Convertibles are defined by having a retractable roof – they represent the wind-blowing dream car designed for pleasure over practicality.
Whereas convertibles were previously purely two-seater sports cars that were also generally called roadsters, these days you can even find open-air sedan-like models. Most convertibles fall within the luxury vehicle range, however there are also several affordable models now on the market.
There are two main types of convertible cars, distinguished by their type of roof: softtop and hardtop. A softtop convertible is also known as a convertible, convertible, or spider, and hardtops are variously described as coupe convertibles, coupe convertibles, or retractable hardtop.
The following guide will give you some of the key facts about convertibles to consider so you can decide which model is right for you.
As mentioned above, convertible cars range in size from two-seat roadsters to roomier four-seaters. However, even if the vehicle seats more than two, although there are some models that have normal adult room in the back of the car, most only have enough room for children or pets.
When it comes to cargo space, convertibles are limited by the lowered roof. However, with the top up, some models offer a decent amount of cargo space. The best way to assess whether you will have enough room for your needs is to make sure you take a look at the trunk space with the roof up and down when you shop.
Soft top canvas convertibles used to be the original standard, but both canvas and vinyl covers are prone to damage if not cared for carefully. Today, automakers are launching a growing range of hardtop convertibles that feature self-acting retractable roofs that break into two or three pieces and then gracefully lower into the trunk. While these are more durable, crime-proof, and easy to operate, their complexity can often be reflected in the price, they add more weight to the vehicle, and they also take up more trunk space. Modern multi-layer soft covers have been improved that protect the car from the elements and reduce noise just as well as hard covers.
In general, most midsize convertibles use four- and six-cylinder engines, while the more expensive luxury models primarily use powerful V6 or V8 engines.
Four- and six-cylinder convertibles can achieve good combined mileage in the low-to-mid 20 mpg range, but most eight-cylinder models produce less than 20 mpg.
Modern convertibles generally feature a fixed or pop-up roll bar to protect passengers if a rollover accident occurs.
It must be said that most convertibles have small rear windows, which creates large blind spots. If you are more attentive to safety, you will ideally want to opt for models that offer blind spot warning systems, parking sensors, and rear view cameras.
Premium brand convertibles will have side airbags that deploy from the seats as standard, and it’s a good idea to choose this as an added feature on a less expensive drop top. Be on the lookout for airbags that extend upward to protect your head, as convertibles don’t have the protective side curtains that solid-roof vehicles provide.
Main additional features
Additional features to consider that will make your driving experience even more luxurious include automatic climate control, heated seats, navigation systems, keyless start systems, Bluetooth, and an iPod interface. Other additions that can make a difference are built-in wind deflectors, heated and cooled seats, and sun-reflective leather upholstery.
Another factor to consider is that in most convertibles the rear is very compact, so the easy-access features come in handy. These include front seats that automatically return to their previous position and seat belts that move out of the way for rear passengers but are still easily accessible to the driver.
Convertible cars are undoubtedly one of the best options you can make when it comes to pure pleasure while driving. And with larger models being released more and more, you can now combine a sporty, loose feel with the space capacity of more practical vehicles.