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The Nissan Cube is on its way out here in the US and Canada. In a way, that's too bad, simply because the Cube's styling was nothing if not distinctive - much like the company's own Juke. However, the flame for uniquely styled models is indeed still burning over at Nissan.
We might never see an exact replacement for the Cube in the brand's lineup, but product planning boss Andy Palmer says that its retirement leaves a spot open in the Nissan lineup for something else. "To be clear, we will morph this space in our portfolio into something iconic," said Palmer to Automotive News. Unfortunately, he wouldn't hint at what that could mean.
However, his lack of suggestions makes it fun to speculate about what oddity could replace the Cube, especially since two of Nissan's more recent quirky concepts might have problems hitting the road. The Bladeglider is mired in Nissan and Deltawing Technologies' ongoing patent lawsuit. Alternatively, the retro-inspired IDx might be too expensive to build profitably. Still, this is the company that created both the (nearly dead) Murano CrossCabriolet and the very successful Juke; it can probably come up with something else delightfully weird.
Two weeks into the budget-related government shutdown and it sounds like some progress is finally being made, but that doesn't really help furloughed government employees pay their bills. To help out a little, Nissan and Toyota are joining Hyundai with offering payment deferments to current owners and lessees.
In a release, a Nissan spokesperson said the company is "sympathetic to any of our customers who find themselves in difficult financial circumstances - many times outside of their control."
Both Japanese automakers are allowing payment extensions of up to 90 days without penalties or fees. Unlike the Hyundai Assurance Plan, though, it doesn't seem like the Nissan or Toyota assistance will be extended to those who are still in the buying process. Scroll down for press releases from both companies about their respective payment deferment programs.
The 2014 model year brings plenty of new designs and updates from Nissan - including the next-generation Rogue - but the Altima Coupe has been discontinued. The current generation of the Coupe won buyers over with sharp styling and, at one point, a 270-horsepower naturally aspirated V6 - the heart of the more upscale Infinity G37. It's unlikely that Nissan plans to make another one, but keep in mind the current Coupe was released to the public about a year after the sedan hit dealerships.
The vehicles joining Nissan's lineup for 2014 include the Versa Note hatchback, the NV200 Compact Cargo van and the next-generation Rogue compact SUV. Also new for 2014 is the Pathfinder Hybrid, but that will be added to the lineup in the fall.
Other models that are receiving enhancements are the sedan version of the Altima, which now comes standard with the CVT transmission and gets revised option packs; the Frontier, which gets updated option packs, enhanced navigation system functionality and a sliding middle rear window; the GT-R, which receives a bunch of small performance enhancements and, more importantly, initially will be offered in three versions (Premium, Black Edition and Track Edition), with another, limited special-edition model coming late in the year; the Versa sedan, all versions of which get 60/40-split fold-down rear seats and revised steering and suspension tuning; and last, but not least, the 370Z NISMO will have exterior accent color updates and a new steering wheel and tachometer.