Nissan Cube - the used buy of the year?
Only last January experts from trade price book CAP claimed the strange-looking Cube would retain an impressive 45 per cent of its value after three years.
However now, just 18 months later, one-year-old cars are selling for less than half their original purchase price!
Nissan was so impressed with CAP's original forecast for the Cube's valuations that it issued a press release titled "Cube Squares The Residual Value Circle". In it the maker claimed the Cube would be a "residual value winner".
Sadly that wasn't to be. A 10-plate Cube – which had an original purchase price of nearly £15,000 – can now be had for just over £6,500. That's certainly bad news for those that bought new, but does it now make it the bargain used buy of the year?
Although it had looks that split opinion, the Cube was well-specified and actually good fun to drive. Throw in decent reliability and the majority still benefiting from a manufacturers warranty and they start to make a lot of sense.
We asked experts from CAP and Glass's Guide – the two car valuations bibles used by the trade – if they thought the Cube was now a good second-hand buy.
"The Cube is a great little car, well built, reliable and different," said Mark Bulmer, CAP Black Book research editor, who didn't comment on their original forecasts.
"Unfortunately the latest model arrived in this country many years after it had been available in other markets and Nissan struggled to sell them especially at a price which was just too high at £15,000. This car should have retailed new at £12995.
"I do think car speculators might find a niche for it. If you want something different that won't age and yet remain reliable for not a lot of cash, this car might appeal to you."
Fellow CAP editor Tim Bearder said the Cube is now a "real bargain" but admitted that it was such an unusual car it has only a "select following". And Glass's Guide car editor Jonathan Brown said it was now in a "value for money scenario".
One Nissan dealer told us he'd had a lot of interest in the Cubes he's selling from companies looking to advertise their business using the car.
"We're finding buyers are interested in using Cubes for marketing – they get a lot of attention and the fact they're such a bargain now makes sense," said the dealer who wished to remain anonymous.
"The problem was they were too expensive new. We've had to discount them over and over again. Now they're cheaper and better equipped than new Micras by some margin we're starting to see interest. I think they're the bargain of the year myself – but then I would say that..."