A convertible often isn’t the most practical car, but that’s not the reason drivers love them. For instance, the Mazda MX-5 Miata comes loaded with tech features and a luxurious interior. Opulence aside, it’s hard to beat the feeling of driving with the top down.
And don’t forget the prestige of driving a car with an unconventional yet coveted body style. According to MotorTrend, the top three convertibles are also exceptional performers. Here’s what each model offers.
The Mazda MX-5 Miata is the smallest of these performance convertibles
Even lighter with its soft top, the Mazda MX-5 Miata boasts the automaker’s trademark performance and handling prowess. It packs a Skyactiv-G inline-four engine producing 181 hp and 151 lb-ft of torque. Old-school fans will appreciate the six-speed manual gearbox, though an automatic is also available.
With the manual, you get Bilstein shock absorbers and a limited-slip differential. These models can also wear Brembo brakes and Recaro sports seats. The Miata’s ride might be stiffer than other convertibles, but this little roadster is responsive around corners and doesn’t feel short on power.
During MotorTrend’s testing, the MX-5 Miata needed 5.7 seconds to reach 60 mph. However, that’s on the Club model, so the soft-top version is probably faster.
The Miata comes with either a hard or soft top, each one folding down or up in 13 seconds. The soft-top version is the cheaper of the two.
The convertible option doesn’t mean less cargo space, but the Miata doesn’t have much to begin with.
Only two passengers can fit inside, but the interior is accommodating enough for most adults.
For 2021, the top-tier Touring trims also come with wireless smartphone integration and optional white leather seats.
The Ford Mustang convertible delivers smooth cruising power
The Ford Mustang EcoBoost convertible packs a more powerful engine — a turbo-four making 330 hp. You can also get a convertible version of the EcoBoost Premium and GT Premium models. With the High Performance package on the EcoBoost, this pony car can reach 60 mph in a clean five seconds.
MotorTrend didn’t think it exhibited great handling like the Miata, and the convertibles don’t feel particularly stable. Still, the Ford Mustang retains its agility and smooth cruising power even with a removable top.
Trunk space is slightly compromised, but it still has over 11 cubic feet. The Mustang also has the fastest top on the market, opening in a lightning-fast seven seconds, Motor1 reports.
Some hard plastics mar the Ford Mustang’s interior, but the seats are roomy and supportive. Unfortunately, the infotainment screen is tiny unless you’re riding in one of the Premium convertibles. These models come with Ford’s SYNC 3 touchscreen infotainment interface with more features, plus an upgraded sound system.
The Chevy Camaro flexes its top-down muscle
With power comparable to the Mustang, the Chevy Camaro convertible has a four-cylinder engine making 275 hp on the LS trim. The convertible option is also available for every other trim, including the range-topping ZL1. The most powerful convertible, the Camaro 2SS, harnesses 335 hp and can reach 60 mph in just four seconds.
However, MotorTrend recommends sticking with the V6 or four-cylinder models because they’re lighter. With one of these engines in the SS models, you get the best handling and smoothest power delivery, MT says. These models can also come with summer tires, lighter wheels, and an engine cooling system.
The Camaro’s power-folding roof needs 15 seconds to deploy and retract, longer than the Miata and Mustang. Plus, MotorTrend says the interior trails behind rivals in roominess.
It has the smallest trunk of the three contenders, with only a little over seven cubic feet of space.
But despite some small flaws, all are stylish and comfortable performance convertibles that are well worth the spend.