PHOTO: Scott Jacobs / INSIDE LINE

It had to happen, given the fundamental laws of nature governing rivalries: Inside Line has done a playful side-by-side comparison of the Nissan Cube and the Scion xB. JDM-spec Cube did not fare exactly well against the US-market Scion (which it won't compete directly against, anyway). The Nissan's 1.4L four is perfectly adequate for the crowded streets of Tokyo but is taxed on American roads, as the Cube takes 13.8 seconds to go from 0 to 60. Based on Inside Line's impressions, a quarter mile run down the drag strip might well be measurable in the amount of beard growth you experience along the way. To be fair, one could easily argue that the quarter-mile time of a runabout like Nissan Cube is about as relevant to its target audience as the off-roading capabilities of the Chevy Corvette are to its prospective buyers. Still, when compared directly to the Cube, Inside Line finds the Scion better-suited to handle the average American's daily driving needs without relying on wide-open throttle as often as possible. That last bit manifests itself at the pump as Inside Line only squeezed around 22 mpg out of Nissan's microcar.

Aesthetically, Inside Line notes that the Cube's funky, asymmetric style makes the larger Scion xB look normal by comparison. Inside, the itsy bitsy Nissan provides flexibility in terms of passenger and cargo-carrying capacity, and it has some neat, thoughtful features like a coat rack in the rear storage compartment. Still, Inside Line feels that an eventual US-market Cube (there could be an announcement made next month in New York) would have to grow in size and power to better fit in, much like the '08 xB is larger than its predecessor. Sure, not everyone likes the fact that the 2nd-gen xB got bigger (us included), but when the Cube arrives, it'll have a clean slate since Americans won't have a prior model to compare it against. Assuming Nissan delivers a US-spec Cube that doesn't lose the the current car's quirky Japanese charm and delivers good fuel economy, the xB's gonna have a real fight on its hands in a couple of years. Read Inside Line's comparo in full here.

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[Source: Inside Line]