6 Cars Perfect for Cruising Under the Summer Sun

Summer’s coming fast, and there’s no better time to jump behind the wheel and head for your favorite beach or lake. The season has always been associated with hitting the open road, rolling the windows down, and having a great time with friends and family. Having the perfect summer vehicle can serve to enhance every outing, and thanks to the editorial team over at AOL Autos, we have a solid list of excellent choices.

The editors from AOL Autos and Autoblog were asked about their favorite summer vehicles, and they managed to come up with a fun, sporty, and diverse list. Convertibles are strongly represented, as are a couple of wild cards, and one very out-of-the-box answer. The only criteria the editors had to stick to? The vehicle they chose had to be currently available in North America.

Read on to see the picks, in no particular order, for the perfect summer car as chosen by the editorial staff at AOL Autos and Autoblog.

1. Chevrolet Corvette Convertible

As many might have guessed, the Chevrolet  Corvette convertible is the first entry on the list. This pick comes courtesy of Michael Zak, consumer editor for AOL Autos. As Zak himself puts it, “Appreciating the Corvette, in my humble opinion, is something that can only fully be done with the wind ripping through your hair, the sun browning your neck, your ears overflowing with the brutish roar of the engine.”

Featuring a 455-horsepower 6.2 liter V8 engine, the Corvette is a sure bet to have you leaving blisters on the pavement as you fly down the highway. Zak does suggest opting for the Z51 trim, as the added extras really bring the driving experience to another level. With a sticker price of $62,000, the Corvette might be out of reach for many consumers, but it’s hard to beat as the perfect summer car.

2. Morgan Three Wheeler

The biggest wildcard on the list is the Morgan Three Wheeler. Relatively unknown in the U.S., the Three Wheeler is the pick of Chris Paukert, executive editor at Autoblog. The Three Wheeler is a stripped-down vehicle that appears to be a blend of a motorcycle and a small car, and on some levels, it’s something you might expect to see a cartoon villain driving. Although it only achieves 80 horsepower from its small bike engine, it’s hard to imagine having a bad time behind the wheel of this eclectic vehicle.

As Paukert says, “You won’t care that its top speed is only 125 miles per hour, because you’ll be having entirely too much fun shifting the Mazda Miata-sourced gearbox and living out your Snoopy as Red Baron fantasies.”

3. Porsche Boxster

Our next entry comes courtesy of Steven Ewing, senior editor and test fleet manager at Autoblog. Ewing choose the Porsche (POAHF.PK) Boxster, a favorite of sports car lovers around the world. Perfect for a long road trip or quick escape, the Boxster is engineered with a driver-centric interior. Offering plenty of space for the driver and passenger, plus all the luggage you need, the Boxster is a strong contender for the top summer car available.

In Ewing’s words, “Its mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout and near-perfect weight distribution makes for an impeccably well-balanced machine. And no matter the spec — base or S – the Boxster’s great steering, well-sorted chassis, and plentiful power make this car at home on highways, race tracks, and sun-drenched, tree-lined back roads. It looks the business, too — from all aspects, there’s not really a single bad thing to say about Porsche’s roadster.”

4. Ford Mustang Convertible

Another American classic, the Ford Mustang convertible is a welcome, albeit unsurprising, addition to the list. The Mustang is the pick of Adam Morath, multimedia director at AOL Autos. Sticking with a classic, Ford’s 2015 redesign of the Mustang is much anticipated, with new powertrain options and a turbocharged four-cylinder engine. A new feature for the convertible specifically is a new electromechanical setup, replacing the old hydraulic function.

“Nothing announces the arrival of summer quite like a Mustang convertible. This iconic, all-American pony car has been a staple of warm weather cruising since it was introduced half a century ago. Accessible enough to land in the driveways of youthful enthusiasts, yet with plenty of nostalgic appeal, Mustang truly transcends generations,” writes Morath.

5. Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk

The lone SUV to make the list, the Jeep (FIATY.PK) Cherokee Trailhawk made such an impression on blogger Chris McGraw that he had to name it as his top summer vehicle choice. The perfect vehicle for the outdoor enthusiast, the Cherokee Trailhawk is ideal for hitting your favorite off-road spots, going camping, or taking on tricky mountain roads. A vast interior allows for plenty of packing space or even a place to sleep during dreary weather conditions.

McGraw says the Cherokee Trailhawk can get him deep into the backcountry and still have him sitting comfortably: “With its off-road capabilities, the Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk Edition can get me (almost) anywhere I want to go, and when the weather turns and sleeping in a tent is no longer an option, I can always just fold down the seats and spend the night in the car.”

6. Mazda MX-5 Miata

The final vehicle on our list of perfect summer cars is the Mazda (MAZDY.PK) MX-5 Miata. The Miata is the choice of AOL AutosErin Marquis, who says it is the perfect sports car for drivers without a big budget.” This affordable little convertible is the best selling sports car in the world. And for good reason. For your average consumer who is priced out of a big chunk of the two-seat sports car segment, the zippy Miata is a dream come true,” she says.

Marquis is right, as the Miata has managed to win over drivers for many years now thanks to a low sticker price and excellent performance. Customers love how Mazda has put together a car that is both fun to drive and can be functional as a daily driver. When it comes to perfect vehicles for summer, the MX-5 Miata is a staple.