Thursday 14 August 2008

Nissan Murano convertible coming up???

Yes, it sounds weird but is Nissan about to open up a new market? There are some open-top SUV's on the European market like the Suzuki Jimny, Land Rover Defender and Jeep Wrangler and....erm, that's about it! Land Rover did have an open-top version of its popular Freelander back in 2002 which had sold very slowly, so this market is nothing new. Because the Nissan Murano is a luxury crossover, who knows how well it does.

The Murano first hit the market on 2003, the 5 seater crossover underwent a complete makeover for 2009, and now Nissan is engineering a drop-top version of the latest-generation Murano. Expected to arrive by the spring of 2010, the Murano drop top will be the market's only four-door convertible except for the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, whose rugged four-wheel-drive capability is geared toward a completely different audience.

Insider sources close to the project say the 2011 Murano convertible will be produced in limited numbers, and will be targeted at empty-nesters. The current Murano offers just 31.6 cubic feet of cargo capacity, and the convertible mechanism will certainly cut into that space. Although retractable hardtops are gaining in popularity, the Murano will stick with a more traditional soft top to keep weight down.

This should help keep fuel economy similar to the Murano's current 25mpg UK or 21mpg U.S combined, as the 265bhp 3.5 litre V6 and a continuously variable transmission (CVT) used in the 2009 Murano is expected to remain.

We also expect front or AWD to be available. Don't expect the 2011 Murano convertible to come cheap. The flagship '09 Murano LE with all-wheel drive and an optional navigation system is priced at $39,080 including delivery charges, and the new convertible model will likely sit at the top of the lineup.

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