Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet

In a world where true risk-takers are in short supply, especially the automotive industry, it’s nice to see that there are still some creative minds at Nissan who are willing to go ""out on a limb."" Case in point: the Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet, the world’s first convertible SUV.

More on the Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet
Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet Origins

Twenty years before the CrossCabriolet baffled the critics and public alike, Nissan took a huge risk with its Axxess. Known by various names all over the world, the Axxess ran from 1988 to 1998 and was one of the first attempts by an auto maker to fashion a minivan. Dismal sales led to its eventual downfall, but as has been the case with Nissan’s undisputed innovativeness over the years, other car manufacturers were quick to copy Nissan’s lead.

So it’s not too surprising that Land Rover announced the launch of its own SUV convertible, the Evoque Convertible Concept car. While Land Rover hasn’t committed itself to actually building the Evoque yet, if the past is any indication of where things are headed, it’s a good bet that the folks over at Land Rover will try and succeed with an open-top SUV where Nissan failed with the Murano CrossCabriolet.

About the Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet

Undoubtedly bizarre and certainly expensive, the introduction of a convertible SUV by Nissan under the name CrossCabriolet as part of its 2011 line of vehicles took everyone by surprise.

Equipped with all-wheel drive, an elevated riding height that puts all on-board well above the average SUV, a four-passenger capacity, and plenty of trunk space, the two-door Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet is essentially a headless Nissan Murano with its rear doors missing and an extra eight to ten inches added on to its front doors.

Anytime the roof is removed from a car, its overall structure is compromised, with every single dip and bump in the road felt throughout. This takes on an added sense of concern when the top is missing from an SUV, which is a vehicle intended to handle rougher roads more smoothly.

So aside from the fact that the Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet’s powertrain is identical to its hard-top cousin the Murano, the real selling point of the CrossCabriolet and what sets it apart form any other car on the road is the one-of-a-kind experience you get just riding in it.

Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet Features

Now in its second year of production, the 2012 Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet is available in one trim only that comes standard with a respectable line of features: cruise control, keyless entry/ignition, leather seats that are heated and power adjustable, rear-view camera, seven-speaker Bose CD/stereo system, Bluetooth compatibility, satellite radio, and iPod/USB interface.

Owing its zero-to-60-mph rate of 8.2 seconds, which is slow because of its almost 5,000 pound curb-weight. The 3.5-liter V-6 engine is good for a sturdy 265 hp and 248 lb-ft of torque. The all-wheel drive/CVT Nissan CrossCabriolet has an EPA estimated fuel economy rating of 17/22 mpg city/highway. One tiny drawback: the CrossCabriolet takes premium gasoline only.

With long doors, getting in and out of the Murano CrossCabriolet in tight parking situations can prove tricky, but when it comes to a convertible with plenty of interior and trunk space, this Nissan takes top prize. All the usual and expected safety features are there as well: front-seat side airbags, door-mounted curtain airbags, anti-lock brakes, traction and stability control, and pop-up roll bars.

Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet Evolution

Sung round the world as the first all-wheel drive crossover convertible SUV, the Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet has no predecessors and no comparisons on- or off-road. But it's most likely that other car makers are busily prepping their own topless SUV models to hit the highways in the coming years.

The only mentionable changes from the 2011 to the 2012 model year are the deletion of a few once-standard features that are now optional: Bluetooth streaming audio and the touchpad navigation system.

Knowing full well that the Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet probably wouldn’t sell in large numbers, the move by Nissan to build the CrossCabriolet was, according to company, intended to get critics and car enthusiasts talking and help generate interest in the brand itself.

Select a Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet Year

2014 Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet

SUV, Utility/Offroad

2013 Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet

SUV, Utility/Offroad

2012 Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet

SUV, Utility/Offroad

Carrying most of the options from the Murano LE, the highest model level on the hardtop models, the Murano CrossCabriolet features leather, Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity, and heated seats. Where the seven-inch touch-screen hard drive-based navigation system was standard for 2011, it is now a standalone option for 2012--the only option outside of dealer-installed accessories and color choices.

2011 Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet

SUV, Utility/Offroad

It may seem like an odd car with a weird concept and appearance, but the 2011 Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet is sure to please shoppers that want an elevated-height ride with an enormous amount of legroom and trunk-storage space in a convertible.