Ever since closed cars became the norm, convertibles have appealed to people as a symbol of freedom, style, and luxury. Nowadays, that’s more the case than ever, with increasingly expensive convertibles being built all the time – but how good are convertibles really? The benefits of a consumer item are never as black and white as its branding would have you believe – so we’ve put together a set of convertible pros and cons to see just how worth it they are.
The wind in your hair
The most enduring image of a convertible is a happy driver, beaming as they barrel down the highway with the roof down and the wind in their hair. While this may seem overblown, it’s hard to deny that this is an appealing aspect of convertibles. Driving on a sunny day with the wind in your hair is a fantastic experience, giving you a real feeling of freedom and luxury. It makes driving feel much less like shutting yourself away in a metal box for a few hours – instead making it feel like you’re really going somewhere.
It might appear a little silly to posit versatility as a major benefit of owning a convertible, given that you only have two options. However, having those options makes all the difference to driving. If you need to be warm and dry while driving then you can be – all you have to do is put the roof up, be it automatic or manual. More importantly, when you want to feel the wind in your hair and the sun on your skin, you can. The appeal of a convertible is being able to drive as the spirit of the moment takes you – and that’s a valuable experience.
The wind in your hair
Sometimes, you don’t want to feel the wind in your hair – but your convertible doesn’t give you as much of a choice. Obviously, modern convertibles tend to have sturdier roofs, but an old convertible is a much less pleasant experience in inclement weather. As is often the case with convertibles that have fabric roofs, they don’t always do a great job keeping the wind out – and if you’re unlucky they might not even be particularly waterproof. In addition, fabric roofs are much worse at blocking out noise, so don’t expect a peaceful drive unless you’re going pretty slow.
This is perhaps the biggest drawback of a convertible – they don’t have much room. Most convertibles are 2-seater vehicles, which immediately rules them out as family-friendly vehicles – or friend-friendly if you have more than one acquaintance. In addition, they really don’t come with a lot of trunk space – often being able to fit in little more than one average-size bag. While that makes them great for short, one person getaways, you better hope you don’t ever need to pack heavy.
Now, this isn’t so much of a concern for any more recent convertibles – where the roof that gets taken down is in fact a real roof. However, when it comes to convertibles with a fabric roof – or no roof at all – security is a much more pressing concern. A strip of canvas isn’t going to present much of a challenge to someone who wants to get into your vehicle, which can put it at a much higher risk of being broken into. If you’re going to have a convertible with a flimsy roof, you need to know that you’ll be able to keep your valuables secure at all times.
Ultimately, the bearing these factors have on your decision is a personal thing. If you’re wowed by the pros and not cowed by the cons, then a convertible could be just the thing you need to make driving a really fun experience. However, if you’re worried about the costs and unimpressed by the benefits, a convertible might just not be the right car for you.