There are some quirky thinkers within Renault-Nissan's engineering staff. Who else but the zany French minds behind the Renault Avantime -- a four-seat, two-door, minivan-based gran turismo -- could think to build a convertible out of a midsize crossover?
Remarkably, there may be some method to the madness. As was the case with the Avantime, transforming such a large four-door vehicle into a two-door coupe provides ample leg- and shoulder room for rear-seat passengers. And, for those who love both open skies and the raised stance of an SUV, this is about the only way to get both, other than the barebones Jeep Wrangler.
One warning: you will be noticed in this vehicle. Heads turn every time you drop the top, and the comments -- many of them remarkably unpleasant - are immediately forthcoming. Raising the top won't necessarily help things, as Nissan's folding-top design doesn't offer much in the way of noise abatement.
Evan McCausland, Associate Web Editor
After reading David's comments, I feel much better about the Murano CrossCabriolet -- that is, it's nice to know that I'm not alone on the Automobile Magazine staff in my lack of enmity for Nissan's for the two-door, convertible SUV.
Most importantly, it needs to be remembered that this is not a sports car, has no dynamic intentions, and is made more for cruising and garnering looks than for hot laps. I received only one thumbs-down, I had two women gushing over the car, and I got more puzzled looks than I could count. Honestly, I quite like the look of the CrossCab; it has a great fun factor to it because it is just so utterly strange and ridiculous. Every time anyone laid eyes on the car the CrossCab evoked an opinion, something that few cars do anymore.
Because it is such a conversation piece and so unlike anything else on the road, the CrossCabriolet is fun. Yes, fun. That's what this car is -- it's about fun and a certain type of joie de vivre that goes with both making a splash and putting the top down on a starry night and just going for a drive.
Donny Nordlicht, Associate Web Editor