Why would Nissan build such a random iteration of its much-loved Murano?. It's a move designed to attract attention and entice new buyers to the brand.

Admittedly, Nissan's product planners don't expect the new Murano CrossCabriolet to sell in droves. "It's not going to be a volume car," said Brian Carolin, senior vice president for Nissan sales and marketing, in a recent Automotive News interview. "But there's a degree of bravery for us to bring out a car like that right now. It will surprise a lot of people."

The two-door is said to be the world's first all-wheel drive crossover convertible. It melds the "sophistication of a sedan" with the "utility of a sport utility," says Carolin, and of course, the fun of driving a convertible.

Engineers faced numerous feats when creating the CrossCabriolet. Rigidity had to be upped to compensate for the loss of its B-pillars, so the A-pillars gained significant reinforcement. To keep the standard model's profile, the cabrio's two doors are 7.9 inches longer than the standard Murano's front doors. Its canvas roof (available in either black or light brown) employs a glass window for improved longevity. And despite the new configuration, aerodynamic efficiency remains tidy at 0.39 Cd compared to the Murano's 0.37 Cd.

As there will only be one trim level when it goes on sale early next year, exterior features are generous. From HID bi-xenon headlamps and LED taillights, to fog lights and body colored bumpers and facades, the CrossCabriolet will arrive at dealerships plentifully equipped. Twenty-inch split five-spoke wheels cloaked in a titanium finish tuck under each of the bulbous fenders. The model's six colors include Sunset Bronze, Caribbean, Merlot, Platinum Graphite, Super Black, and Pearl White.