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Convertible cars look and feel incredible. From an exquisite supercar to a major brand city runabout, the ability to take the top off and drive with the wind in your hair is intoxicating. Convertibles are stylish, head-turning vehicles that bring the driving experience to life in a way you just don’t get with a full-roofed car.
I know a fabulous girl-about-town who has always – really badly – wanted a convertible but she’s never gone ahead and bought one, concerned that the real thing would never live up to the dream.
I’m a big fan of following your dream, especially when it comes to buying a car, so let’s take a look at the pros and cons of convertibles. Keep them in mind when you shop (or rent, because there’s no better way to rock a road trip than to hire a hot convertible) and you’ll get a car you’ll love more than anything.
There are common things to be aware of when you’re choosing a convertible, but we have to say that lots of car brands have really picked up the pace and pulled in features to combat and eliminate these points, and of course every car is different.
The Pros of Convertibles
- They look amazing – there are few things as glamourous and stylish as an open top car. And it’s a great excuse to wear your most fabulous sunglasses. We recommend Prada & Karen Walker.
- Convertibles will help you pull faster than a gorgeous puppy or pair of killer heels. There are fewer cars with such a powerful pull factor as a convertible.
- 360 degree views of your drive – you can see everything around you.
- Open air whipping past you. I also ride motorbikes and usually ride with my helmet open because there’s just nothing more refreshing or life affirming than the breeze swooshing past you. Talk about making a girl feel alive! Heaven.
- Lighter weight, which can make the handling a touch easier.
- Less claustrophobic for people who find this bothersome.
- You can lock it up with ease, even when the top is down.
The Cons of Convertibles
- Bird poo and bugs. And cigarette butts. Motorbikists don’t wear bandannas over their face to rob banks: it’s to stop moths slamming into the back of their throats at 80kph. Convertible drivers run the same risks.
- Boot space is often sacrificed to house the roof when it’s retracted. Sometimes there’s almost no boot space at all. You might end up placing your Mandarina Duck luggage on the back sear. See: bird poo. I’d cry.
- Don’t forget to count the number of seats and doors available and make sure there’s room for everyone. You can’t forget to leave room for your awesome eccentric aunt, as much as you might like to. Although, it might just give you the excuse you’ve been looking for…..
- A car with a solid roof adds strength to the car body in case of a crash, which you lose a lot of in a convertible, and if you flip your car in an accident there’s no head protection at all. It might upset you more, however, to picture your favourite new-season Coach handbag flying through the air at 80kph.
- Aerodynamics can be compromised so make sure you’re comfortable with the ride.
- Convertibles are easier to steal, but there are more anti-theft protections than ever before so you just need to make a calculated decision.
- Higher insurance costs – get a quote first because some of the insurance costs can be breathtaking depending on your driver profile.
- I couldn’t tell you the last time I drank a chocolate McDonald’s thickshake, but every.single.time I see a convertible parked with the roof down and no-one in sight, I immediately visualise dumping said thickshake on the drivers seat. Just because. Yes, I’m incredibly immature. No, I’ve never done it. I like to think I’ve got SOME impulse control.
- The rear visibility tends to go downhill because plastic is just no substitute for glass.
- The roof mechanism is just one more thing that can go wrong.
- You will achieve more hair volume than you could have possibly imagined. Actually, I could move that sentiment into the Pro column. Hmmm.
- Convertible roofs can leak – secondhand and vintage shoppers note. If you live somewhere where the weather can be considered anywhere on the spectrum between ‘soggy’ and ‘manky’ then get a metal folding rooftop instead of a fabric one. But don’t use weather as an excuse to not get an convertible. Even if you have one awesome day a year driving it around with the top down and a grin on your face, it’s been worth it.
- There is more road and wind noise in most models (whether the roof is up or down).
- Wear sunscreen, because you’ll get sun exposure, and sunburnt ‘raccoon eyes’ in the shape of your favourite Prada sunnglasses is just not a winning look at The Emerson on a Friday night.
But at the end of the day, bird poo is good luck and convertible cars are gorgeous. Do it.