Is it a stroke of genius or the answer to a question no one asked? That’s what I was left wondering after getting my first close-up look at the new Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet.
There’ve been plenty of innovations in the convertible world, in recent years, notably the introduction of the fold-away hardtop, which operates like some magical metal origami. But the Nissan CC, as many are bound to call it, goes in a distinctly different direction.
Unless your definition stretches to include the awkward, ungainly and largely unloved Chrysler PT Cruiser Convertible, Nissan has come up with the world’s first crossover convertible. The Murano CrossCabriolet is certainly distinctive, and it fills a niche that nobody else has yet targeted. But whether that matters was the other question I set out to answer during a day of driving through the Nashville countryside near the Japanese maker’s U.S. headquarters.
Nissan has a history of doing things differently, dating back to the days when it stamped “Datsun” on the back of its product. The original Murano itself was a significant addition to the then-emerging crossover-utility vehicle segment. Where other makers played it safe, making their car-based CUVs look like conventional sport-utility vehicles, Nissan opted for a sleekly rounded shape that was more sports car than sport-ute.