2011 Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet AWD

Matt Tierney

If SUVs and crossovers effectively have replaced full-size cars in the U.S. marketplace, then the Nissan Murano Cross Cabriolet is the Chevy Caprice convertible or the Ford LTD droptop of today. Like those big boats of yesteryear, the Murano Cross Cabriolet is a convertible for those who want to take along four people in relative comfort on their al fresco excursions.

And indeed, the chopped-top Murano is plenty comfortable. There is sufficient space in the back for two six-foot tall adults (two, not three, as a plastic cupholder/console thing knocks out the center seating position). Getting back there is an easy process but a slow one. It's easy because of the huge front doors and because the high stance means you don't have to duck down to get in; it's slow because the driver's seatback powers forward ever-so-slowly to get out of the way. Whether in front or back, this Murano serves up near-Infiniti levels of interior niceness, with richly padded surfaces and oversize chairs covered in soft leather.

Aside from been a roomy place to catch the breeze, the Murano also recalls those XXXL American convertibles with its "What, me worry?" attitude towards structural rigidity. You can feel it when you shut one of those big doors, and there's plenty of jiggle in this Murano's step out on the road. Perhaps the likely buyers, who I imagine will be sunbelt retirees, won't notice. But how many will be able to get past the...um...unconventional styling?

Joe Lorio, Senior Editor

The Murano CrossCabriolet has remarkable damping. The ride remains pillowy soft over all types of pavement yet doesn't feels floaty. It's never harsh, even when encountering canyon-like potholes, mountainous heaves, and patchwork freeways. But the magic isn't all in the suspension tuning. A large part of the Murano's constant calm has to do with the spongy-soft body structure that absorbs any unpleasantness that make it past the springs and shocks.

As a consequence, you'll feel the chassis jiggle and wiggle through the steering column over every bump. If you're looking at the windshield header, you'll notice it constantly shimmying over road imperfections. And with the top up, the whole roof dances when you cross something as jarring as a railroad crossing. These days, every manufacturer of a coupe/convertible duo brags that the body structure was designed from the outset with the intention of cutting the roof off. Based on the flex of this Murano, I'm going to guess that not even Nissan knew that they'd be building the automotive anomaly that is the CrossCabriolet when the Murano was first planned.

Eric Tingwall, Associate Editor

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