Friday, April 22, 2011

Nissan Invents a New Niche: the Luxury SUV Convertible

You've got to give them points for creativity.

Nissan's admittedly unusual new convertible--the drop-top Murano CrossCabriolet--has an equally unusual aspiration... Nissan Division anticipates the vehicle will draw buyers not from the brand's normal mass-market competitors, Toyota, Honda and Hyundai, but from the luxury world of BMW, Audi, and Volvo.

...The convertible crossover, which will retail for $47,300 with shipping when it goes on sale next month, hopes to woo buyers of the Lexus RX crossover, BMW 3 series, and Audi A4... Those are normally the hunting grounds of Nissan's luxury sister brand, Infiniti. But there is little that's normal about the new Nissan model...

...Nissan Motor designers altered the Murano's four-door body into a two-door body to give it adequate rigidity to sport a convertible top. The result is a stylishly large four-passenger convertible with standard leather seats...

...Unlike a low-to-the-ground convertible roadster, the Murano is 66.2 inches tall with its top up. With 20-inch wheels, it has a step-in height of nearly 16 inches.

I suspect this is a real automotive niche -- after all, what's a soft-top Jeep Wrangler when it comes right down to it? -- but this may not be quite the right vehicle.

If I were putting together a convertible SUV, I'd probably start with something like a Toyota FJ Cruiser and add a simple drop-top.

No comments: