Useful Car Tips

Convertibles Vs. Coupes

December 28, 2018
If you’re in the market for a sporty car, chances are it comes not only as a coupe, but as a convertible too. Although convertible sales have decreased in the US in recent years, they still offer several distinct advantages over their fixed roof counterparts. The most important one, of course, is the ability to put the roof down on a nice day, offering a unique visceral experience that a coupe inherently can’t match. Convertibles aren’t without their own disadvantages, however. Let’s explore the most important distinctions between convertibles and coupes and hopefully give you the knowledge you need to make a future buying decision.


Coupes offer an increase in chassis stiffness over convertibles due to the fixed nature of their roofs. On paper, this results in a more composed, planted feeling from the suspension mid-corner and more confidence for the driver. However, chances are you won’t be driving quick enough on the street to notice a significant difference, and a convertible may fit the bill nearly as well as a coupe. Another point to consider is weight. Soft top convertible roofs aren’t heavy on their own, but because of the mechanism for retracting and storing the roof, weight goes up significantly. Convertibles will always add a substantial weight penalty over their coupe counterparts, and those looking for the quickest car they can get for their money should opt for a coupe.


Put simply, convertibles tend to be more expensive than equivalent coupes. Let’s look at one example with one of America’s most popular sports car, the Ford Mustang. The 2019 Ford Mustang EcoBoost coupe starts at $26,120, while its convertible counterpart starts $31,620, and this roughly $5,000 difference is repeated through each trim in the lineup. This trend is seen with every major car manufacturer due to the complexity of a convertible roof versus a fixed one. While convertibles offer a unique roof-down experience, the consumer pays for it with an increase in price.


As far as practicality goes, convertibles will offer compromised trunk space to fit their roof mechanism. This means less space to fit groceries, luggage, or any large items you’d like to transport. While this won’t be a factor for those merely looking for a weekend car, those looking for a daily driver may wish to pursue the coupe option. What about reliability? While modern convertible roofs are designed to last the lifetime of a car, accidents and malfunctions happen. A tear in the fabric of a soft top or a small panel gap between a hard top and windshield can lead to leaks. While convertible roofs are repairable, this may mean additional costs and time spent in the service center. Should you be anxious when buying a modern convertible? Probably not. Failures are rare, but they are something to keep in mind, especially when considering a used convertible.


Convertibles are fun, stylish, and versatile, allowing you to transition from a top-down warm weather cruiser to a top-up “coupe” in under a minute if bad weather hits. But while they have their advantages, they have their pitfalls as well. If you’re looking for a daily driver, it’s worth it to look into a coupe and possibly schedule a test drive, or at least a visit to the dealership. But if you’re looking for a weekend car that allows you to put the roof down and enjoy the warm weather around you, add a convertible into consideration. Whichever you end up choosing, make sure to make the most out of your newest purchase and go for a drive on your favorite local road!
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