Summer is the Season for Convertibles

By: Kraig Johanssen

Convertibles are in this summer. For those who have retractable top vehicles, this is the season to have fun with those vehicles. But for those who do not have yet the vehicle, here is a lead to some of the bests in the market.

Some vehicles, however, are hard to purchase because they are on limited production. Examples of these are the new Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky.

But wait! Some of those can be rented for a road trip. So could still have the chance to drive those convertibles.

The Solstice (base price $22,115) and Sky ($25,325) are both nearly identical underneath. Because it comes with a longer list of standard equipment, the Sky is a bit more expensive. Base versions are run by a 177-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and have an option of a five-speed manual or automatic.

Both have a performance variant: the Solstice GXP ($27,115) and Sky Red Line ($29,025). These variants are run by a 260-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder.

Both vehicles have fuel economy that ranges from 20 to 22 mpg city to 26 to 31 on the highway.

Meanwhile, the Mazda MX-5 Miata hardtop is among the newest with a starting price of $24,945 (freight included), on the market. It has a metal top that retracts into the trunk. This feature turns this small two-seater coupe into a convertible.

With quality , the Miata was first introduced with in 1989 in its ragtop version and revived the little two-seat roadster type. Last year, it was totally facelifted. And for this year, Mazda releases its first hardtop version.

Aside from the fun that hard top gives during summer, when it is closed, the vehicle is totally protected from the weather and most road noise. It also makes the vehicle more secure.

Nonetheless, the Miata still comes with a ragtop in four trim levels. These include the base five-speed manual transmission model with a $21,030 starting price.

It is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine at 166 horsepower (163 with the optional six-speed automatic gearbox). Its fuel economy ranges from 22 to 25 miles per gallon in the city and 30 on the highway.

A soft top is standard with the Sky, Solstice and Miata.

Honda also has something to offer, the S2000. It is similar to the size of the Solstice and the Sky. This two-seat roadster costs higher than the Miata and even the high-powered versions of the Sky and Solstice.

With a normally aspirated 237-horsepower and a 2.2-liter inline four-cylinder engine, the S2000 costs $34,845 and can run either with a six-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. Because of its price, this vehicle is not a hot seller. But Honda fanatics can still have this.

The BMW Mini Cooper convertible is also one of the suggested summer vehicles. It is available in two versions, namely: the base model ($22,600) and the turbocharged S version ($26,050). The ragtop version of the modern Mini, it has four seats but a tight one at the back. Standard with a five-speed manual gearbox and a six-speed manual transmission, the Cooper's base engine is a 115-horsepower four-cylinder. The vehicle is also available with a six-speed automatic. From the performance and manual models, fuel efficiency ranges from 23 city/32 highway to 27/35.

Ford offers the Mustang convertible in three versions for 2007: the base V-6 model ($24,820), the V-8 GT (starting at $31,265) and the Shelby Cobra GT 500 ($46,500), which is supercharged and high-performing. Its EPA ratings range from 15 to 19 city and 21 to 28 highway.

The Volkswagen New Beetle convertible, the ragtop version of the modern Beetle, is another suggested vehicle. With a beginning price of $22,880, it comes with a 150-horsepower, 2.5-liter inline five-cylinder engine. It is available with either a five-speed manual or six-speed automatic with EPA ratings of 22 city/30 highway for both transmissions.

Other vehicles that would make your summer fun are the all-new four-passenger VW Eos, Chrysler PT Cruiser and 2007 midsize Sebring, 2007 Pontiac G6, BMW Z4 two-seat roadster and 3-series convertible for 2007, line ups of Mercedes-Benz and Audi, and the Jaguar XK and XKR.

Whatever vehicle you choose, make sure you will achieve the summer fun driving with the help of the vehicle's performance capacity.

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