Forget about the iffy weather plaguing the country now. Sure, it may be snowing in the northeast and flooding in the Rockies, but spring is already here and summer’s on the way. Maybe it’s time to think about open-air driving -- if a convertible is in the cards for an extra family vehicle. Come to think of it, a roadster might make a lot of sense for a daily commute as well, assuming the economics, comfort and other factors add up.
FamilyCarGuide takes a look at some hot rides for your consideration. We’ll go from least expensive ragtop to most expensive (okay, there are some that are more expensive, but we only added one that we consider super pricey).
Mazda MX-5 Miata convertible
With a starting price of $23,110, the 2011 Mazda MX-5 Miata convertible is inexpensive enough to qualify as a hot droptop even without its sexy good looks. That the third-generation MX-5 Miata convertible handles like a sportscar is even more incentive.
2011 MINI Cooper ConvertibleEnlarge Photo
MINI Cooper convertible
The iconic MINI Cooper in ragtop form has several versions to choose from. There’s the base with 121-horsepower 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, up to sporty turbocharged Cooper S, and John Cooper Works edition. Good fuel economy for the open road (28 mpg city/35 mpg highway with base) plus ragtop with sunroof --- the front roof portion folds back – is even more attractive with starting price of just $24,850.
2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0Enlarge Photo
Ford Mustang convertible
An American classic muscle car, the 2011 Ford Mustang V-6 in convertible guise makes for an admirable open-air driver. How about a new V-6 engine good for 305 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque, plus electronic power-assisted steering for improved handling at lower speeds? Add on EPA-estimated fuel economy of 19 mpg city/30 mpg highway and prices starting at $27,145 and the Mustang gets even more appealing. There's also a more powerful GT convertible (with 412-horsepower 5.0-liter V-8) that starts at $34,145. That’s a deal for either V-6 or V-8 Mustang droptop.
2012 Volkswagen EosEnlarge Photo
Volkswagen Eos convertible
Available in three flavors – Komfort, Lux, and Executive – the 2012 Volkswagen Eos offers practical comfort, 200-horsepower 2.0-liter in-line four-cylinder turbocharged engine, and city/highway fuel economy of 22/29 mpg. All this in a four-seat convertible starting from $33,995.
2011 Chevrolet Camaro SS ConvertibleEnlarge Photo
Chevrolet Camaro SS convertible
Might as well go for the gusto and sit behind the wheel of the 2011 Chevrolet Camaro SS convertible. That way you’ll really appreciate the 426-horsepower 6.2-liter V-8 engine with active fuel management that allows for 25 mpg highway fuel economy. Sure, there are cheaper Camaro convertibles (V-6 power, anyone?), but you get what you pay for. Starting price for the Camaro SS convertible is $36,650.
2011 Infiniti G37 ConvertibleEnlarge Photo
Infiniti G37 convertible
Overshadowed a bit by its coupe and sedan siblings, the 2011 Infiniti G37 convertible is no slouch in the droptop category. Infiniti, which launched G37 in 2009, says it designed the car to be a convertible from the jump. The car is fitted with a three-piece retractable hardtop. This year G37 gets a new front fascia design and there are even optional in-headrest speakers for enjoying the tunes while driving sans roof. The powerplant is a 325-horsepower V-6 that gets EPA-estimated 17 mpg city/25 mpg highway. Starting price for all this open-air driving fun – yes, it’s a great daily driver – is $45,750.