I have a confession. I’m not a huge fan of convertibles now. I had one once in my life – a white 1998 VW Cabriolet with black and white leather interior. I loved that car. And, I did cruise around during sunny weather with the top down (white cloth) when I lived near the mountains, playing a lot of Tom Petty on the stereo. VW stopped making this particular model in 2002 despite its popularity. According to Edmunds.com, consumers gave it a near-perfect 5-star rating.
I love the way convertibles look and drive. I love the concept of cruising around with the top down and the breeze blowing through my hair.
The reality is that where I live now, there is a only a period of time in which doing so is comfortable for me. That’s before the oppressive heat sets in, and then only on roads where the speed limit is around 40 mph. This may well be a female thing. Riding around with the wind whipping hair into my face, eyes and mouth isn’t my idea of fun. Even if I don a scarf, driving over 40 mph wreaks havoc with my hair. Arriving at my destination without looking as if, well, I’ve been in a windstorm is nearly impossible at speeds greater than the aforementioned.
That being said, there is a time just right for cruising around in convertibles. Here’s the top five for 2019 (in no particular order), – when the day is just right – and all is right with the world.
1. Mazda MX-5 Miata RF
This little jewel looks more expensive than it is and consumers’ comments about the steering and handling are “sublime.” The cons are that it’s noisy at high speeds and the trunk isn’t roomy. But, really, when you’re driving this car, you’re probably not packing the family up for a 10-day road vacay. Edmunds rating: 8.0 out of 10. Consumer rating: 5 stars. Price: $32 - $34,000.
2. Mini Convertible
I’ve loved the look of this car since its introduction. Consumers love how it handles curves and it can be personalized with add-ons. It has nice pickup for its size and fuel efficiency is a plus. Cons are the ride can be a bit rough and the cargo capacity is limited. Edmunds rating: 7.4 out of 10. Consumer rating: 5 stars. Price: $26.7 - $36,600.
3. BMW 2 Series
Who doesn’t love a BMW? They handle so well and this one has advanced safety features and parking sensors are now standard in the model. It has a sporty ride, but has the comfort level that BMW is known for. The only con reported is that the backseat is cramped. I’ve ridden in the backseat of one of these and I don’t recall it being that cramped, but I was probably trying to keep my hair out of my eyes and didn’t notice. Edmunds rating: 7.8 out of 10. Consumer rating: 5 stars. Price: $41.1 - $52,400.
4. Mercedes-Benz SL-Class
The interior is pure luxury to the nth degree and so is the acceleration. Customers love how this model handles and the folding hardtop doesn’t intrude on cargo space. The only con reported is that it’s not as agile as similarly priced cars. Still, the thought of being able to say, “Hey Mercedes,” and it respond makes me feel as if I’m driving Knight Rider, only more luxurious than a Trans Am and no David Hasselhoff. Edmunds rating: 8.0 out of 10. Consumer rating: 5 stars. Price: $89.15 - $154,450.
5. Porsche 911 Convertible
I’ve driven one of these and when I did, I felt way cooler than I actually am. There is no substitute and we all know that, right? The ultimate in cool convertibles, consumers love the “endless customization” potential and the “rewarding driving dynamics” (i.e., that coolness factor) plus the way it handles and its performance is outstanding. Not only is it superior for cruising, it’s comfortable for long rides and daily driving. Edmunds rating: 8.4 out of 10. Consumer rating: 5 stars. Price $187,500 and up.
Of course, it goes without saying that the Audi R8, Ferrari and Lamborghini are also among my top picks for convertible cruising, but if I could drive one of those, I’m sure windblown hair would be way down on my list of concerns.
Reach Brigitte Surette at email@example.com.