We take a look at the different types of convertible cars and the types of drivers they attract.
Summer is upon us, which means that it's officially open-air motoring season. However, not all cabriolets are created equal; there are actually many different types of convertibles to choose from. We've rounded up seven of the most obvious convertible classes and the best examples of each.
The status symbol
"My uberconvertible costs more than your ubercoupe, so I clearly win," is what the drivers of these expensive drop-tops seem to be shouting as they pass. This class of convertible brings big power, big style, and loads of luxury to the table. And though we may roll our eyes at their owners, most of us would leap at the opportunity to go ripping around in one of these pricey toys.
The cute and the cuddly
Small city cars are great for urban environments with their zippy handling, compact, parkable dimensions, and fuel efficiency. However, although their cabins are usually spacious, they can be a bit claustrophobic for some. Add a top that drops to the equation and you've got all the headroom you could possibly need.
The coastal cruiser
A rumbling V-8 or throaty V-6 ahead of you, a sporty, yet comfortable suspension beneath you, and the open sky above. You could definitely go faster, but that's not really the point. This class of convertible is perfect for a casual cruise down the coast or through the country.
The enthusiasts' choice
Cars that truly earn the designation "roadster" often serve little purpose other than zesty driving. They're lightweight and nimble, relatively inexpensive, and a hoot to drive. There's little between you and the road and, with the top down, even less between you and the sky. However, they also usually lack a backseat and are often short on trunk space. If you care more about canyon runs than Costco runs, this is the convertible class for you.
The casual executive
I've always thought that an executive sedan or coupe is like a suit. It should have a timeless style, possess modern sensibilities, and be constructed of luxurious (but not too flashy) materials. Peeling that sedan's top back is like losing the jacket and tie and rolling up your sleeves. Think of it as casual Friday on wheels.
The rental-car upgrade
Take a base-model sedan or an entry-level coupe and add a retractable roof and you've got the basic recipe for the convertible you can rent for just a few extra bucks per day. This class was once packed with econobox convertibles and ragtop muscle cars, but they've largely been discontinued. These days, the Chrysler 200 convertible is the first car that springs to mind, but even it has been improved with a power hard top.
The other guys
You probably didn't have a Jeep in mind when we started discussing convertibles, but think outside of the box with me for a moment. The Wrangler Rubicon converts for topless motoring -- granted, going fully topless requires considerably more effort -- allowing you to more fully enjoy nature and its off-road capabilities.
What's your favorite convertible type? Did we miss your favorite model? Share your picks in the comments below.