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Best drop-tops for summer

Best drop-tops for summer

Summer is here and if you love cars then a convertible makes so much sense.

There’s nothing cooler than slinking along a boulevarde at twilight taking in the sights, sounds and smells from an open-top car.

These days there just aren’t that many affordable drop-top options around, but trust CARS24 to have some on-hand.

Here are four very different and intriguing examples of the convertible breed currently available in our inventory. Maybe they’ll inspire you to get some wind in your hair while behind the wheel.

Ford Mustang

One of the iconic names in the automotive world, the Ford Mustang has been on sale in Australia since 2015, undergoing a significant overhaul in 2018.

While the Mustang is most famous as a two-door coupe, it is also sold as a convertible with a powered soft-top. And while its best known engine choice is a 5.0-litre V8, there is also a 2.3-litre four-cylinder petrol engine on offer.

The V8 is the go for those amongst us after a noisy thrill, but the four-cylinder is enjoyable and athletic in its own way – and a lot more economical to boot. While it lacks the sound of the V8, there’s no shortage of performance courtesy of a turbo.

Whichever engine you opt for, there cannot be many better ways of cruising beachside (although it is a bit tight in the backseat!) on a summer evening than in a droptop Mustang, especially when the roof can go down or up in seven seconds. That’s quick!

Backing up the heritage and style is a car with real driving character and class. It’s old school with its rear-wheel drive layout, tied-down suspension and retro dashboard controls (something modernised in 2018). It’s all part of the experience.

Holden Cascada

The Holden Cascada wasn’t on sale that long in Australia, launching in May 2015 and expiring in 2017.

It arrived in a period of tumult for Holden as it tried and ultimately failed to find a way forward in an era when its local manufacturing abilities were about to be shut down. Soon after, in 2020, the brand itself was axed by General Motors.

Sourced from Opel in Germany, but built in Poland, the spiritual successor to the Astra convertible comes with a responsive 1.6-litre turbo-petrol engine matched standard with a six-speed automatic transmission.

The sophisticated triple-layer acoustic hood that can be lowered in 17 seconds at speeds up to 50km/h. Like most convertibles there are compromises with visibility with the roof in place, but once the wind is rushing in there’s the same great view all around that you pay a lot more for in a luxury brand.

The mechanical layout is straight forward front-wheel drive which makes the driving experience pleasant without being all that sporty. Never mind about that, just enjoy the extremely well kitted out interior that includes soft leather seats and plenty of tech.

The Cascada is a two-door four-seater, so you can take friends for a cruise. But be aware boot space is just 280 litres with the roof folded (the roof takes up some boot space).

Jeep Wrangler

And now for something completely different: an off-road convertible.

And believe us, the Jeep Wrangler is as off-road as you can get. Trace its history all the way back and you’ll find the WWII Jeep that transported Allied armies across the globe.

It’s gone through plenty of iterations since then, but that seven-bar grille is still in-place, as is the removable roof and body panels – yep, even including the doors.

But virtually none of this power retracting on the move stuff here. The Wrangler has both hard and soft top options and they are very much manual install and removal. Having said that there is an optional power retracting cloth roof for softies.

The effort to make changes is worthwhile because on the right day there’s no better way to travel a forest trail or trek along that sandy track to the beach than in open-top (and side) Wrangler.

In fact, the Wrangler is eminently capable of going just about anywhere thanks to its hard-core 4x4 system with low range crawler gears and substantial ground clearance.

There are two Wrangler wheelbases – short and long. The former is a two-door with limited rear seat and storage space; treat it more as a two-seater with a more useful boot and it’s a better thing. The long wheelbase - or Unlimited - gets two extra doors so is a bit less squeezy in the rear seat and boot. Petrol and diesel engines are also on offer.

Mazda MX-5

Think of drop-top thrills and the Mazda MX-5 is likely to be the first car that springs to mind.

Through four distinct generations since it first launched in 1989, the MX-5 has stuck determinedly to a simple set of principles: Light weight, compact size, razor sharp front mid-engine, rear-wheel drive handling balance and just enough space to fit two passengers.

The current ‘ND’ MX-5 has been around since 2015 and is available with both 1.5- and 2.0-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder engines… none of that complicated and heavy turbocharging here.

You can get your MX-5 with both manual and automatic transmissions and while the latter is more convenient, the former is a short throw ching-ching delight that also brings with it a limited slip rear differential that aids handling.

There are two distinct MX-5 themes these days. The traditional manually-operated soft-top – you can open and close the roof from the driver’s seat - is as it should be for some people.

But then there’s the MX-5 RF, or retractable fastback. It comes with a power operated hard-top that can be stowed or opened in just 13 seconds at speeds up to 10km/h.

Only available in Australia with the more powerful 2.0-litre engine (a nod to its heavier weight), the RF has become the more popular model in the range. In this case, convenience tops tradition.

Every car listed on CARS24 has passed a 300-point inspection, comes with a 6-month warranty and a 7-day return policy. Why not see what’s on offer today?