My hat is off to Nissan for introducing the all-new Nissan Murano AWD CrossCabriolet that they introduced in 2011. It takes imagination and guts to offer such a radial vehicle like none other before in the hot-selling crossover SUV segment.
Chevy did it first with the hardtop convertible pickup truck, the SSR (Super Sport Roadster), back in 2006 but stopped production in 2006 after only 24,150 vehicles were sold. Not enough to keep the ‘bean-counters’ happy. I loved the truck with a folding hardtop and real cargo box in the rear for cargo carrying convenience. After a week behind the wheel of the 2012 Murano AWD CrossCabriolet, I have come to enjoy it as much as I enjoyed the Chevy SSR driving with the sun in my face and the wind blowing in my hair.
With it’s never seen before design and custom boutique style, the Murano CrossCabriolet is unlike anything on the road-blending all of the things people love in a convertible-excellent visibility all-around and open air enjoyment. Its extraordinarily engineered fully automatic cloth top folds to about the size of a 2-seat roadster top, providing ample room for four adults and adequate cargo room with the top up or down. For 2012, the advanced Nissan Hard Drive Navigation system is now available.
The all-new Murano CrossCabriolet is designed to overcome the traditional functional limitations of a convertible-limited trunk space, a cramped back seat or none at all, and a lack of flexibility for everyday life. It overcomes these obstacles, combining elegant design and state-of-the-art engineering. One of the priorities in the convertible top design was the retention of the traditional Murano silhouette with the top up, and a luxurious, sophisticated appearance with the top down. It achieves both!
The transformation of the Murano body from a Crossover to CrossCabriolet and from 4-door to 2-door meant more than just removing the top. Along with creating new front doors (7.9 in. 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 the feeling of a wide-open interior environment even 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 versus 0.37 Cd.
One of the keys to the CrossCabriolet’s design’s success is the convertible top’s exceptionally compact size when stowed which allows both additional interior and cargo volume. 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 similar to that of a conventional 2-seat roadster. Trunk capacity with the top down is 7.6 cu.ft. enough to fit two sets of golf clubs or two carry-on suitcases. With the top closed, cargo capacity expands to 12.3 cu.ft.
Along with the unique convertible top appearance, the Murano CrossCabriolet exterior also includes HID/bi-functional xenon projector headlights with auto on/off function, front foglamps with Nissan 370Z inspired LED taillights. Other features include body-colored front/rear bumpers, chrome door handles, body-colored dual power/heated outside mirrors, and rear window defroster with timer. Along with convertible style, the CrossCabriolet offers a high ground clearance-7.2 in. of a Murano for easy entry and exit.
The luxurious Murano CrossCabriolet interior starts with a foundation of the top-of-the-line Murano LE and takes it to the next level of standard features and convenience items. 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. Premium materials are used throughout the interior with the standard diagonally quilted leather-appointed seats available in premium double-stitched leather for added elegance. The interior’s curving sculpted lines, half-matte chromed trim finish and unique wood-tone trim, tuned to match each of three available interior colors, add an additional rich quality feel.
The Murano CrossCabriolet is powered by the proven 3.5 liter DOHC CVTC V6 engine that pumps out 265 hp at 6,000 rpm and 248 lb.ft. of torque at 4,400 rpm, giving it excellent get-up-an-go acceleration and plenty of cruising power. It is hooked up to the Intelligent AWD CVT (continuously variable transmission) that pulls great and is very quiet, unlike other CVT trany’s.
As a result of the vehicle’s heavy curb weight of 4,438 lbs. the fully independent suspension is tuned soft with twin-tube struts and a 25mm solid stabilizer bar up front and a multi-link setup in the rear featuring twin-tube gas-charged shocks and a 20mm tubular stabilizer bar for limited lean for this high-riding Crossover SUV. You guide the new Murano CrossCabriolet using the excellent speed-sensitive power-assisted Rack & Pinion system with excellent feedback from the road surface and great on-center feel.
The vehicle rides on giant 8X20 in. aluminum alloy wheels wrapped with 235/55R20 in. all-season radial tires for excellent grip and a smooth ride.
Slowing the big Murano CrossCabriolet down from speed are large 4-wheel disc brakes. Up front are 12.6 in. vented discs clamped with dual-piston calipers and 12.1 in. vented discs clamped with single-piston calipers in the rear. Standard ABS, EBD and BA along with VSC and Traction Control help you maintain your chosen direction when braking hard on slick or wet pavement.
The vehicle comes fully equipped with a long list of standard features including 8-way power/heated driver’s seat with power lumbar support/4-way manual heated front passenger seat with easy entry function to the rear seats, heated steering wheel, 2-position driver’s seat memory system for seat, steering wheel and outside mirrors, passenger seatback easy entry release button on the instrument panel for driver access, driver/front passenger seatback map pockets, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, and Nissan Intelligent Key with push button start/stop.
Every 2012 Murano CrossCabriolet is also available with standard Bluetooth Hands-free Phone system, Homelink universal transceiver and rearview monitor, and an optional Nissan Hard Drive Navigation system with XM NavTraffic with Real-Time traffic information, XM NavWeather, Bluetooth Streaming audio, voice recognition and a 7 in. VGA touch screen. Open-air tunes are provided by a Bose AM-FM-CD audio system with 8-speakers including a subwoofer, automatic audio adjustment for soft-top up/down position, integrated interface system for iPod, speed sensitive volume control and auxiliary audio input jack and XM satellite radio. You’ll also see dual map lights and lighted dual vanity mirrors, cruise control and rain-sensing wipers.
Standard safety features include driver/front passenger airbags, side-impact airbags, side curtain airbags, active head restraints, tire pressure monitor, front/rear crumple zones, vehicle security system, Nissan vehicle immobilizer system, 3-point safety belts with front pretensioners/loaders and steel beams in each door.
While the all-new Nissan Murano AWD CrossCabriolet looks like a crossover SUV but it is really a cruiser-on the highway, in town, on the boulevard, or on the backroads, with the sun in your face and the wind in your hair. The rear seats do not fold down like a typical SUV but it is comfortable with the latest features to keep any cruising enthusiast happy.
COPYRIGHT: 2012: HARVEY SCHWARTZ