List: Ten Cars That Would Make Great Convertibles

By Brandon Turkus

August 16, 2011

Dodge

Dodge Challenger: Seriously Dodge, this needs to happen. Dodge/Chrysler is the only manufacturer left in the American muscle car fight without an open-roof challenger (awesome pun, we know). There also happens to be a historical basis for this as well. And besides, we refuse to believe that the 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 wouldn’t sound absolutely stunning if the roof weren’t there.

Lotus

Lotus Evora S: Unlike a lot of the cars on our list, an Evora Roadster actually makes a healthy amount of sense. You see, the price difference between a hardtop Porsche 911 and a soft top is a whopping $21,000. All Lotus needs to do in the process of decapitating the Evora is keep the price increase below $21K, and you get a mid-engined, supercharged roadster with as much horsepower as the 911 for considerably less money.

Honda

Honda CR-Z: With the exception of a few custom-fabricated Toyota Priuses, there are no hybrid convertibles on the market. This is a shame, as we think the open-roof experience would add a great deal to the otherwise dull hybrid driving experience. The optimal solution would be in putting our absolute favorite hybrid hatchback under the knife, and creating a CR-Z Convertible. With the death of the S2000, Honda has no convertibles in its line up. Adding a convertible option for the CR-Z could act as a shot in the arm, not just for CR-Z sales, but for Honda’s enthusiast reputation as a whole.

Volkswagen

Volkswagen GTI: VW actually built a Golf R Cabriolet for the Wörthersee festival in Austria this past year, so there are at least a few people in Wolfsburg that think this is a good idea. But you might argue, “VW already makes the Eos! A GTI Cabriolet doesn’t make sense!” Yes, the Eos does share an engine with the GTI. But it’s too soft, too large, too slow, and generally too dull to deliver the sort of hot hatch thrills that a GTI sans roof could deliver.

Mitsubishi

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X: What’s better than having a road car that is totally capable of acting out all sorts of rally heroics on the weekend? Having a road car that is totally capable of acting out all sorts of rally heroics on the weekend with the top down. Yes, a soft top Evo would be a bit silly, but we can’t deny that driving one would amp the fun factor up more than a few notches. Mitsubishi, build it.

Ford

Ford F-150: Americans will buy any kind of truck that is offered for sale—that’s just science. Is the idea of a true convertible truck (Chevy SSR you shut your mouth) really that far from a marketable reality? As we see it, Ford could go about this two ways: put a set of seats in the bed, and demolish the rear wall, or go the full convertible route and expose front-seat passengers to the elements with a retractable top. Besides, how awesome would a Raptor Convertible be?

Porsche

Porsche Panamera: Love it or hate it, the Porsche Panamera, especially in bonkers Turbo S form, is one hell of a fast sedan. Able to haul four adults in utter comfort, the four-door Porsche would make for a great convertible, delivering a much faster, and much more modern version of the large convertibles that prowled the streets all those years ago. Besides, we really, really like big four-person convertibles, and there simply aren’t enough on the market.

Hyundai

Hyundai Genesis Coupe: While it’s lacking a V-8 to truly stand up to the current crop of American muscle, the Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 is a serious alternative to the Mustang, Camaro, and Challenger. Chopping the top off would only add to the Genny’s competitiveness against the Americans.

Cadillac

Cadillac CTS-V Coupe: Along with some of our colleagues, we actually had an in-depth conversation with Cadillac at the SRX media launch about why a V Convertible is the right move for Cadillac. Officially, all Caddy officials denied that it would happen. But we’re sure we caught a little bit of a sparkle in the eye when we brought this up.

Nissan

Nissan Quest: It’s a beautiful summer afternoon, and you are picking up the kiddies from soccer practice. But just because your on shuttle duty, doesn’t mean you can’t have some fun in the process. Cue the Nissan Quest Convertible. Already one of the biggest and most stylish minivans money can buy, the Quest could also be the first seven-passenger droptop on the market. Nissan has already proven it’ll build an otherwise crazy convertible (Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet), so is a Quest soft top such stretch? (Yes, but we love the world in which the QuestCabriolet exists anyway.)

Dodge Lotus Honda Volkswagen Mitsubishi Ford Porsche Hyundai Cadillac Nissan
It’s no secret that there is near-universal love for convertibles here in the Winding Road offices (with the notable exception of cabriolet-hater John Beltz Snyder). In fact, we have an unwritten rule here at WR HQ, that unless it is raining, the top must be down, regardless of other weather conditions. The problem is, convertibles are, for the most part, a precious commodity.
 
So with that premise, we present a list of ten cars that we think would make dandy convertibles. Let’s keep in mind though, we are ignoring such silly things as structural rigidity, and the laws of physics. So no nonsense about how the Nissan Quest would be a billowy mess if you lobbed the roof off, please.