If you’re looking for a convertible, chances are you have a specific car in mind. But if you don’t, you might be floored by the amount of them on the market. There are modern convertibles, sports, soft top convertibles and hardtop. So, which one is right for you?
We at VIP European Auto broke it down below.
Go For a Soft Top
Soft top convertibles are more modern than hard tops. They’re automatic and retract in seconds with a push of the button. They also have more cargo room than their hardtop cousins. Hardtops fold into the trunk to be stored, often taking up more space than would a soft top.
They’re also typically more affordable in terms of weight. Soft topics are usually made of fabric and can have a plastic or glass window in the back, depending on the make and model. Without the window, the tops are very light. Even with the window, soft top convertibles are still significantly lighter than hardtops. In fact, a hardtop can easily weigh 100+ pounds.
The weight also plays a factor in their use. Soft top convertibles don’t take a lot of time to use and can be operated at faster speeds than hardtops, though we recommend only putting it up and down when your car isn’t in motion.
Better on your Wallet
Soft tops are generally more affordable in price too. Hardtops require more technology and electrical components to work, therefore the price will often be higher.
When it comes to repair too, soft tops take the cake. It’s generally cheaper to replace them, to repair them, and they often need less maintenance than hardtops. Though they do need to be replaced more often!
Popular Soft Top Convertibles
2020 Chevrolet Camaro
The 2020 Chevrolet Camaro convertible has four available powertrains, ranging from a 275-horsepower turbo-four to a 650-horsepower V8.
Like the coupe, the four-passenger convertible is available in seven trims: 1LT, 2LT, 3LT, LT1, 1SS, 2SS, and ZL1. All models come with the Chevrolet Infotainment 3 system with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a 7-inch touch screen, as well as a soft-folding top that opens and closes at the push of a button.
2020 Jaguar F-Type
The two-passenger Jaguar F-Type powerhouse comes as a lightning-quick coupe or soft-top convertible.
The low-slung drop top comes in five trims – the base F-Type, R-Dynamic, R, SVR, and the top-of-the-line Checkered Flag – with five engines ranging from a 296-horsepower turbo-four to the range-topping SVR model’s 575-horsepower supercharged V8. All engines are paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.
2020 Mini Cooper
The Mini Cooper is athletic, responsive, uniquely playful when a convertible.
The Mini Cooper’s base model delivers ample power and speed with a 134-horsepower three-cylinder engine. The Mini Cooper S has a 189-horsepower four-cylinder engine and the John Cooper Works variant has 228-horsepower, top-of-the-line.
Go For a Hardtop
As you may expect from reading above, the soft-top’s main benefit is cost in both weight and price. That’s where a lot of the benefits seem to end though. Hardtops are considered to be stronger looking, more iconic, and are paired with some of the most well known cars in history.
They’re better at insulation and security as well. They’re noise cancelling features, temperature insulation, and natural strength appeals to many drivers.
Hardtop convertibles are safer than soft tops due to their construction. They’re rigid, harder to break, and offer more protection than fabric. Think of it like a helmet versus a hat — one can protect you from the sun and light breeze, while the other is designed to protect you from a fall.
Yes, both soft top convertibles and hartops feature roll bars behind the front passenger seats, but the added level of security above your head doesn’t hurt.
The standard hardtop rear window is always glass. This means it’s more secure and likely to deter thieves more than a soft top’s plastic window. On top of that, hard tops are made of metal. They can’t be slashed open or vandalized as easily as soft tops can be.
As soft tops go, older models with plastic rear windows can get sun damage or cracked. They’ll need to be replaced more often than hardtops.
Soft tops are more susceptible to damage than hardtops. They can get scratched and scuffed from road debris, the weather, and are more prone to sun damage. While hardtops can fade in the sun, the biggest worry for them are leaks, which are usually uncommon or from a broken seal instead of the top itself.
Popular Hardtop Convertibles
2020 Chevrolet Corvette
The 2020 Chevrolet Corvette is nothing short of a total reinvention of the iconic American sports car. This Corvette is a mid-engine sports car with a 490-horsepower V8 nestled snugly behind the cockpit. It has better weight balance and sharper handling and a sporty shape.
When equipped with the Z51 performance package, this Corvette accelerates from zero to 60 mph in less than three seconds and has a top speed of nearly 200 mph. The two-piece hardtop lowers with the push of a button and tucks away in less than 20 seconds.
2020 Mercedes-Benz SL
The Mercedes-Benz SL is a classically-proportioned two-door luxury roadster.
The standard powertrain in the SL 450 is a 362-horsepower twin-turbo V6 coupled to a nine-speed automatic transmission. Stepping up to the SL 550 nets you a twin-turbo 4.7-liter V8 that offers a total of 449 horsepower.
The top can be lowered at speeds up to 25 mph and features a glass roof panel.
2021 Porsche 911 Targa 4
The Porsche 911 is one of the best known and most beloved sports cars on the market.
The Targa 4 is powered by a twin-turbo six-cylinder that sends 379 horsepower to all four wheels via standard all-wheel drive. The Targa 4S employs a highly tuned variant of the same motor, and has a total output of 443 horsepower.