The 2011 Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet was the convertible car no one expected. There are always surprises; you couldn’t have predicted how hardtop convertibles would take the market by storm for example, but a four wheel drive crossover SUV convertible? It sounds like one sub-category too many.
Nissan are however, quite serious about the Murano CrossCabriolet. It’s certainly something new and it looks an awful lot better than you would imagine. In a way it starts where the PT Cruiser left off. Funky but practical. With its convertible top, standard all-wheel drive and room for four adults plus cargo, the CrossCabriolet is good for all kinds of jobs.
According to Nissan: The impetus behind innovation is often as simple as asking questions not posed before, such as how do you overcome the functional limitations of a convertible? “Everyone loves the convertible experience, no one loves the convertible reality – compromised trunk space, a cramped back seat or none at all, and a lack of flexibility for everyday life. The Murano CrossCabriolet is the reinvention of versatility, encouraging people to rethink what a convertible can be.”
The transformation of the Murano body from Crossover to CrossCabriolet and from 4-door to 2-door meant more than just removing the roof. Along with creating new front doors (7.9 inches longer than 4-door Murano front doors) and eliminating the B-pillars, the structure has been reinforced from the A-pillar rearward. The cloth convertible top also includes a rear glass skylight, helping create a more open interior environment with the top in the closed position. Dual Pop-up Roll Bars are also standard. The coefficient of drag remains close to that of the hardtop Murano, just 0.39 Cd versus 0.37 Cd.
The tall windshield and A-pillar design combines with the body’s high beltline and high rear seat shoulders to help reduce conventional interior air turbulence with the top down, allowing conversation between occupants.
One of the keys to the CrossCabriolet’s design is the convertible top’s exceptionally compact size when stowed, which allows both additional interior and cargo volume (normally taken up by a traditional convertible stowage design). The hydraulically operated top mechanism includes an automatic power latch/unlatch system. Operation switches are located on the center console and driver’s door handle. With the top down, the stowed size is said to be similar to that of a conventional 2-seat roadster. Luggage capacity with the top down is 7.6 cubic feet, enough to fit two sets of golf clubs or two carry-on suitcases. With the top closed, cargo capacity expands to 12.3 cubic feet.
Every CrossCabriolet also comes with a standard Nissan Hard-Drive Navigation System with 9.3GB Music Box® hard drive and XM NavTraffic® (XM® subscription required, sold separately), Bluetooth® Hands-free Phone System, HomeLink® Universal Transceiver and RearView Monitor.
Premium materials are used within the interior, with the standard leather- appointed seats available in a diagonally quilted premium leather, double-stitched pattern for added elegance.
The drivetrain is shared with the all-wheel drive hardtop Murano, starting with the proven “D” platform (also utilized on Maxima and Altima sedans) and standard 3.5-litre 24-valve DOHC V6 producing 265 horsepower and 248 lb-ft of torque. The engine design includes the Nissan variable Induction Control System (NICS), twin knock sensors, low exhaust pressure, a 10.3:1 compression ratio, and 6,000 rpm redline.
The engine is mated to a standard second-generation Xtronic CVT™ with Adaptive Shift Control (ASC) for sporty response and smoothness, which utilizes an advanced, sport-tuned controller with adaptive logic for driving comfort or driving performance as conditions require. The all-wheel drive system connects the Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) system, yaw sensors, wheel slip sensors and steering angle sensors to distribute torque according to driving conditions.
The Murano CrossCabriolet’s lightweight 4-wheel independent suspension features MacPherson struts in front, a multi-link rear design, cradle-type front subframe and front and rear stabilizer bars. Also utilized are dual-flow path shock absorbers for responsiveness and reduced ride harshness.
Steering is provided by a twin-orifice vehicle-speed-sensitive power-assisted steering system, while the braking system includes 4-wheel vented disc brakes with Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), Brake Assist (BA) and Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD) and G-sensor. Every CrossCabriolet comes with 20-inch split 5-spoke titanium finish aluminum-alloy wheels with Toyo Proxes all-season tires.
Standard Murano CrossCabriolet safety features include the Nissan Advanced Air Bag System (AABS) with dual stage supplemental front air bags with seat belt sensors and an occupant classification sensor and door-mounted curtain side-impact supplemental air bags with rollover sensor, along with front seat belts with pretensioners and load limiters, Zone Body Construction with front and rear crumple zones, front seat Active Head Restraints, Tire Pressure Monitor System (TPMS), Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC), Traction Control System (TCS), Vehicle Security System (VSS) and Dual Pop-up Roll Bars.
Only two options are available with specific exterior colors – a Camel interior with upgraded leather and the black top, and the Brown top/Cashmere interior combination (with upgraded leather).
The Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet brings a new slant to convertible car driving but we wonder if it tries a little too hard to be all things to all people? It certainly promises much and given Nissan’s bravery for trying something new, we hope it delivers.
The 2011 Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet goes on sale in the USA from early 2011, plans for other regions have not been confirmed at time of writing.