closed.
To alleviate clutter, the Cube offers quirky and minimalist accessories including retro designed hooks for clothing and rubber bands to wrap around the car’s armrest to hold iPods or books. This was inspired by Issey Miyake’s flagship New York store which showcased his collection on rubber-footed steel tubes.
The Nissan Cube will be available in the UK from January 2010.