I’m going topless in Miami to see just how much. And by that I mean driving a convertible car.
I’m firmly convinced there are three groups of people when it comes to soft top convertibles:
- Those that say no way, never, no how.
- Those that say someday, maybe I’ll have a convertible.
- Those that say are you kidding me? I’d never be without a convertible!
I can think of reasons why one would firmly fall into each of those categories but I bet some of the reasons might surprise you. And I bet some of them are based on misperceptions about today’s soft-top convertibles.
The “I never want a convertible car” group
If you fall into this group, I can take a few reasonable guesses as to why. See if one of these statements resonates with you.
“They’re too loud. The wind noise would drive me crazy!”
In the past, convertibles have been loud. While that’s expected when the top is down, no one wants to hear constant wind noise with the top up. New developments in acoustical topping materials in soft-tops have improved the sound blocking performance of the top covers by 3+dB(A). That means a much quieter ride with the top up.
“When the top is up, the visibility isn’t as good.”
Visibility with a soft-top has changed a lot too. Back in the nineties, one of my friends hit someone’s Mazda Miata. Instead of settling an insurance claim, he simply bought the car from the guy he hit. It survived for years with a crooked bumper and a nearly opaque rear window that had been “fixed” with clear packing tape.
Most convertibles today, whether hard-top or soft-top, have DOT-rated safety glass for the rear window. This allows for greater visibility in the vehicle and still gives you the convertible look whether the top is up or down.
“It’s only good in warm weather and I need a year-round car.”
With improvements in sound and insulation, soft-top cars can be driven year round (and I’m not talking about driving it in winter with the top down and the heat going full blast – although that’s always an option!). Even better is the fact that retractable soft-tops actually take up less space in your trunk than a hard top. So whether it’s warm or cool, top up or top down, you’ll still have the car you want.
“Convertible cars are dangerous!”
I’ll admit that this is something I never thought about in my younger years. Although the safety responsibility of a soft-top convertible lies with the auto manufacturer, most convertibles today are being designed that way from the ground up.
Whereas older cars might have had the top chopped off to make it a convertible, today’s designs add in more structural stability, especially in the A-pillar area.
And of course, my own personal favorite, “it will mess up my hair!”
As a former convertible owner, I can tell you that yes, indeed, convertibles will mess with your hair. It’s why I always wore a hat whenever we took our Ford Mustang convertible out and about. There are windscreens and stylish hats but the bottom line is that convertibles and hair don’t always get along and not much is going to change about that.
The “someday I want A convertible car” group
Many people think of a soft-top convertible as a midlife car. Or an empty nester car. It’s usually sporty, stylish, and often has only two seats (or two usable seats). It just doesn’t seem practical for a family car.
There’s a soft-top for that!
In fact, there’s a whole new category geared towards people that might want convertible-type vehicles but don’t want the full experience, for whatever reason, at this point in their life. These people should consider the relatively new category of vehicles known as “Open Air” or cars that feature panoramic sunroofs for an al fresco driving experience. The market trends actually suggest “Open Air” market growth of 39% (216,000 units) planned over next 7 years (Source: IHS).
Take a look at the Fiat 500C semi-cabrio roof, as an example.
— The Haartz Corp. (@Haartz) May 18, 2016
But if it’s space you want, you can still have it all. Convertible SUVs are another emerging trend that allows you to have all the form and function you need and still have the ability to put the top down.
That means you don’t have to wait to feel the wind whipping through your hair!
The “I wouldn’t own anything but a convertible” group
If you’re in this group, you already love convertibles. The hard part is deciding which one.
I used to think that hard-tops alleviated all the issues I might have with convertibles (noise, insulation, all-weather) but, after a bit of an education from The Haartz Corporation, learned how much soft-top convertibles have changed. Not only that, I need my trunk space – something soft-top offers quite a bit more of over hard-top.
Whether you’re looking for a luxury car, two seater, mid-sized sedan, SUV, performance, or some other category of convertible, there’s something out there for everyone. And if you don’t believe me, I’m going to show you some of the hottest convertible models this season.
AGirlsGuidetoCars Heads to Topless in Miami
I’ll be heading to Miami this week to ride, drive, and rate eight of the sixteen convertibles in the list below as part of the Topless in Miami Presented by Haartz event in conjunction with SAMA (Southern Automotive Media Association).
Please follow along on our social platforms with the hashtag #toplessinmiami as I check out the following vehicles. Let me know if you have a favorite or if you’d love a close-up view of any of these while I’m having fun in the sun.
Porsche 911 Carrera S Cabriolet
Ford Mustang GT
Alfa Romeo 4C Spider
Mazda MX5 Miata
VW Beetle Dune
Disclosure: I will be a guest of Haartz at Topless in Miami, with my travel and accommodations provided; all opinions expressed are my own.