Convertibles carry a tangible attribute that cannot be duplicated within the automotive realm. Not only do they offer the occupants the feeling of sheer freedom akin to motorcycles, they also offer vastly improved safety. In addition, they also offer more versatility than ever before. This is due largely in part to re-engineered convertible tops which have improved materials and tighter tolerances to keep temperatures inside the cabin comfortable and quiet.
For the 2014 model year, there are plenty of convertible models to choose from. Some of these models are surprisingly affordable, while some offer some of the most spirited driving characteristics on the market today. Some are luxurious and some are flat-out perfect. Regardless of the features you pine for most, these 5 convertibles are the best you can buy today.
You should know that we cannot talk about top convertible models without bringing up the MX-5 Miata. Not only is it relatively inexpensive – starting out under $24,200 – but it also features point-and-go handling and surprising comfort. The Miata’s 2.0-liter engine produces 167 horsepower – this is decreased to 158 ponies with an automatic transmission – into the compact drop top, allowing manual-transmission-equipped models to hit 60 mph in just 6.9 seconds. Sure, its body is starting to head back toward the “girls’ car” zone, but its fun-to-drive factor leaves it as our top pick for 2014.
EPA-rated fuel economy: Up to 21 city/28 highway.
For those that want it all – sport, luxury and performance – in one package, the Audi A5 Cabriolet is the way to go. With a punchy 2.0L 4-cyl turbo, the A5 Cabriolet offers up a respectable 220 horsepower while getting up to 32 mpg on the highway. Unfortunately, the A5 Cabriolet is the most expensive of the bunch, as it starts at $45,395.
EPA-rated fuel economy: Up to 22 city/31 highway.
Where there is a class of automobiles, MINI finds a way to crowbar in a Cooper model and the convertible realm is no exception. The MINI Cooper Convertible gives you the so-cute-I-may-burst feeling of the 500 C, but it offers up enough room to shoehorn in a few adults in its back seat. While the 208-horsepower John Cooper Works trim is the best of the bunch, even the base model, which produces 121 horsepower, is still a blast to zip around town in. Add in fuel economy of up to 37 mpg highway and a base price under $26K, and you have a near-perfect combination of fun and frugal.
EPA-rated fuel economy: Up to 27 city/35 highway.
If the ford, Mazda and FIAT just aren’t enough car for you, there is always the American classic: the Ford Mustang mustang. The drop-top `Stang starts out just north of $27,000 and features a 3.7-liter V6 that produces a surprisingly competent 305 horsepower, but for a little extra scratch, you can jump to the GT version and get a 5-liter V8 with 420 horsepower. If you are looking for cute, the Mustang is not the way to go, as it is a true track monster that combines am aggressive look with superior performance and handling at a relatively low price.
EPA-rated fuel economy: Up to 17 city/28 highway.
The 2014 FIAT 500 C starts things off with the lowest priced of the bunch, as it starts off at just shy of $20,000. A low price doesn’t necessarily mean you can sleep on the 500 C, as its 1.4-liter engine delivers up to 40 mpg highway, it’s surprisingly roomy and it is dang cute. Sure, its back seat is nearly useless, the automatic transmission kills its mpg and its soft top is more of a glorified sunroof, but it’s so precious you want to pinch its cheeks and speak baby talk to it. Add in the optional Abarth trim, which bumps the 1.4-liter engine to 135 horsepower and its 0-to-60 time down to 7.1 seconds, and the 500 C has the entire customer spectrum covered.
EPA-rated fuel economy: Up to 30 city/38 highway.