Top Down Sellers
Convertibles: Hard or soft top?
new convertibles, the Lexus IS 350C and Infiniti G37, drive fine but take
storage to new lows. Top up, you’re fine… but lower the roof and you’ve lost
more than 75 percent of the trunk. Neither car can fit even one decent suitcase
in the oddly-shaped space. Forget a weekend trip with the wind in your ‘do,
which I always thought was the point of a convertible.
The screw-top trend was kicked off by Lexus in 2001, with its SC 430 convertible. The pitch is that these metal caps offer a quieter interior with better protection from the elements. That’s true only to a point, since today’s multi-layer fabric tops are impeccably fitted and insulated. As for hard-top convertibles providing better security, spare me: If someone really wants into your car, they can smash a window as easily as they can slice your roof. Also, hardtop negatives outweigh their positives -- literally. The bulky roofs add more weight to cars already burdened by the already beefed-up structures necessary to keep a roofless car from quivering over bumps. Carving out room for these complex roofs often requires an expanded rear end that results in odd proportions (the Lexus, especially, has serious booty issues when viewed from behind).
So kudos to automakers like Audi and Jaguar. They’ve stuck with less-trendy -- but ultimately superior -- soft top convertibles that don’t add pounds or leave a driver holding the bag, wondering where it’s supposed to fit.
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