Facts you need to know about convertible cars
Convertibles are defined by having a retractable roof: they represent the wind-in-your-hair dream car designed for pleasure over practicality.
While convertibles were once purely two-seater sports cars that were also widely called roadsters, these days you can even find open-air sedan-type models. Most convertibles fall within the luxury vehicle range, however there are now several affordable models on the market as well.
There are two main types of convertible cars, distinguished by their type of roof: soft tops and hard tops. A soft-top convertible is also known as a convertible, convertible, or spider, and hardtops are variously described as coupe convertibles, coupe convertibles, or retractable hardtops.
The following guide will give you some of the key convertible facts to consider so you can decide which model is right for you.
As mentioned above, convertible cars range in size from two-seat convertibles to more spacious four-seaters. However, even if the vehicle seats more than two, while there are some models that have normal space for adults in the rear of the car, most only have enough space for children or pets.
When it comes to cargo space, convertibles are limited by the fact that the roof top folds down. However, with the top up, some models offer a decent amount of cargo space. The best way to assess whether you’ll have enough room for your needs is to make sure you look at the trunk space with the roof in the up and down position when comparing prices.
Soft-top canvas convertibles used to be the original standard, but both canvas and vinyl tops are prone to damage if not cared for carefully. Car manufacturers are now releasing a growing range of hardtop convertibles that feature automatic retractable roofs that split into two or three pieces and then lower neatly 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 also take up more space in the trunk. Modern soft tops have been enhanced with multiple layers that protect the car from the elements and reduce noise just as well as hard tops.
In general, most mid-size convertibles use four- and six-cylinder engines, while more expensive luxury models use mostly powerful V6 or V8 engines.
Four- and six-cylinder convertibles can get good combined mileage in the low to mid-20 mpg range, but most eight-cylinder models offer less than 20 mpg.
Modern convertibles typically feature a pop-up or fixed 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’re more safety-conscious, opt for models that offer blind-spot warning systems, parking sensors, and rear-view cameras.
Premium-brand convertibles will have seat-deploying side airbags as standard, and it’s a good idea to choose this as an added feature on a less expensive convertible top. Be on the lookout for airbags that extend upwards to protect your head, as convertibles don’t have the protective side curtains that solid-top 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 keep in mind is that on most convertibles, the rear is very compact, so easy-access features come in handy. These include front seats that automatically return to their previous position and seat belts that slide out of the way for rear passengers but are still easily accessible to the driver.
Convertible cars are undoubtedly one of the best choices you can make when it comes to sheer enjoyment while driving. And with the ever-increasing launch of larger models, you can now combine a relaxed sporty feel with the roominess of more practical vehicles.