Putting the top down (a process that's fully automatic but requires that the car be completely stopped) deactivates the navigation system's excellent voice-recognition system. The LCD touch screen is virtually invisible in the morning sunlight's glare, so it can't help us find the beach. Typing an address wouldn't have worked, anyway, since Nissan's heavy-handed lawyers have locked out all useful functions while the vehicle is in motion. Pulling over to enter an address, we take solace in the knowledge that, if we get rear-ended while sitting on the side of an interstate under a shady overpass, the Murano CC can choose to deploy its front, side, or side curtain air bags, and maybe even the two pyrotechnic pop-up roll bars in the rear headrests.
Once under way again, we're fairly cozy, because the CrossCabriolet has heated front seats and a heated steering wheel. Sadly, they become warm only momentarily and then inexplicably stop producing heat. On top of that, since there's no available wind blocker, there's a big breeze coming from the back, even at L.A.'s grindingly slow rush-hour speeds.
Still, like all convertibles, the Murano CC captures the magic of open-air motoring, and arriving at the beach with the top down is a quick reminder that life is good. So, yes, when the weather beckons, this Murano offers a response. It says you can't bring your friends if they're thirsty, because the cooler won't fit in the trunk. And you can't surf. That's a response all right, but it's not the one we were hoping for.
QUESTION 2: Can you take a weekend getaway to the mountains with confidence?
Even though the sun is shining and we're on the beach, there's a winter storm warning in effect -- the perfect time to load up the skis and head to the mountains. This is the quintessential SUV scenario, the one that every marketer has dreamed of -- and the CrossCabriolet should be able to perform this task with ease. After all, it's a crossover (that's where the "cross" in its name comes from), and it has standard four-wheel drive and a powerful V-6.