Wednesday, November 17, 2010

LA Show 2010: Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet Tries to Start a New Crossover Niche

In an attempt to one-up Mercedes' 4-door coupe segment, Nissan has created the mass-market 4-door convertible crossover segment. Unwrapped at the LA Show today, the Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet, which should appear on lots in early 2011, is a study in being everything to just about everyone.

Nissan says the Murano CossCab resolves the issues surrounding the convertible condition, meaning "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."

We shall see, but overall the concept it just about as neat as neat can be: 2 doors (thankfully), a convertible top, AWD, and funkadelic love-me/hate-me styling. It even blends into the Nissan family lineup nicely.

Power comes from Nissan's award-winning 3.5 liter V6 which makes 265 horsepower and 248 lb-ft of torque (up 5 hp and 4 lb-ft from the Murano), while the standard transmission is a second-generation Xtronic CVT driving all four wheels.

To appear more like a proper convertible, the doors were extended a whopping 7.9 inches to eliminate the need for four of them; the crossover also has pop-up roll bars and a cloth top with an integrated glass rear window.

Nissan did what it could to counteract the storage stigma that comes with owning a convertible: with the cloth top down, the CrossCab has 7.6 cubic feet of storage space, and that expands to 12.3 cubic feet with the top up.

The interior has standard leather seating surfaces, as well as other features found on the regular Murano (heated steering wheel, seat memory, Bose sound system, etc.). In fact, Nissan says there are only two options: a Camel-toned leather interior with a black top, or a Cashmere interior with a brown top.

Nissan NA's Nissan VP and general manager Al Castignetti says, "With its extraordinarily engineered convertible top, standard all-wheel drive and room for four adults plus cargo, the CrossCabriolet is not just for cruising South Beach or Malibu. It's a vehicle to take to lunch, running errands or on a long ski weekend in any part of the country...[It] adds...the ability to make everyday activities more exciting with open air driving."

By Phil Alex


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