2011 Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet AWD

Matt Tierney

A disconcerting thought occurred to this twenty something, gasoline-veined writer as the top lowered on this powder-blue, 4438-pound freak of automotive design: I uh, kinda like it.

In theory, adding the impracticality and added weight of a convertible to a high riding and already bulky crossover isn't a formula for success. Indeed, that's the reality as well. The Murano's butch styling hardly helps matters.

And yet, I can hardly claim not to have enjoyed tooling around in this creation. Like the Cube and Juke before it, the CrossCab somehow doesn't look quite as bad as it should. If the Cube looks like a bulldog wearing sunglasses, the CrossCab might be a walrus wearing a toupee. It also drives pretty well, at least when viewed purely as a cruiser. It goes down the road quite comfortably, the Jello in its body structure filtering out the few bumps and potholes that get through the softly sprung suspension. The ubiquitous VQ V-6 has its work cut out here, and gets little help from the CVT automatic, but its 265 hp is enough to keep acceleration respectable around town. Credit goes to Nissan engineers and designers -- remember, this wasn't their idea -- for making a concept so inherently unworkable almost work.

Americans have a history buying some pretty awful cars - Chrysler LeBarons, four-cylinder Fox-body Mustangs, Pontiac Sunfires -- for the joy of lowering the roof on a sunny day. The CrossCab does deliver that wind-in-your-hair experience. It's also genuinely different. We as auto journalists ask for different all the time only to point and laugh like middle school bullies when an automaker actually dares to deliver it. I won't. I like the Murano CrossCabriolet. Now, please excuse me while I search for my Man Card.

David Zenlea, Assistant Editor

The Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet is destined to go down in history as the most stupid vehicle of 2011. It's confounding that Nissan is even building this car. It flexes and shakes over bumps due to its lack of structural rigidity caused by the huge aperture for the convertible roof, and the ride height serves no useful purpose other than to make the CrossCabriolet look ridiculous and be less efficient.

Rear visibility is marginal at best. Front and side visibility is okay. The cabin is overwhelmed by the huge mass of dashboard but, that said, the interior is beautifully finished, and the front seats are very comfortable. There's a decent amount of trunk room even with the top down. But what, exactly, is the purpose of this ugly thing?

Joe DeMatio, Deputy Editor

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