Skip to main content

Owning a convertible car is a lot of fun for drivers that like to be one with the environment around them. Driving with the top down is a freeing experience that you can’t really replicate with an open moonroof and rolled-down windows in other cars. However, many convertible car owners often buy hardtops for their cars, but why?

Aesthetics is one of the more prominent reasons to buy a hardtop

2008 Honda S2000 with the top down
2008 Honda S2000 with the top down | Joe Santos/MotorBiscuit

When I purchased my 2008 Honda S2000 back in 2017, I couldn’t get over the thought of buying a hardtop for it. If you have ever seen an S2000 with an OEM hardtop, you would understand. It completely changes the look of the car. That being, the car’s aesthetics is a popular reason why owners put hardtops on their convertibles.

Autotrader noted that a hardtop makes the car look “much more seamless and can often not be detected as a convertible.” Take a gander at any soft-top convertible and you’ll notice the stark contrast between the convertible roof and the rest of the car. Sure, it might not look that bad, but having a uniform look throughout the car most often looks a lot better.

2008 Honda S2000 with the OEM hardtop
2008 Honda S2000 with the OEM hardtop | Joe Santos/MotorBiscuit

Safety and noise reduction are two advantages

Marna Wood loves her new 2007 Mazda Miata MX–5 hardtop convertible.
Marna Wood loves her new 2007 Mazda Miata MX–5 hardtop convertible. | Getty Images

Aesthetics aside, two of the more important reasons that convertible owners buy hardtops are for safety and noise reduction. Since soft-tops are often made of canvas, twill, or other soft-cloth materials, it’s easy for thieves to cut into them and steal personal items from the car or even the car itself. But with a hardtop, it’s harder to gain access to the car’s cabin.

Hardtops also provide protection from the outside elements. For example, I live in Colorado and it snows in the wintertime. Fortunately, my car’s hardtop can handle a lot of snow piled on top of it and it even keeps the cabin a little warmer in the colder months. In contrast, a soft-top will typically let a lot of that cold in. The same goes for the added heat in the summertime.

Additionally, adding a hardtop to a convertible can muffle a lot of the outside noise. Most hardtops that are offered as accessories by the manufacturer will have insulation and a headliner. They’re also typically constructed of sheet metal, just like the rest of the car, for added strength. As you can imagine, adding a hardtop to a convertible can make it feel, look, and even sound like a regular car inside and out.

Disadvantages to buying a hardtop for your convertible

Lexus SC 430, a hardtop convertible, where the top folds into the trunk.
Lexus SC 430, a hardtop convertible, where the top folds into the trunk. | (Photo By BRUCE BISPING/Star Tribune via Getty Images)

Whether you’re planning on purchasing a hardtop convertible — like a Mazda MX-5 RF – or you’re planning to stick a hardtop on your older convertible, there are some disadvantages. As Autotrader reports, one disadvantage to buying a hardtop convertible is the added mechanical components and mechanisms that could potentially break over time. Also, in some hardtop convertible cars, the hardtop retracts into the trunk, which eats up a lot of the cargo room.

However, if you’re like me and you own a convertible that you want to add a hardtop to, then consider the added cost and hardware you’ll need to do so. Adding a hardtop is a little more than buying the top in most cases, especially if you’re buying a used one, so think about everything you’ll need to complete the project and see if it’s worth it.

For example, I had to source mounts and seals to make my car’s hardtop work perfectly, you might have to do so as well. Also, consider the time it takes to remove and install the hardtop in case you want to enjoy the soft top on sunny days.

Hard or soft, there’s nothing like it

Ultimately, convertible owners add hardtops to their cars for security, safety, and aesthetic reasons. Of course, there’s no more of a freeing feeling than driving with the top down, but sometimes, a hardtop can come in handy.


What’s it Like to Daily Drive a Honda S2000?