2011 Nissan Cube review

For 2010, Nissan has added another trim level to the boxy Cube, the Krom (with a long O, pronounced "chrome"). The Cube is otherwise unchanged for 2010 (see them compared), and Kelsey Mays' 2009 Cube review details the lineup well. I'll concentrate on the new Krom.

In short, the Krom turns the affordable Cube into a more distinctive and definitively less affordable Cube, whose higher price I suspect will turn off many, many buyers. It also has a dorky name. Chrome with a K? It's no better than the Kia Forte Koup (coupe). Why do automakers do this?

At $20,440, the Krom adds a whopping $6,450 over the suggested retail price of the base Cube 1.8. Perhaps more relevant, it's $2,990 more expensive than the closest trim level, the 1.8 SL. Here's what it gets you: The bumpers are more prominent, adding almost an inch to the car's length, and the grilles are chrome. Sill extensions give the Krom a lowered look, and the 16-inch alloy wheels are specific to the trim level, being — you guessed it — chromed. (The SL also has 16-inch alloys, but they aren't chromed.) The Krom also has a spoiler atop its rear swing gate.

The interior has exclusive black and gray seat fabric, aluminum pedals and titanium-tone trim around the vents and gear selector. The Krom is also the only version to get steering-wheel stereo controls. Standard features that are optional on the 1.8 SL include a backup camera, which employs a small display in the dashboard, and keyless access.

The Krom is as much an enigma as the regular Cube, if not more so. I don't know if it's their styling that makes the Cube's boxy-car competitors more universally appealing, or the fact that the Scion xB has been around longer and has become old hat. See how the Cube, xB and Kia Soul fared in our Cars.comparison of 2009 models.

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