The convertible segment isn’t nearly as popular as it once was, but there are many great options left for buyers seeking that unique wind-in-your-hair experience. None are better than the Mazda MX-5 Miata. Now in its fourth generation, it continues to deliver a blend of fun and value in a package that’s reliable, affordable, and more user-friendly than ever before. It didn’t become the world’s best-selling roadster by pure luck.
If you want to cruise in something different, we’ve selected the best luxury convertible, the best convertible sports car, and the best convertible SUV — yep, that’s really a thing. We’ve hand-picked this crop of drop-tops after traveling all over the world to drive the newest, sexiest, and greatest convertibles on the market. One quick tip: Remember to bring sunscreen.
Mazda MX-5 Miata
Why you should buy this: It’s the distilled essence of driving pleasure.
Who it’s for: People who view driving as a joy, not a chore.
How much it will cost: $26,580+
Why we picked the Mazda MX-5 Miata:
It may not be fast or flashy, but the Mazda MX-5 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 181 horsepower rating won’t impress your friends, but it’s eager to rev and it’s available with a smooth-shifting six-speed manual transmission. You can order an automatic transmission if you prefer a two-pedal setup.
The rest of the Miata is pretty good too. The current, fourth-generation model (called ND in Mazda-speak) 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 step up to the Miata RF to get a power-folding hard top. 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 1980s targa top than a true convertible.
Read our Mazda MX-5 Miata review
Bentley Continental GT
Why you should buy this: It’s both luxurious and fast.
Who it’s for: Rich people in a hurry.
How much it will cost: $236,100+
Why we picked the Bentley Continental GT:
Most luxury cars are just a long list of features and a prestige badge. The Bentley Continental GT is truly on another level, thanks to its exquisite, handcrafted interior. Unlike its main rival, the Rolls-Royce Dawn, the Continental GT also brings performance to the table.
The Continental GT is as comfortable as your living room, but it still goes like a sports car. Base models get a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 making 542 hp and 568 pound-feet of torque, but Bentley also offers a 6.0-liter twin-turbo W12 with 626 hp and 664 pound-feet. The W12 version will do zero to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds and has a top speed of 207 mph, according to Bentley. That’s pretty good for a two-door convertible that weighs as much as most SUVs.
Inside, the Continental GT sports a 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system based on corporate sibling Audi’s MMI system. The screen can be equipped to rotate out of sight when the car is turned off, so it won’t ruin the look of the interior. The Continental GT is also available with an 18-speaker, 2,200-watt Naim audio system, in case you get tired the growl of its engine.
Read our Bentley Continental GT review
The best convertible SUV
Why you should buy this: It’s the only convertible SUV that isn’t ridiculous.
Who it’s for: Adventurers and off-roaders.
How much it will cost: $28,295+
Why we picked the Jeep Wrangler:
Most convertible SUVs are weird. The Range Rover Evoque convertible, the now-retired Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet, and the limited-edition Mercedes-Maybach G650 Landaulet are all questionable propositions at best, but the Jeep Wrangler is a convertible SUV that actually makes sense. It’s one of the few SUVs left with serious off-road capability, and being able to put the roof down just adds to the experience. The 2021 Ford Bronco may give the Wrangler a run for its money, but it hasn’t gone into production yet.
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 Gladiator pickup — which shares many of its mechanical components with the Wrangler Unlimited — offers the same wind-in-your-hair experience with, as a bonus, a cargo box.
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.
Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
The best convertible sports car
Why you should buy this: It’s got supercar style and performance at a fraction of the price.
Who it’s for: People who view driving as a joy, not a chore.
How much it will cost: $67,495+
Why we picked the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray:
After decades of teasing and testing, Chevy finally pulled the trigger on a mid-engine Corvette with the 8th-gen 2020 Stingray. Moving the engine from the front of the car to the middle produces major handling and traction benefits and gives the Corvette more dramatic styling. The result is a Corvette priced like a sports car, but with the performance and looks of a supercar.
The mid-mounted 6.2-liter V8 produces 495 hp and 470 pound-feet of torque (with the optional Z51 performance package). The Z51-equipped Stingray coupe will do zero to 60 mph in 2.9 seconds, according to Chevy, and the convertible should come pretty close to that performance.
Chevy didn’t forget about tech, either. The Corvette gets a dual-screen setup, with a 12.0-inch digital instrument cluster and 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen. The sports car is also one of the first General Motors vehicles equipped for over-the-air software updates. On the track, Chevy’s Performance Traction Management system and magnetic suspension ensure novice drivers won’t get stung by the Stingray.
Read our Chevrolet Corvette Stingray review
Lamborghini Aventador SVJ Roadster
The best high-performance convertible
Why you should buy this: It’ll fix your hair quicker than gel.
Who it’s for: Speed demons.
How much it will cost: $573,966+
Why we picked the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ Roadster:
It’s hard to think of anything crazier in the automotive realm today than the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ Roadster. It’s a convertible that Lamborghini festooned with spoilers and other aerodynamic aids that look like they were ripped off an alien spaceship. The SVJ Roadster is a quite a showpiece, but it also has plenty of go.
Those aerodynamic aids actually work, providing downforce to help stick the Aventador to the pavement in corners. The car features the latest version of Aerodinamica Lamborghini Attiva (ALA), Lambo’s active aero system. ALA adjusts the aerodynamic balance from high downforce (good for grip in corners) to low drag (good for speed on straightaways). The system can even change the amount of downforce on the left or right side of the rear wing to aid cornering.
You can’t have performance without power. The Aventador SVJ Roadster is powered by a 6.5-liter V12, making 759 hp and 531 pound-feet, of torque. That will get this convertible from zero to 62 mph in 2.9 seconds and on to a top speed of 217 mph, according to Lamborghini. The coupe version of the SVJ also set a lap record for production cars at Germany’s Nürburgring racetrack — a benchmark for automotive performance.
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.
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