By on March 7, 2011

Given TTAC’s reputation for lack of restraint when it comes to criticism, I was more than a little surprised to see an invite to the Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet launch in San Diego, California. Especially considering that our initial reaction to images of the world’s first soft-top CUV was

If you’ve ever been to a topless beach, you know the basic problem: you expect a bunch of topless Jags and Maseratis, but what you actually get is this, the Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet. Four thousand pounds of roly-poly crossover blessed with the totally misguided belief that people want to see it with its top off. We’ll keep a corner of our eye on this as the LA Auto Show kicks off… but we’ll be sure to avoid eye contact.

On the other hand, strong initial reactions are exactly what this vehicle is all about. And like Nissan’s last controversial design, the Juke, the Murano CrossCabriolet can not be simply judged based on two-dimensional images. Besides, if even Nissan’s designers are willing to acknowledge that the Murano CC is “the answer to a question nobody asked,” surely there must be some kind of logic to this unexpected arrival. So, with an open mind, I dropped in on the strangest, most unique vehicle to launch in ages, hoping to make some kind of sense of something that, on its surface, has no business even existing.

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