The Murano CrossCabriolet is a strange vehicle: an SUV convertible. Based on a high-trim Murano, the CrossCabriolet version gets a V-6, all-wheel drive, and a continuously variable transmission.

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The front of the car looks just like any other Murano, but its profile gets weird. A normal Murano has a hatchback, but this one has a trunk, designed to hold the soft top.

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The engine is a 3.5-liter V-6 using variable valve timing to produce 265 horsepower. That output is not impressive these days, as other manufacturers exploit direct injection and forced induction.

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Where the Murano CrossCabriolet claims a unique character is its open top and high riding position. It is an interesting way to look out at the world. The rear seat is spacious for a four-seat convertible.

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The power folding top hides itself away in the trunk when not in use. When up, it does not wholly insulate the cabin from wind noise.

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The suspension is tuned for a soft ride, suitable for open-top cruising.

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The Murano's standard all-wheel drive is biased toward the front wheels, as the Murano is a front-wheel-drive platform. But the system has a differential lock button, useful for particularly slippery road surfaces.

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With the top folded down, the trunk space is somewhat compromised.

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The rear seats are configured as two buckets, rather than a bench. The Murano CrossCabriolet is designed specifically for a maximum of four passengers.

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The only options available for the Murano CrossCabriolet are dealer-installed accessories. All the factory equipment, including navigation, is included.

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The steering feel is very neutral in this car, relatively easy to turn without being overboosted.

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Because of the continuously variable transmission, the shifter is set up very simply. In addition to Drive and Reverse, there is also a Low range for hill descents.

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The cabin tech interface works very easily, the large center dial making it easy to choose menu items. The LCD is also a touch screen, adding to the methods of selecting cabin tech features.

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The hard-drive-based navigation system includes some 3D-rendered buildings to use as landmarks in urban areas.

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Zagat reviews are included in the points-of-interest database, making it easy to find good restaurants.

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Traffic data is used by the navigation system to dynamically adjust routes.

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Weather data is included in the cabin tech suite, and the system will automatically display weather alerts.

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The Bluetooth phone system not only reads a paired handset's contact list, but also includes a vehicle phone book.

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The car includes a number of audio sources, from iPod to USB to the internal hard drive. The music library interface is easy to use.

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XM Satellite Radio shows graphic icons for channels, and has a feature that lets you bookmark the current artist or song so it can alert you if that artist or song is playing on another station.

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Nissan has one of the best rearview cameras around, as it includes distance and trajectory lines.

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