In the past, there were a few concepts of a convertible SUV, but no carmaker took it into production and I always wondered why, because I loved almost every concept. But that’s history now, because at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show Nissan unveiled the production-ready 2011 Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet.
“When people think of a crossover, they think of a combination of the driving sophistication of a sedan with the utility of a sport utility. This new Murano CrossCabriolet adds an unexpected third element, the ability to make everyday activities more exciting with open air driving,” said Al Castignetti, vice president and general manager, Nissan Division, Nissan North America, Inc. “However, 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.”
Of course, transforming an SUV into a convertible was not an easy job, especially when you have to consider all safety requirements, but apparently Nissan managed to do it. The most important changes include the new doors (2 instead of 4), which are 7.9 inches longer than the Murano’s front doors, reinforced structure from the A-pillar rearward to make up for the B-pillars which are now gone and dual Pop-up Roll Bars.
As for the top, Nissan chose a cloth canvas that also includes a rear glass skylight which gives the interior a lot of light and space and is also very compact sized, in order to keep luggage space at a decent size. This means trunk capacity is 12.3 cubic feet with the top closed and 7.6 cubic feet with the top down, similar in size with a regular 2-seat roadster.
Under the bonnet, the CrossCabriolet is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 with Nissan’s variable Induction Cotrol System, delivering 265 hp and 248 lb-ft of torque, mated to an automatic Xtronic CVT transmission with Adaptive Shift Control.
On the exterior, the Murano CrossCabriolet will come with a choice of six exterior colors, Sunset Bronze and Caribbean (exclusive for the model) and the regular Merlot, Platinum Graphite, Super Black and Pearl White, chrome door-handles, body-colored mirrors, HID (High Intensity Discharge) bi-xenon headlights and 370Z inspired LED taillights.
As for the interior, customers will have plenty of choices, including premium materials for the upholestry, 8-way heated driver’s seat, heated steering wheel, Nissan Intelligent Key with Push Button Ignition, Nissan Hard-Drive Navigation with 9.3 GB Music Box, 8-speaker Bose audio system and XM Satellite Radio.
“The versatility and functionality of a true all-wheel drive crossover, the unique open air driving experience of a pure convertible – the Murano CrossCabriolet is a breakthrough in concept, design and execution,” said Castignetti. “Innovation meets Murano with stunning results.”
After its LA debut, the Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet is scheduled to go on sale in the United States in early 2011. No pricing has been announced, but Nissan will probably do that closer to launch date.