The best convertibles of 2018

Find your place in the sun with the best convertibles

best convertibles
best convertibles badgeIf you like having a sunroof, you’ll love driving a convertible. It’s true that the segment has experienced a sharp decline in recent years, but whether you’re looking to experience the wind in your hair for cheap or get a tan at neck-snapping speeds, there’s a car to fit every need and budget.

There are other factors to take into account when shopping for a new convertible. Notably, some models offer a conventional cloth soft top, while others are equipped with a more complex folding hard top. The advantages of a soft top are that it’s lighter and it generally takes up less cargo space. However, a folding hard top reduces noise levels in the cabin when it’s up and makes a convertible less prone to theft.

Ready to go topless? We’ve handpicked the best convertibles on the new car market today.

Audi A3 Cabriolet

The best

best convertibles 2018 audi a3 cabriolet design gallery exterior  1 jpeg

Why should you buy this: It does everything a car can do well, including letting the sun in.

Who’s it for: People who want a great car that is also a convertible.

How much will it cost: $38,350+

Why we picked the Audi A3 Cabriolet:

A convertible doesn’t need to be a sports car or a high-end luxury model to be good. The Audi A3 Cabriolet is a lovely ride with a premium feel that covers all of the bases. It’s the perfect car for people who want a convertible, but also need said convertible to function as a practical daily driver.

The A3 has handsome exterior styling and an interior that’s well-designed and functional; Audi didn’t skimp on interior quality the way other luxury brands do with their entry-level models. The A3 is available with Audi’s Virtual Cockpit — which replaces the gauge cluster with a reconfigurable 12.3-inch digital display — and the MMI infotainment system, complete with handwriting recognition.

All convertible models use a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, with 186 horsepower in base front-wheel drive models, and 220 hp in models with Audi’s Quattro all-wheel drive. The driving experience is fun and lively, although the convertible isn’t available with the more muscular powertrains of the S3 and RS 3 sedans, or the A3 e-tron hatchback’s plug-in hybrid system.

Rolls-Royce Dawn

The best luxury convertible

2016 rolls royce dawn front angle roof

Why should you buy this: It’s a drop-top lounge on wheels.

Who’s it for: Very, very rich people.

How much will it cost: $335,000+

Why we picked the Rolls-Royce Dawn:

The Rolls-Royce name is synonymous with luxury, and the storied British automaker’s latest convertible does not disappoint. From a powerful V12 engine, to a flawlessly smooth ride, to a gorgeous interior, the Dawn has it all.

The Dawn is based on the same platform as the Rolls-Royce Ghost sedan and Wraith coupe, and it shares its powertrain with those models. The 6.6-liter twin-turbocharged V12 produces 563 hp and 575 pound-feet of torque, which gets the Dawn from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.9 seconds. That’s not bad for a car that weighs over 5,000 pounds, and the V12 does its job so smoothly and quietly you’d think it was an electric motor.

The interior is on a different level from anything produced by any other automaker, with the possible exception of Bentley. Everything looks and feels crafted rather than manufactured — there are cute touches like umbrellas stashed in the doors, and the front seats are like lounge chairs. Even the back seats have a decent amount of room, and that’s a rarity in a two-door convertible. The Dawn may be one of the most expensive new cars on sale, but you certainly get a lot for your money.

Our 2016 Rolls-Royce Dawn full review

Jeep Wrangler

The best convertible SUV

2016 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Hard RockRonan Glon/Digital Trends

Why should you buy this: It’s the only convertible SUV that isn’t ridiculous.

Who’s it for: Adventurers and off-roaders.

How much will it cost: $23,995+

Why we picked the Jeep Wrangler:

Most convertible SUVs are weird. The Range Rover Evoque convertible, Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet, and Mercedes-Maybach G650 Landaulet are all questionable propositions at best, but the Jeep Wrangler is a convertible SUV that actually makes sense. It remains one of the few SUVs with serious off-road capability, and being able to put the roof down just adds to the experience.

The Wrangler isn’t the traditional kind of convertible. It’s not a compact roadster or an elegant luxury barge, and it doesn’t stop with a folding roof. You can also fold the windshield and remove the doors for a true open-air experience. The Wrangler Unlimited model is also the only four-door convertible currently sold in the U.S.

This Jeep can also go where few vehicles can. Its four-wheel drive system, beefy suspension, and short overhangs make the Wrangler an off-road athlete, exactly what you’d expect from the car with the closest ties to the original World War II-era Jeeps.

Our 2016 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon full review

Mazda MX-5 Miata

The best convertible sports car

2016 Mazda MX 5 Miata
Miles Branman/Digital Trends

Miles Branman/Digital Trends

Why should you buy this: It’s distilled essence of driving pleasure.

Who’s it for: People who view driving as a joy, not a chore.

How much will it cost: $24,915+

Why we picked the Mazda MX-5 Miata:

It may not be fast or flashy, but the Miata offers one of the purest driving experiences of any new car. It’s small, light, and responds to the driver’s inputs with immediacy. The 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine’s 155 hp won’t impress your friends, but the engine is eager to rev and can be coupled with a smooth-shifting six-speed manual transmission (an automatic is available as well).

The rest of the Miata is pretty good too. The current-generation ND model has more expressive styling than previous versions, and the interior is admirably simple and ergonomic for a modern car. Previous generations of Miata have proven to be fairly reliable as well, which bodes well for the new one.

Mazda offers two choices of convertible top. You can opt for the basic soft top, or a folding hardtop in the Miata RF model. The RF offers a sleek fastback shape with the roof up (hence the name, an acronym for “Retractable Fastback”), although it’s really more like a 1970s or ‘80s targa top than a true convertible.

Our 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata full review

Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport

The best high-performance convertible

2017 chevrolet corvette grand sport first drive 08

Why should you buy this: It’s a fast car that won’t kill you.

Who’s it for: Speed demons.

How much will it cost: $70,490+

Why we picked the Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport:

Since 1953, the Corvette has taken on Europe’s best with a combination of American muscle and value. Most high-performance Corvette models have been hardtops, but Chevy has done some incredible things with the current C7-generation Corvette platform.

Today’s Corvette Grand Sport is a thoroughbred track car that’s also tame enough to use on the road. It features numerous suspension and aerodynamic upgrades over the base Corvette Stingray, plus beefier brakes and tires. The modifications give the Grand Sport face-distorting grip and they instill the confidence drivers need to go fast.

Many track-focused specials are too intense to drive anywhere else, but that’s not the case with the Grand Sport. While definitely on the firm side, the ride isn’t unbearable. The C7 Corvette also has a much nicer interior than previous generations and features some tech toys, including a heads-up display.

The Grand Sport shares its 6.2-liter LT1 V8 with the base Corvette Stingray, along with seven-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmissions. The V8 produces 460 hp, which is plenty, but Chevy also offers the Corvette Z06 Convertible with a 650-hp supercharged V8 for the truly power mad.

Our 2017 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport first drive impressions

How we test

The Digital Trends automotive team tests vehicles through a comprehensive scrutinizing process. We examine the qualities of the exterior and interior and judge them based on our expertise and experience in the context of the vehicle’s category and price range. Entertainment technology is thoroughly tested as well as most safety features that can be tested in controlled environments.

Test drivers spend extensive time behind the wheel of the vehicles, conducting real-world testing, driving them on highways, back roads, as well as off-road and race tracks when applicable.


What's the best laptop? We've reviewed a lot of them -- and this is our answer

The best laptop should be one that checks all the boxes: Great battery life, beautiful design, and top-notch performance. The laptops we've chosen for our best laptops you can buy do all that — and throw in some extra features while…
Emerging Tech

Wish you could fly? Here are the best drones on the market right now

To help you navigate the increasingly large and ever-changing landscape of consumer UAVs, here's a no-nonsense rundown of the best drones you can buy right now
Home Theater

Throw away those EarPods -- we dug up the best headphones in every style

Trolling the internet for hours to find headphones is no way to live. Instead, leverage our expertise and experience to find the best headphones for you. Here are our 10 favorites.
Smart Home

Brew it fast, hot, and flavorful with our favorite coffee makers

Whether you're looking for a simple coffee maker to get you through the morning or a high-end brewer that will impress your taste buds and your friends, you'll find some of the best coffee makers around on this list.

These are the best smartwatches for everything from fashion to fitness

Tempted to buy a smartwatch? If so, then the growing number of great models available means you've got plenty to choose from. But which one should you pick? Here is our list of the best smartwatches.

Want to watch Netflix in bed or browse the web? We have a tablet for everyone

There’s so much choice when shopping for a new tablet that it can be hard to pick the right one. From iPads to Android, these are our picks for the best tablets you can buy right now whatever your budget.

The Cullinan is truly the Rolls-Royce of SUVs

At a private event in Los Angeles, CA, Rolls-Royce showed off its first-ever SUV. Built for wealthy families or height-inclined executives, the Cullinan is a groundbreaking model for one of the most esteemed brands on earth.
Home Theater

From the Roku Ultra to the Fire TV Cube, these are the best streaming devices

There are more options for media streamers than ever, so it’s more difficult to pick the best option. But that’s why we're here. Our curated list of the best streaming devices will get you online in no time.

Expand your desktop real estate (or just make it prettier) with the best monitors

Everyone wants a monitor, sure, but not just any monitor. You want a display with the highest resolution, the largest screen, and the most customization options to be had. Thankfully, we've got your back.
Home Theater

Set your ears free with the best completely wireless earbuds

If you can't stand the tangle of cords, or you're just excited about completely wireless earbuds, you're going to need some help separating the wheat from the chaff. Our list serves up the best wireless earbuds around.

Gaming on a laptop has never been better. These are your best options

Gaming desktops are powerful, but they tie you down to your desk. For those of us who prefer a more mobile experience, here are the best gaming laptops on the market, ranging from budget machines to maxed-out, wallet-emptying PCs.

These point-and-shoot cameras make your smartphone pics look like cave paintings

If your smartphone camera just isn't giving you the results you're looking for, maybe it's time to step up your game. The latest and greatest point-and-shoot cameras offer large sensors, tough bodies, and long lenses - something no phone…

Hydrogen cars are here. Now how long until you can actually fuel one near you?

Until recently, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles have been a science fair project. We met with the California Fuel Cell Partnership to learn how they plan to make hydrogen mainstream.

We tried all the latest and greatest smartphones to find the best of 2018

Smartphones are perhaps the most important and personal piece of tech on the planet. That’s why it’s important to pick the best phone for your individual needs. Here are the best smartphones you can buy.
Emerging Tech

Weekend workshop: Make this 3D-printed side table, even without a 3D printer

You can't 3D print a full piece of furniture, but you can 3D print joints that make building your own furniture a snap. In this article, we'll show you how to do just that, and create an awesome tripod end table that's partially 3D printed
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix in July, from ‘Arrested Development’ to ‘Mad Men’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.

Pirelli is recycling car tires into ebike tires

Pirelli introduced the Cycl-e tires for electric bicycles. Designed for city use, the new tires come in five varieties and a full range of sizes and weights. The Cycl-e tires are made in part from recycled rubber bits from automobile tires.

Massive data breach exposes trade secrets from Tesla, Toyota, and others

Security researcher Chris Vickery found about 47,000 sensitive files posted on a backup server by a Canadian company that specializes in automation. The 157-gigabyte batch included sensitive documents from Ford, Tesla, and other brands.

Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne unexpectedly resigns as health worsens

Sergio Marchionne, 66, has resigned from his position as Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles CEO due to health problems. The influential, outspoken executive was scheduled to retire next year.

Grab your helmet: Google Maps for motorcycles is coming

Google Maps for motorcycles is now available in India and eight other countries in Eastern Asia. Now that Google has released the feature in the largest bike markets, it figures that Europe and the Americas could be next.

The Ferrari from ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’ heads to the auction block

One of two remaining star cars built to replicate a 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder, and used for filming in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, will head to the Mecum Auction block in late August during Monterey Car Week.

Uber may soon turn into your personalized mini convenience store

Taking an Uber may soon be an all-inclusive experience. The transportation giant recently partnered with Cargo, the startup that offers in-car shopping experiences to those on the move.
Product Review

Audi sets the gold standard for in-car tech. Here's why

Infotainment systems come in all shapes and sizes. Audi chose to take its newest software, MMI Touch Response, in a simpler direction by creating an intuitive interface that's smartphone-like to use.