In theory, convertibles are awesome, in practice, not so much. Even though it may seem that a convertible is always a better option than a non-convertible as it enables you to drive with the roof up or down, the popularity of convertibles is as low as it ever was.
And why is that? It’s because people don’t care about convertibles. Most people use their cars as transportation devices, and they are not bothered by horsepower, torque, handling convertibles, sports cars… They just want a car that works and does not break down.
And a convertible uses hundreds if not thosousands more additional parts that can in theory break down. And if you are not a convertible enthusiast, you are likely to never even consider them, especially because they do cost more money as well.
There are many reasons why you should or should not buy a convertible, and if you tend to agree with these, you are more or less likely to one day own one.
Why you shouldn’t
Convertibles straight up cost more money to buy, to own, to maintain and sell afterwards. Some models even require you to pay a hefty premium for a convertible, so much so that it basically trades a well- equipped coupe/sedan for a bare bones no additional equipment convertible.
If you want to sell the car, the market for a convertible is marginal compared to a sedan/coupe market. Chances are that a person interested in a coupe might consider a sedan and vice-versa. But a person interested in a sedan or a coupe is hardly ever going to consider a convertible.
There are two most dominant types of convertibles, a hardtop convertible and a soft top convertible. And as the time goes on, more and more soft tops are developed and less and less hardtops are developed. Even though aesthetics are indeed extremely subjective, convertibles tend to look a bit off.
And that especially the case with soft top convertibles as they offer somewhat broken lines and they are designed to look good without the roof, not with the roof in place. As mentioned, aesthetics are subjective, but a fabric roof is never going to look as attractive as an uninterrupted panel of metal.
Another big reason to skip a convertible is practicality as convertibles sacrifice loads of space for top down driving. Let’s say you go on a vacation, and you want to put the roof down, most convertibles store the roof in the cargo area which means that the cargo space is severely compromised.
And it makes no sense to go on a vacation with half the cargo area. Furthermore, the roof line of a convertible is significantly lower compared to a sedan/coupe which takes up lots of space for the rear passengers as well.
The purpose of a convertible is to enjoy the elements. If you live in sunny California a convertible makes much more sense than it does in the UK for example. If the area you are planning to drive your convertible is not sunny and warm and cozy, it makes no sense to buy one.
Convertibles tend to be as much as $5-10k more expensive. And if you live in a climate which only enables you to put the roof down twenty times per year, the experience literally ends up costing $500 per drive.
Why you should
There is a hint of romantic poeticism in freedom one experiences driving a convertible on late spring/summer evenings. The sounds and smell of nature are priceless (if you don’t have any allergies) and the wind in your hair makes you feel alive and in the moment.
Putting a window down, or winding down the sunroof is just a reminder of what it could feel if you bought a convertible. Some people would even argue that it’s worth it to endure all the compromises a convertible offers, for this reason alone.
Even though the general practicality is grievously compromised, the visibility is not. When you take the roof down, there are no blind spots anymore. All of this means that you are able to see more which makes it a lot less stressful for city driving.
You also hear and sense a lot more as it completely removes the isolation a non-convertible offers. It’s a lot easier to park the car, to maneuvr it through tight spaces and going through a drive-through has never been easier.
If you own a sedan or a coupe, you are owning a sedan or a coupe. If you own a convertible sedan, you are owning a sedan and a convertible. With just a press of a button you are able to feel two different kinds of cars.
People are so focused on top-down driving that they fail to recognize the fact that convertibles offer almost the same levels of comfort and isolation with the roof up. After decades of progress, some brands like Rolls Royce or Bentley offer an equally isolated cabin in both the sedans and convertibles.