RAC Cars News


Convertible Cars or Non Convertible Cars?

By raccars Published

Why Should You Choose A Convertible Car?

There is something luxurious about convertible cars. Something special about having the top down and the wind in your hair. But is that luxury a viable option here in the UK, where intermittent rain seeks to dampen any riviera spirit?

The thing is, the spirit of British people is rarely affected by a spot of light (or heavy) rain. If the rain isn’t going to be a factor then let’s first take a look at an overview of convertible cars and get to know them a little better. After all, convertible car sales have gone through the roof in recent years.

What Do You Need To Know About Convertible Cars?

Alfa Romeo 4C

Convertible cars have come quite a long way since the days when you had to pull over, park up, turn off the engine, get out of the car and then raise/lower the roof. These days, many tops can be raised or lowered at the push of a button while the car is travelling as fast as 30 MPH.

In the early production days, convertibles were known to roll in the event of an accident. However, improved handling and stability features mean convertibles aren’t the safety risks they used to be. Buyers also have the choice between soft and hardtop roofs for their convertibles, along with plenty of other things to consider when deciding to buy a convertible car.

What are the Main Things to Consider with a Convertible Car?

● A convertible car has the style and grace that few solid roof vehicles can match

● The roof folds away into the boot and so affects storage space

● Smaller windows means visibility can be poor when the roof goes up.

● In the summertime you can enjoy the sun and good weather at the drop of a roof

As you will most likely be using your convertible roof the most in the summer, you can take a look at our advice for looking after your convertible in the summer. An issue that can occur across both softtop and hardtop convertible roofs is the failing of the motor. If this occurs, you should visit your local garage and have it repaired.

In the event of tears to the roof if you own a softtop, you can buy small kits that are very similar to an inner tube kit, which are straightforward to use and will fix up any small problems.

You may also find trouble with the plastic screen at the rear. You will be able to replace it for less than £150 on most convertible models except the very high end.

The biggest issue is when the vehicle’s roof needs replacing altogether. It’s not going to be that cheap and you can expect to pay around £1,500 for a MINI roof replacement. From there the models only get bigger and more expensive. To avoid this type of scenario make sure you purchase an RAC Inspection Check before buying your used convertible.

You can view thousands of used convertible cars for sale on RAC Cars today.

Hardtop or Soft Top Convertibles?

Hardtop - What Do You Need to Know?

● Hardtop roofs give the car a more stable feel

● More mechanical components mean they can be expensive to fix

● You will have better heat insulation with a hardtop roof

● The weight of a hardtop roof is much greater than a soft top

● The engine noise is kept out of the cabin far better in a hardtop model

Softtop - What Do You Need to Know?

● Soft tops are easier on fuel because the car is pulling less weight

● Higher insurance premiums as soft top roofs could be easier to break into

● A soft top is cheaper to buy than a hardtop equivalent

● Loud wind noise and temperature control are two issues soft tops struggle with because of poor insulation (this is always improving)

● A softtop gives the car that ‘convertible’ look that is so desirable

Things To Look Out For When Buying A Used Convertible Car

There are a number of things to keep an eye on when buying a convertible car that you wouldn’t have to consider when in the market for a traditional model.

● Converted cars - who converted it? If the car has had the convertible roof installed independently then make sure it was done by a reputable conversion company. The last thing you want is a poorly converted roof as this could lead to problems including leakage and aerodynamic inconsistencies.

● Roof trim - take good care to check the roof’s rubber seals and plastic screen for damage.

● The doors - go around the vehicle and open and shut all of the doors firmly. Older convertibles may have changed shape slightly and the doors may not fit snug anymore.

New Convertibles

New Prices and performance

Audi TT RS

Here are some examples of how choosing a convertible can affect the price and performance.


The MPG figure is the result of an equation that takes motorway and urban driving miles into account, giving you a more realistic final number.

The final figures in the table represent how much CO2 the vehicle emits every kilometre of driving. Using the above emissions, you can view the tax band and annual cost of the above models in the table. Alternatively, if you know the registration number of a specific vehicle there are tools available to check the tax such as the gov.uk tax rate calculator.

The table above shows that the convertible version of the same model can be found for cheaper than the non-convertible alternative and omits slightly less carbon dioxide emissions.

View thousands of used convertibles and non-convertibles on RAC Cars today.

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