Choosing a small car these days is by no means a sign of a lowly status in the company vehicle pecking order.
Downsizing has been made more palatable for drivers by the range of big-car features available on smaller models, as well as huge improvements in comfort and refinement.
Although mainstream small cars still fall into the ‘supermini’ category, many allow user-choosers to express a degree of personality.
Latest in this category in the UK is a car that has achieved cult status in Japan, but has recently been engineered as a global product.
The Cube seems unnecessarily square, and looks larger than its dimensions suggest. It’s actually shorter than a Renault Clio or Vauxhall Corsa, but its flat sides and tall body mean it’s exceptionally roomy.
It smacks of urban chic and although different from cars like the Fiat 500 and Mini in terms of its size and on-road behaviour, the Cube is available with a vast array of options and accessories.
This month the car becomes available with the Renault-Nissan Alliance’s 1.5 dCi engine with 106bhp, but will most likely be the favoured model among fleet customers.
The 110bhp 1.6-litre engine is lively enough – available either with a five-speed manual or optional CVT auto – and feels responsive around town.
All models are well equipped, but the higher-grade Kaizen model comes with sat-nav, climate control, auto headlamps and wipers, and a rear-view camera for reversing.
Nissan thinks about one-third of the 2,000 units allocated to the UK in a year will go to fleets and, given this relatively low volume, residual values for this endearing car will be strong.
The Cube’s appeal is in its ability to stand out and give people an alternative to traditional small cars.
Not for everyone, but those able to choose one will love its individuality.