Nissan recently announced minor updates and pricing for its 2012 Murano crossover. While the new model year brings increased pricing to most of the Murano's trim levels, the unusual Murano CrossCabriolet instead sees a substantial price cut of nearly $2,000 compared to last year's model.

For 2012, most Murano models see an $800 price increase over 2011. That means the base-level Murano S is priced from $30,100 before destination, while the SV starts at $33,670, the SL is priced from $37,210, and the upscale LE now starts at $39,110. As with the 2011 model, all-wheel drive can be added to any Murano for a $1,600 premium.

While updates to the 2012 Murano's trim levels and features were slight, Nissan announced the base-level Murano S will add a standard 7-inch monochrome screen to its center console. The crossover also adds a new Platinum package for 2012, which includes 20-inch alloy wheels, a navigation system and a new Black Sapphire exterior finish.

Buyers interested in the two-door Murano CrossCabriolet will also be happy to note the unorthodox convertible's price dropped considerably for the 2012 model year. According to Nissan, the 2012 Murano CrossCabriolet now starts from $45,350, as opposed to last year's base price of $47,190. While the lower price may not instantly mean buyers will gravitate towards the unusual convertible, it will help silence those who criticized the CrossCabriolet's near-$50,000 base price for being excessive.

Released for the 2003 model year, Nissan's popular Murano is well known for injecting an unusual but popular design into the often-conservative world of the midsize crossover. In August, Nissan sold nearly 5,000 Muranos, outpacing rivals like the Toyota Venza and Mitsubishi Outlander but falling short of newer competition from Kia, Ford, Toyota and Honda. Since its inception, the Murano has featured Nissan's powerful 3.5-liter V6 engine and a fuel-saving continuously-variable automatic transmission.

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Jeffrey Archer is fortunate to have turned a passion for cars into a career. His wide-ranging automotive experience includes work for automakers and dealers in addition to covering the news. When not writing, he spends his time searching for unique cars on AutoTrader.com.

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