With the plethora of choices out there, you’re bound to come across vehicles whose performance and styling disappoint. Nissan is no stranger to that concept. The automaker has produced a few cars that have let people down.
One model from 2011 to 2014 is arguably Nissan’s biggest disappointment. What was this vehicle, and what could the PT Cruiser have to do with it?
The Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet
One of Nissan’s longest-produced models is the Murano. It debuted in 2002 for the 2003 model year. This posh SUV is still rolling off production lines today.
Back when Nissan produced the second generation of the Murano, the CrossCabriolet was an idea in the works, a spinoff of sorts. That idea went into production for the 2011 model year.
The Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet rolled off the line and into dealerships. It was a two-door, four-seat convertible crossover. The interior was beautiful, with white seats and a drop-top that allowed occupants to ride with the wind in their hair.
Under the hood was a 3.5-liter V6 engine that could generate 265 hp and 248 lb-ft of torque. Connected to it was a continuously variable automatic transmission.
How the PT Cruiser might’ve inspired Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet
The CrossCabriolet’s creation came at the tail end of the PT Cruiser’s run. Chrysler’s Cruiser was a uniquely styled hatchback wagon — at least that’s what it was meant to be. But the NHTSA classified it as a truck.
Chrysler designed the hatchback after a 1930s-style getaway vehicle. It had an old-timey look, but its ride and handling were decidedly modern. In fact, the PT Cruiser was MotorTrend’s Car of the Year in 2001.
It sold 1.35 million units, but it didn’t take off as many had hoped. The PT Cruiser ended its run in 2009. This was around the time the Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet went into the planning stages. It’s possible the Cruiser’s uniqueness and cult following kick-started the CrossCabriolet onto the production line.
How well did it sell?
The idea was there, and it looked good on paper. But the execution tanked. Nissan had to build a new platform for the Murano CrossCabriolet, but it failed to offer a decent suspension. It was also pretty small, seating only four people. The trunk was disappointingly tiny; Automobile Magazine compared it to a breadbox.
This convertible SUV’s styling was equally bad. Nissan paired metallic pastels with a white interior. Many people questioned why this vehicle existed. According to Nissan’s creative officer a few years ago, the design came from then-CEO Carlos Ghosn.
It was also revealed that the original plans were to market the vehicle to older affluent consumers. That’s probably true — this convertible SUV had a base price of over $47,000.
The CrossCabriolet didn’t see that many sales. That might be because many people thought of it as Automobile Magazine did. In fact, it made the list of the publication’s “Ugliest Cars of the 2010s.” Nissan ended retired the model after only a few years.
The Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet didn’t go anywhere, but it had one thing going for it. It tried to be the next unique vehicle, much like the PT Cruiser. It’s too bad Nissan didn’t execute the design as well as it could’ve.