Full 2013 Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet Review
What's New for 2013
For 2013, the Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet carries on unchanged.
Sometimes, there's a fine line between genius and insanity. And it looks as if that's right where the 2013 Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet resides. Combining the attributes of a crossover SUV with the open-air fun of a convertible, the CrossCabriolet may strike you as either the answer to a question nobody asked, or the greatest automotive idea in decades.
The brilliant side of the CrossCabriolet is clear just from the advantages it offers over most every other convertible for sale. These include a spacious rear seat where two adults can ride in comfort, a relatively large trunk that still provides plenty of capacity even with the top folded down and a relatively high, "command of the road" seating position that has helped make crossover SUVs so popular. There's also standard all-wheel drive that makes this fun-in-the-sun Murano spin-off a true four-season drop top.
The questionable side of this Nissan comes into play when you consider the styling and price. The former is undeniably odd, while the latter is hefty. To be fair, the CrossCabriolet comes in a single, loaded trim level, and similarly equipped vehicles from premium brands can cost even more. Offering a more affordable, front-wheel-drive version with fewer bells and whistles could conceivably boost its appeal, but for 2013, the Murano convertible remains AWD only.
There are several other convertibles to consider at this price point, and plenty of other SUVs, but there's nothing quite like the 2013 Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet. Sure, the 2013 Jeep Wrangler is a convertible SUV as well, but that's like comparing appletinis and Orange Crush. Frankly, the CrossCabriolet is so unique that the folks at Nissan are either visionaries or absolutely nuts. Perhaps they're a little bit of both.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2013 Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet is a two-door, four-passenger convertible version of the regular Murano crossover SUV.
It's available in only one loaded trim level that comes standard with 20-inch alloy wheels, automatic xenon headlights, foglamps, heated mirrors, a fully powered soft top and keyless ignition/entry. Inside, it gets automatic dual-zone climate control, cruise control, leather upholstery, heated front seats, an eight-way power driver seat with power lumbar adjustment, driver memory functions, a heated and power-adjustable tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, an auto-dimming mirror, a rearview camera, Bluetooth phone connectivity and a seven-speaker Bose audio system with a CD player, satellite radio and an iPod/USB audio interface.
The only options are upgraded leather upholstery and a navigation system with a touchscreen interface, real-time traffic and weather updates and Bluetooth streaming audio.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2013 Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 265 horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque. All-wheel drive and a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) are standard.
In Edmunds performance testing, the CrossCabriolet went from zero to 60 mph in 8.2 seconds -- just 0.3 second slower than the regular Murano. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 17 mpg city/22 highway and 19 mpg combined. Unlike the regular Murano, which takes regular gas, the CrossCabriolet prefers premium fuel.
The 2013 Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet comes standard with antilock brakes, traction and stability control, pop-up roll bars, front-seat side airbags, door-mounted side curtain airbags and active front head restraints.
In Edmunds brake testing, the CrossCabriolet came to a stop from 60 mph in 124 feet: an average distance for an SUV-sized vehicle.
Interior Design and Special Features
Convertibles are not supposed to be spacious. The people who end up riding in back are usually either children or adults who lost a round of Rock-Paper-Scissors. However, the CrossCabriolet is different from almost all other convertibles because it does indeed offer legitimate hip- and legroom in a backseat that will accommodate two adults. It is not just spacious for a convertible; it's spacious, period. The doors are long, though, so entry and exit can be tricky in parking lots. We also don't find the tinny, insubstantial sound the doors produce when you bang them closed to be particularly becoming for a vehicle that costs nearly $50,000 when new.
On the upside, the CrossCab's 12.3-cubic-foot trunk is quite large for a convertible. Even with the top lowered, it easily holds two stacked golf bags and a sizable suitcase. Many convertibles struggle to match that with the roof raised.
Otherwise, the 2013 Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet shares its cabin with a fully loaded regular Murano. The dash design is identical, with the same well-sorted electronics controls, and overall quality is strong. The seats are comfortable and most people should find the driving position ideal.
The CVT of the CrossCabriolet does a good job of keeping the powerful V6 in its sweet spot without the sort of drone typically associated with other CVT-equipped vehicles. And while the CrossCabriolet looks wildly different, it handles much like a conventional Murano, with commendable body control and steering that's well weighted. Still, compared to just about any convertible car, the CrossCabriolet feels like a lumbering pachyderm around corners. The ride is reasonably compliant, though the standard 20-inch wheels don't exactly make things supple.
We'll remind you that slicing off the roof of any vehicle weakens its structure, so there's an engineering challenge in minimizing the consequences. And while Nissan has reinforced the CrossCabriolet's structure, bigger bumps still send vibrations through the steering wheel and make the windshield header wiggle from side to side. Compared to other modern convertibles, this Nissan's structure is a little flaccid, and this detracts slightly from the fun of open-air motoring in it.