Five Convertibles to Consider
It's time to put the top down and have some fun
Summer is here, which means the time is right for considering a new convertible or, short of that, dreaming about one. These five convertible options each have their own special attributes, so read on to find the one that’s right for you.
Mazda MX-5 Miata
When people think of a convertible, they often think of a Mazda Miata, and the 2013 Mazda MX-5 Miata gives no reason to think of anything else.
The 2013 Mazda MX-5 Miata is a two-seat roadster that comes in three trim levels— Sport, Club and Grand Touring—and all come standard with a manually operated soft top, although buyers have the option of a power-retractable hardtop with the Club and Grand Touring models.
The five-speed manual Sport model has 167 horsepower and 140 lb/ft of torque and gets an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 22 MPG city and 28 highway. Of course, convertibles are meant to be fun, and that’s exactly why the Miata has stood the test of time.
“The Miata has remained steadfast, due in no small part to its sporty driving dynamics that still serve as a benchmark for others,” Edmunds.com explains. “Steering is faultless, with an immediate and communicative nature that leaves the driver with zero guesswork. Handling is similarly intuitive and incredibly entertaining, especially on twisting mountain passes.”
Chevy Camaro ZL1
When the Camaro ZL1 coupe made its debut in 2012, it immediately made a huge splash. Now that Chevrolet has turned the ZL1 into a convertible, the splash is nearly as big and wide.
Critics point to the horsepower (580 horses), torque (556 lb/ft) and acceleration (zero to 60 MPH in just 4.4 seconds), which come courtesy of its 16-valve V-8 engine.
“With the ZL1 badge on the rear and the same supercharged 6.2-liter LSA V-8 that powers the coupe, brutal acceleration is a given,” notes CarandDriver.com. “Forward thrust can be summoned in any gear, and with all that torque, shifting is almost optional.”
This power, however, comes at a price—both literal and otherwise. The ZL1 convertible gets an EPA-estimated gas mileage of just 14 MPG city and 19 highway.
Ford Mustang GT
Sometimes maligned through the years, the Mustang has seen dramatic improvement in the 2000s, and today the 2013 Ford Mustang GT is known as a convertible that rivals the competition performance-wise while besting it in the price department.
“The 2013 Mustang GT Convertible is fun to drive and be seen in, and it is such an all-around performance car that it’s hard to resist its allure,” explains AutoBlog.com. “It may not be the best at everything, as there are certainly other competitors that are flashier, more powerful and more exotic, but there are few other performance cars easier to justify owning … I just don’t think you can find an enthusiast’s car that can do more for less [money].”
Coming standard with a six-speed manual transmission, the Mustang GT uses its V-8 to get 420 horsepower and 390 lb/ft of torque and an EPA-estimated 15 MPG city and 26 highway.
It also has more room than the average convertible.
“I can imagine a Mustang GT Convertible working out quite capably as an everyday driver and family conveyance while serving equally as well as a hobbyist project and weekend toy,” adds AutoBlog.com.
BMW 1 Series Convertible
Those looking for a mid-priced convertible that’s also an entry-level BMW should consider the BMW 1 Series Convertible, which gets 230 horsepower along with 200 lb/ft of torque with its 3.0 liter inline-six engine, leading to an EPA-estimated 18 MPG in the city and up to 28 mpg on the highway.
But it’s the throwback look of the BMW 1 Series that has many convertible shoppers excited.
“As the company’s entry-level model, the 1 Series is meant to evoke the same passion that the 2002 [model] did,” says Edmunds.com. “That nimble and unassuming coupe caught America’s attention in the late 1960s and ’70s but gave way to larger and plusher models in successive decades. While BMW has certainly never lost sight of its ‘Ultimate Driving Machine’ mission statement, it’s the 1 Series that most closely reflects the company’s roots.”
Infiniti G Convertible
The Infiniti G Convertible wins points for its performance, driving dynamics and retractable hardtop roof. With its V-6, it goes from zero to 60 in six seconds and has 325 horsepower and 267 lb/ft of torque along the way. It gets an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 17 MPG city and 25 highway.
On the other hand, the G Convertible loses points in other areas.
“The coarse noises it makes at higher engine speeds are unfortunate for a luxury-branded vehicle,” says Edmunds.com, which adds that “upshifts aren’t quite as smooth as we’d like” and that “we’re also not fond of the six-speed manual transmission, which suffers from a heavy and abrupt clutch engagement.”
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