For those who want to breeze down the highway in a distinctive and sizable convertible, top down and music blasting, Nissan’s 2012 Murano CrossCabriolet might be the perfect choice. Based on the Japanese automaker’s midsize Murano crossover, the 4-passenger CrossCabriolet, offered in this single Base trim, loses the hard top, as well as any sort of useable cargo space, and replaces these with a power-opening soft-top roof, standard all-wheel drive (AWD) and a funky profile that might be a bit hard to justify for the middling-size family on a budget.
In any case, stowage of the drop-top leaves only 12.3 cubic feet of cargo space in this quasi-crossover, but appearance amenities include 20-inch alloy wheels and heated power-adjustable mirrors. Leather upholstery, meantime, is complemented by a height-adjustable power driver’s seat with memory settings, as well as a leather and simulated alloy heated power telescoping and tilting steering wheel mounting audio and cruise controls, not to mention leather, simulated wood and chrome cabin trim accents. Of course, remote power door locks and power windows with remote operation also come standard.
A universal remote garage door opener, auto-dimming rear-view mirror and a rear-view camera are among further untraditional standard convenience offerings aboard this quirky convertible, while dual-zone auto climate control keeps everyone cool and comfy when unleavened sun becomes too much.
All of this posh is enhanced by a Bose premium audio system boasting a single-CD player, 8 speakers, satellite radio, an audio/visual display and a USB port. Finally, Bluetooth hands-free communications will keep all and sundry in close touch without distracting eyes from the road.
The hard-drive-based navigation system that used to be standard in last year's introductory edition of the Murano CrossCabriolet Base is now an option, as are carpeted floor mats in front and rear, splash guards and a couple of upgraded leather upholstery choices.
Powering this distinctive drop-top is a variable-valve-timed (VVT) 3.5-liter V6 engine that remains under the management of a silky continuously variable-speed transmission (CVT). Look for 265 hp and 248 lb-ft of torque from this well-wrought powertrain, with mileage estimated at 17 mpg city/22 highway (premium gas recommended). Finally, the intuitive AWD system allows front-wheel-drive (FWD) cruising under normal circumstances, while standing ready to automatically divert torque to all 4 wheels when surfaces become snow-laden or the terrain becomes muddy.
Standard safety equipment of note aboard the 2012 Murano CrossCabriolet Base includes 4-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), traction and stability control, front side-mounted airbags, front and rear head airbags, and front head restraint whiplash protection. Dusk-sensing xenon high-intensity-discharge (HID) headlights remain a standard safety item, as do front fog/driving lights, while a remote antitheft alarm adds its bit for security.