Car.Com Buying-Guides Best-Converti Best Convertible Sports Cars Car.Com Need-To-Know Facts About Convertible Cars

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Need-To-Know Facts About Convertible Cars

Convertibles are defined by their retractable roof—they’re the hair-raising dream car designed for pleasure over practicality.

While earlier convertibles were strictly two-seater sports cars also widely referred to as roadsters, these days you can even find open-top sedan models. Most convertibles fall into the luxury range of vehicles, but there are also a few affordable models now on the market.

There are two main types of convertibles, which are distinguished by the type of roof – soft tops and hard tops. A soft-top convertible is also known as a cabriolet, convertible, or speeder, and hardtops are variously described as coupe convertibles, coupe convertibles, or retractable hardtops.

The following guide will give you some of the key facts about convertibles to keep in mind so you can decide which model is right for you.

Size

As previously mentioned, convertibles range from two-seat roadsters to roomier four-seaters. However, even if the vehicle has more than two seats, while there are models that have normal space for adults 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 folded 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 space for your needs is to look at the luggage compartment with the roof up and down when buying.

Roof Type

Soft cloth convertibles used to be the original standard, but both cloth and vinyl covers are susceptible to damage if not cared for carefully. Currently, automakers are releasing an ever-increasing range of hardtop convertibles that feature power-retractable roofs that break into two or three pieces and then drop elegantly into the trunk. Although they 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 boot. Modern soft tops are enhanced with multiple layers that protect the car from the elements and reduce noise just as well as hard tops.

Engine capacity

In general, most mid-size convertibles use four- and six-cylinder engines, while more expensive luxury models generally use powerful V6 or V8 engines.

Fuel consumption

Four- and six-cylinder convertibles can get good combined mileage in the low to mid-20s, but most eight-cylinder models deliver less than 20 mpg.

Security

Modern convertibles usually have a fixed or pop-up roll to protect the occupants in the event of a rollover accident.

It must be said that most convertibles have small rear windows, which creates large blind spots. If you’re particularly concerned about safety, ideally you should opt for models that offer blind spot warning systems, parking sensors and rear cameras.

Premium brand convertibles will have side airbags that deploy from the seat as standard, and it’s a good idea to choose this as an extra feature on cheaper roof tops. Notice the airbags that extend upward to protect the head, since convertibles don’t have the protective side curtains that hardtops provide.

Premium additional features

Additional features to consider that will make your driving experience even more luxurious include automatic climate control, heated seats, navigation systems, keyless entry systems, Bluetooth and iPod interface. Other extras that can make a difference are built-in wind deflectors, heated and cooled seats, and sun-reflecting leather upholstery.

Another factor to think about is that in most convertibles, the back is very compact, so features that make it easier to access are very 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 for the driver.

Conclusion

Convertibles are undoubtedly one of the best choices you can make when it comes to pure driving pleasure. And with larger models being released more and more, you can now combine the relaxed sporty feel with the spaciousness of more practical vehicles.

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