The last time I made the trip from the suburbs to Hotel ZaZa down in Dallas was over a year and a half ago to photograph the Infiniti Essence Concept car. Last week I received a message saying I should come to Hotel ZaZa again and take a look at the new Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet. Since I had only seen pictures, I made sure to carve out some time to head down there.
I arrived at Hotel ZaZa and almost immediately hopped in the CrossCabriolet for a drive around uptown Dallas. It was a quick drive, but I did get to experience a healthy mixture of road surfaces and speeds. The CVT transmission took a bit of getting used to at first, as it didn’t seem to have much power from a stoplight. However, the eight or so seconds to sixty miles per hour should be sufficient for the sunny day cruiser audience to whom this vehicle is aimed.
The suspension soaked up bumps and kept the 4400 lb. convertible CUV relatively flat around corners at moderate speeds. My only concern was a good bit of chassis vibration causing flex in the A-pillars and windshield. This couldn’t be felt much at all, however, it was quite visible when traversing rough pavement like the brick surface of McKinney Avenue. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the opportunity to gauge the AWD system, but historically, the Nissan systems work very well. Overall, the driving experience was pleasing, uneventful, and lived up to precisely what the average buyer will expect.
Driving the CrossCabriolet provided a bit more attention than I like to receive. It was quickly apparent that people are not only curious, but really like CrossCabriolet’s styling. I lost count of how many people literally stopped and stared, smiled, pointed, and even prodded their significant other to take a look. It was surprising, really. I took that time to act like I didn’t notice and explored the cabin a bit. The CrossCabriolet interior was a pleasant place to spend a day of top-down cruising. I only spent about 30 seconds at highway speeds, but the wind and noise levels seemed low enough to easily hold a conversation without raising your voice. Whether back seat passengers would have the same experience remains to be seen, but at least the back seat had ample room for even tall adults. The materials were of mixed quality. It was certainly a step above most of the Nissan line but short of making Infiniti nervous.
There is no question the Murano CrossCabriolet is a bit of a different breed. I‘m not sure many CUV owners have ever wished they could chop off the roof, but the CrossCabriolet has now provided this option. Nissan seems to be forging a road full of risks lately, several of which appear to be paying off. While I am not particularly a fan of the CrossCabriolet styling, I think this is one of those beneficial risks. My quick drive may have even proven that to be true. The Nissan CrossCabriolet may not be for everyone, but it is apparent many already love it.
Click here for the 2011 Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet Photo Gallery