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The Pros and Cons of Hard vs. Soft Convertible Tops

If you love to drive, there is nothing quite as thrilling as putting the top down, putting your foot on the accelerator and hitting the open road. The feeling of the wind in your hair and the thrill of watching those miles roll by is indescribable, but if you own a convertible you know all about it.

No matter what kind of convertible you have your eye on, buying a car with a removable roof is sure to be expensive. With all that money on the line, it is important to weigh the pros and cons of the various types of convertible tops – namely the differences between the hard top and soft top vehicle.

Both hard top and soft top convertibles have their fans, and in the end the choice may boil down to a matter of personal taste. Even so, it is important to weigh the benefits and drawbacks carefully, and that is what we do below.

Hard Top:

Let’s start with a look at the pros and cons of a hard top convertible. These convertibles are very popular, and they do have a number of advantages, as well as some potential pitfalls.

Pros

  • Superior noise control – Road noise is less prominent in a hard top convertible than in its soft top equivalent.
  • Better climate control, especially in winter – Hard tops hold heat better than soft tops, providing a warmer ride in cooler weather.
  • Enhanced visibility – Soft top convertibles often have blind spots, but hard tops have better visibility for a safer drive.
  • Easier cleanup – Hard tops are easier to clean than soft tops, which require special cleaning supplies to stay looking like new.

Cons

  • Harder to put up and down – Hard tops are more difficult to put up and down than soft tops. If convenience is your most important factor, it is probably better to go with a soft top.
  • Attractiveness – While hard top convertibles certainly have their fans, many do not like their looks, and some even consider them ugly.
  • Less trunk space – That hard top has to go somewhere, and that means less trunk space for groceries and other essentials.

Soft Top:

Soft top convertibles have their own set of pros and cons, and it is important to consider them carefully. Here are the benefits and drawbacks of soft top convertibles.

Pros

  • More uniform appearance – Soft top convertibles have smoother lines and a more attractive overall look.
  • Less weight – Soft tops weigh less, and that means better fuel economy and greater efficiency.
  • Lower price – Soft top convertibles tend to be less expensive than similarly configured hard tops.
  • Increased trunk space – Soft tops do not take up any trunk space, giving you more room for your groceries and sports gear.
  • Faster operation – Putting the soft top up and down could not be simpler, and soft tops can deploy in less than 20 seconds. That makes it easier to put the roof up quickly in rainy weather.

Cons

  • Easier to damage – Soft tops are more prone to damage than hard tops. Their soft nature leaves them open to tears and other problems.
  • Less secure – Soft tops are also more prone to breakins, since they are easier to pry loose than hard tops.
  • More road noise – Soft tops allow more road noise to enter the interior cabin. If you are looking for a quiet ride, a hard top is probably the better choice.
  • Owners need to keep them garaged – Leaving a soft top convertible parked by the curb can lead to serious damage over time. If you buy a soft top, be sure to keep it in the garage.

As you can see, both soft top and hard top convertibles have their benefits and drawbacks, and it is important to do your homework before making such a major purchase. From the convenience of putting the roof up and down to the noise in the interior cabin, there are lots of things to consider when shopping for your first convertible.

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