Today Autoweek posts a comparison of the Volvo 240 and the Nissan Cube. The author begins by saying “Much has been made of the demise of the market for the truly awful car.” I assume he is conflating the awful with the unusual, but I don’t really think they’re the same thing. While the 240 may have been unusual, saying that it’s awful is just plain wrong, and puts our beloved bricks in league with the Pontiac Aztec. Does he really want to go there?
The article outlines an imagined competition between the 240 and the Cube, brought together by their boxy shape. “Experience has shown that if you ask the average 3-year-old to draw a car, he or she will come up with something remarkably similar to either the Brick or the Cube.” Ultimately the Volvo wins out by virtue of its longevity and unassuming style.
The lifespan of a 240 is essentially unlimited. With cylinder bores lined in a mixture of titanium, Kevlar and diamond dust, a Volvo B23 engine with 200,000 grand on it probably equates to Nissan 1.8-liter with 19,000 miles on it. Show me a Cube with a million miles on the clock and we’ll talk, but I suspect that if that ever happens, you’ll be holding a séance to let me know.