Most convertibles are expensive luxury rides, but there is a variety of models ranging in price and features from luxury to affordable. There are some things you should know before purchasing your very first convertible.
Perhaps the first thing that comes to mind is the top. Convertible cars give you the option of a soft versus a hard top.
Hardtops are typically metal, and can fold into several pieces before lowering into the trunk. On the bright side, retractable hardtop roofs are more durable and secure, look better and provide enhanced visibility. On the down side, they are also considerably heavier and take up more space in the trunk. Given their complexity, hardtops are more expensive, as well.
A soft top, on the other hand, is made of fabric and features multiple layers; though obviously not as secure as metal, these do a good job at shielding you from road noise and the weather. There may be some speed restrictions, though; for instance, some soft tops can be operated at speeds up to 30 mph.
Further options can make driving with your top down a breeze. Heated seats are one of the most common features, and there are models where the heated air is channeled to the neck and shoulders to enable you to drive your convertible comfortably even in cooler weather. Wind deflectors are another option commonly found on many convertibles. The deflectors are placed behind the front seats and sometimes they also act as the roof’s rear window.
Price and safety
Safety is more of an issue on vehicles without a solid roof. How much you are going to pay for a convertible is greatly affected by the vehicle’s design, top, and optional features; the more luxury features you get, the more expensive the car will be. Most convertibles cost between $35,000 and $80,000, but you can also find $20,000 drop tops, as well as luxury models that fetch 10 times that amount.
Nonetheless, even standard convertibles have safety features, most often in the form of a roll bar that is either fixed or pop-up, and that keeps passengers from rolling over in the event of an accident. Moreover, since most drop tops come with small rear windows, the large blind spots thus created must be made up for via different means – these include rearview cameras, blind-spot warning systems, and parking sensors, but more often than not, these are not standard, so you will have to pay extra for them. Luxury convertibles in particular also feature side airbags; these come up from under the seat and move upward in order to protect the head.
Size and room
Most often, a convertible is a two-seater, but there are larger models as well. Some vehicles have rear seats that are just large enough to accommodate children in the back, while luxury models are legitimate four-seaters with suitable passenger capacity for four adults.
As far as the trunk is concerned, usually this is limited in space, particularly when the top is metal and folded down.