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First Drive: 2011 Nissan Murano

A comfortable highway cruiser with nimble urban moves.

by on Jul.08, 2011

The Nissan Murano is one of the most distinctive offerings in the midsize CUV segment.

Nissan joined the crossover game with the Murano in 2002, and since then, the Murano has spawned smaller clones such as the Rogue and the Juke urban ute in Nissan’s lineup.

The Murano was last redesigned in 2009, and for 2011 the big news is the addition of the CrossCabriolet convertible and the SV trim level.

The SV essentially slots between the base S and the mid-level SL, providing a touch of luxury without increasing the sticker price too much.

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Just a touch of luxury, though, since our SV all-wheel-drive tester still had cloth seats and did not offer a navigation system, which is only available on SL and LE models.

What the SV offers over the S is a moonroof, roof rails, fog lights, an 8-way power driver’s seat with power lumbar, a wireless cell phone link, an alarm system, a rearview camera, and satellite radio.


First Drive: 2011 Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet

Answering the unasked question.

by on Mar.22, 2011

The 2011 Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet reaches showrooms next month.

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.

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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.