Technically, the Cube is a mini multi-purpose vehicle produced by Nissan for the Japnese market since 1998 and now sold in export markets. Philosophically, it is a descendant of the quirky "Pike" cars, limited edition microcars with whimsical names like the snail-shaped S-Cargo van that captivated Japan during the bubble economy years of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Nearly half as wide as it is long, it boasts an admirably-efficient footprint and might have competed for New York's taxi of the future. The Cube's flat-roofed, square-cornered style hasn't translated into English very well; the closest American parallel is the equally slow-selling Ford Flex.
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Last updated May 19 2011: 8:16 AM ET