Hardtop convertible cars, also frequently (and often mistakenly) referred to as coupe cars, are becoming increasingly popular for their ability to couple summer romance and freedom in the open air with security, functionality and down-to-earth practicality. Not probably a perfect choice for those who are very short of money, they are great for you if you want your summer drives to be more than just getting from destination A to B, and still want to feel protected and not worry about weather’s whims. Until the last few years, most hardtops were available in the market as mainly luxury models. However, now Volkswagen, Mazda and Chrysler 2-seaters and 4-seaters became more than affordable.
Most of the latest models of hardtop convertible cars have fully powered roofs which fold into 3 pieces and descend into the trunk, which reminds of an intricate acrobatic performance for an outside viewer. The process takes from 12 to 30 sec.
Little trunk space in an issue in all hardtop convertible cars because it’s the trunk space that rooms the roof operating mechanism and the roof itself. In some models, a specialized trunk construction partially solves trunk issues enlarging the trunk size when the roof is up and diminishing it when it is down. This is achieved by the means of a complex complex dual-hinged trunk lids which allow both the roof the front and luggage from the rear, at the same time preventing the luggage from conflicting with the operation of the roof.
Hardtops are 2-door cars but for a couple exceptions.
Hard roofs are generally considered to be better than soft-tops not just because of better wether protection but also from safety viewpoint, especially in rollover accidents. In case of collision or rollover the rigid roof provides at least some protection for the driver’s and passengers’ heads, is it is put up, of course. With a soft top, you may literally have your head smashed against the ground without a chance to survive. However, some experts express their concerns about the rigidity or the hard roofs and think they are no safer that soft-tops in rollover accidents. For this reason, it is recommended to choose roadsters with additional safety features, like stability control systems which prevent rollovers, roll-bars automatically deploying behind the rear seats to create space for the head if a rollover occurs and head-protecting side airbags. Such features as blind-spot warning systems, rearview cameras and parking sensors are also highly recommended because hardtop convertible cars create larger blind spots.
Today almost all the major auto manufacturers offer one or several hardtop models. Price is one of the disadvantages of decapotables. While a soft-top convertible can be purchased for as little as $20,000, hardtop convertibles are may more expensive. The list of time-proven models and cost just about $27,000-$30,000 are Volkswagen Eos, Mazda MX-5 Miata PRHT and Chrysler 200 Convertible (although the latter still raises some rigidity concerns) . A typical price range for best hardtop convertible cars is $45,000-$60,000.
In addition to the well-known tips on buying used cars, buying used vehicles requires special attention to be paid to the condition of the roof and its operating mechanism. Synchronic moving of parts provides proper sealing of the roof, weather-resistance and proper folding. A tiny imbalance may result in poor protection of even total mechanism failure.
In targa tops, often classified as hardtops, not the entire top but only the hard roof section is retracted leaving the B-pillar functioning a roll bars and the rear window in their places. The disadvantage is that the top is fully detachable. This construction is also called semi-convertible, although in new models the B-pillar may also fold down turning the vehicle in a fully fledged hardtop convertible.