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Car Buying

Convertible Cars May Be More Practical Than You Think

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author photo by Doug DeMuro June 2013

If you're wishing you could turn your current car into a convertible, you aren't alone. Summer weather is here, and with it comes the desire to roll down the windows, open the roof and enjoy the sun. But many drivers won't consider convertible cars, as most shoppers consider them "too impractical." We're here to tell you that may not be true, as many convertibles can give you everything you want -- and exactly what you need.

Is it size?

Worried a convertible might be a little too small for your needs? A big reason drivers turn down convertibles is they think droptops just aren't large enough. But several modern convertibles are bigger than most drivers realize.

The most practical convertible available is one you might not even consider: the Jeep Wrangler. It's the only 4-door convertible on the market, and it also can tackle just about any terrain. It boasts five usable seats and a large cargo area, as well. The only drawback: Getting the top up and down can be a pain.

For drivers who don't want an SUV, several reasonably priced convertibles offer spacious interiors. Consider, for example, the Ford Mustang, Chrysler 200 or Chevrolet Camaro. While the Camaro is a bit of a squeeze, the Mustang offers only slightly less rear legroom than a Ford Focus. And, with 33.8 inches of rear legroom, the Chrysler 200 Convertible's backseat is actually larger than the backseat in many compact cars.

In other words, while a convertible may not work for families who constantly need to haul children, those who don't carry passengers all the time can easily make do.

Cost

A lot of shoppers reject convertibles because of cost. Some view convertibles as far more expensive than their sedan or coupe counterparts, while others think they'll be pricey to maintain.

Convertibles aren't always costly to buy. Sure, droptops can be pricier than regular models -- but the difference may not be as much as you think. Many convertibles are available for around $30,000 or less, including the Chevrolet Camaro, Ford Mustang and Chrysler 200.

Even a few droptops are available for $25,000 or less. The MINI Cooper and Mazda MX-5 Miata start around $25,000, while the Jeep Wrangler is closer to $23,000. And the FIAT 500c, today's least expensive convertible, lets you enjoy top-down driving for around $20,000 with shipping.

From a maintenance perspective, it's true that convertible tops can be a complicated item that may eventually fail. But since modern cars are more reliable than ever, that would be the least of our worries as we lower the top and head out on the road.

Climate

Some drivers in northern climates reject convertible cars because they can't be used during the winter. But that's no longer the case. One reason is several convertibles -- including the Audi A5 and Infiniti G37 -- now offer all-wheel drive, which makes them usable all winter long.

Today's convertibles also are far better insulated than predecessors. Many modern droptops boast folding hardtops, which offer virtually the same protection as a coupe. But even today's soft-top convertibles include a lot of weatherproofing. In short, living in a cold climate is no longer a good excuse not to buy the convertible you've always wanted.

Variety

Another reason shoppers reject convertibles is they just can't find one they like. We find that hard to believe, as today's market includes an ever-increasing number of convertibles that come in all shapes and sizes.

Shoppers with sporty tastes, for example, can buy convertibles from Mercedes, Jaguar, Porsche, BMW and Audi. For those who prefer relaxed luxury, the Lexus IS 250 C, Volvo C70 and Volkswagen Eos offer the well-equipped top-down experience without blistering performance.

And for shoppers with more reasonable budgets, we've already listed examples from Chevrolet, Chrysler, Ford and Mazda that make top-down driving possible without spending a fortune. Budget-minded shoppers can even get a sporty droptop such as the Camaro, the Mustang, the Nissan 370Z or the BMW 1-Series.

So what are you waiting for? Convertible season won't last forever. And as we've shown, putting yourself in a new convertible takes less compromise than you think.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
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Convertible Cars May Be More Practical Than You Think - Autotrader