The sun starts shining, the birds are singing and the thoughts of any motorist tend to shift towards the open road, with the wind in one’s hair, the roof down and a CD playing.
In some ways it’s the dream driving experience, but there is one issue. Is the open top one treasures during the summer months actually going to be of much use throughout the rest of the year? If it’s just for summer, can one afford it, and is it actually any fun to drive during colder months?
It’s a question that really depends on one’s individual opinion as a driver. At the top end, some motorists swear by the Porsche 911 Cabriolet, despite its quirky handling and sometimes dubious roadholding.
But these elements are trounced by the sheer driving pleasure of negotiating an Alpine pass in the height of summer with an engine purring under the bonnet, surrounded by mile upon mile of beautiful scenery.
Then again the car’s a terror in the winter ice. This balance is basically what it comes down to. www.barrons.com reckons: ‘Convertibles have a lot going against them, including the ubiquity of automotive air conditioning, terrible rear visibility when their tops are up, fears of skin cancer, tight interior space, and heftier prices than hardtops.
‘But nothing offers more glamour or driving thrills than a sporty, topless car. Think Thelma and Louise in their 1966 T-bird convertible.’
Of course, the debate doesn’t just centre on these musings. There’s the obvious and ever-present issue surrounding cash and value to consider.
So, essentially, look at models from a couple of years back and pick what is affordable on the used market, that’s likely to stand up well to driving in the wintertime too.
Good options include the Audi A5, Fiat 500C or Mini Cooper Convertible. At the top end one could go for a Porsche Boxster or, more affordably, a Golf Cabriolet.
In practical terms, one will probably pay a bit more on the used markets in the lead in to summer months, as the demand rises and consequentially the pricing point for convertibles tips upwards.
But more people will place their open tops on the market in summer, so there is a much wider selection available for the hard earned cash. Seeking an option in the winter might be a chase fraught with difficulty.
Ultimately, an open top is going to have downsides in the colder seasons. People just have to offset these against the pleasures available when the sun shines. Auto1s.com lets one offset the trial price of any used convertible against a final purchase price. This could be a great way to make that final decision.