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Most Practical Convertibles

Rachel Smith
February 23, 2012
Most Practical Convertibles
Most Practical Convertibles

If you’re looking at convertibles, odds are that you want something fun. But if you’re like most people, you'll still need some practicality. That means you’ll need to evaluate things like the convertible’s cargo space and seating.

How big is the trunk?

Don’t expect to find tons of trunk space in any convertible, especially hardtop models that stow their folding roofs in the cargo bay. Even if you don’t plan on using your convertible for running errands or hitting Home Depot, you still may want to throw your golf bag or a few suitcases in the trunk of your next convertible, so looking at its cargo space is important.

When you research cargo capacities for a convertible, remember to look at the maximum amount of space available with the top up and down. The Infiniti G37 Convertible has a large trunk for the class at 10.3 cubic feet, but with the top down, you get just 1.99 cubic feet of cargo space. The same goes for the Chrysler 200 Convertible. You get an impressive 13.3 cubic feet with the top up, but only 7 cubic feet with it down.

Can passengers sit comfortably?

After you research trunk space in the convertibles you’re considering, assess passenger comfort. Decide if you need room for two or four people. Naturally, four-seaters are more versatile and the extra seats can be used for cargo as well as passengers.

Finding a convertible with comfortable front seats is easy because most models have roomy seating for two. You still may want to see how hard it is to get into and out of the back seats if you plan on having passengers on a regular basis, though, because some convertibles have better rear-seat entry and exit than others.

You’ll probably have a hard time finding a convertible with comfortable rear seats. The Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet isn’t the best performer, but it has decent rear-seat comfort since it’s a larger crossover SUV. Another model you should consider is the Mini Cooper Convertible. It doesn’t offer the shoulder room and legroom of the Murano CrossCabriolet, but the Mini Cooper Convertible is about as roomy as the Cooper Hardtop. The driver and front passenger have the same amount of shoulder room in both models, but the rear passengers lose about 5 inches in the soft-top model. The front row fares well with 41.7 inches of leg space for the front passengers in both the Cooper Hardtop and Convertible. The Cooper Convertible offers 29.3 inches of rear leg space, whereas the Hardtop has 27.

Power-Retractable Hardtops

Most new convertibles have power-retractable hardtops, which make putting the top up or down much easier than older convertibles with heavy soft tops that had to be manually operated. With the touch of a button, you can watch the convertible’s hardtop and rear window fold down into the trunk in robot-like fashion. Some even have a power tilt and sliding sunroof built into the top roof panel, like the Volkswagen Eos. Sensors in the back of the Eos will also tell you if you don’t have enough space behind the car where you’re parked to put the top down.

Wind Noise and Climate

It’s almost impossible to answer or make a phone call through a convertible’s hands-free Bluetooth system with the top down because you’ll have trouble hearing the other person. The same goes for the car’s audio system, which is hard to hear with the top down. Some convertibles, like the Infiniti G37 Convertible, have an optional audio system that automatically adjusts the amplifier to boost audio clarity when the top is down. The G37 Convertible also has an adaptive climate control system, which automatically adjusts the car’s heating and cooling when you put the top down. For example, on hot days, the G37 Convertible will boost the amount of cold air flowing through the vents when you have the top down and when you slow the car down, since there is less wind to cool you off.  

Most Practical Convertibles



Cargo (cubic feet)


Max. Fuel Economy city/highway

Volkswagen Eos





Ford Mustang Convertible





Mini Cooper Convertible





Audi A5 Cabriolet





BMW 328i Convertible





Volvo C70





Infiniti G37 Convertible





Jeep Wrangler





Porsche Boxster





*Behind rear seat/behind front seat