Marching Orders: Nissan's March minicar is tons of fun to drive Nissan's March 12SR is small, fun and should be sold here. By MARK VAUGHN (08:30 June 15, 2004) NISSAN HAS ALREADY announced plans to bring its cute, cuddly little Cube to the U.S. market to do battle with the slightly edgier Scion xB and the coming Honda Fit. Small is beautiful now. Though no official arrival date has been released, we expect the Cube to get here with the current model’s redesign in 2006. Specifically, that will likely be a variation of the Cube called the Cube Cubic or Cube3, the stretched version of Nissan’s B-class Cube econobox with a third row of seats. That’s well and good, but here’s another twist: The Nissan March is also a B-class car, and the March is tons of fun to drive. It would make sense to bring it in, especially if it was marketed together with the Cube aimed at capturing the youth market (where in the Scion universe have we heard this before?). Speculation on this product plan for Nissan arose during a recent drive of the March. Nissan gathered together a phalanx of its global cars and trucks for the world press to evaluate, from NISMO-tuned Sentras to big-box vans called Elgrand. Our favorite was the March. We drove two March versions. The first was a torque-happy, 1.5-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel European Micra, the name March uses in Europe. The Nissan product planner from France would not stop talking about what a great car it is, and how it seats four comfortably, and how the 136 lb-ft of torque is phenomenal. All that is true. But he didn’t point out that the diesel fuel for it had to be shipped in from France because our diesel is so crude the car might choke on it. Our second drive was in a hot-rodded Japan-market March called the 12SR, the same car our Japanese correspondent gushed over earlier this year (Jan. 5). The ultra-cute three-door weighs a pinch more than 2000 pounds and its 1.2-liter four-cylinder puts out 107 hp and 99 lb-ft of torque. It is sporty in much the way a Mini is sporty. It constantly reminds you of the adage that it’s more fun to drive a slow car fast than a fast car slow. It’s so much fun, in fact, that a racing series for 12SRs in Japan exists that we’d like to enter. Or start one over here when the cars arrive, whenever that may be. The March is successful in Asia and in Europe, with 123,709 units sold in Japan alone in 2003. Since it’s a B-class car, as is the coming Cube model, why not convert both to U.S. specs and capture that elusive youth market? Cost constraints? Nissan posted record operating profits for fiscal year 2003 of $7.29 billion. Come on, Nissan, siphon off some profit and make the entry-level segment fun again in the U.S. market. March on!