Though it was first invented in 1919, the hardtop roof wasn’t commonly implemented on convertibles until the 1990s. It took them a while to get it down (pun unintended), and frankly, it still seems like a work of magic. How does something so seemingly solid manage to vanish and leave what previously appeared to be a coupe in perfect convertible form?
The Magic of the Hardtop
In most hardtop convertibles, the driver pushes a button that causes the top to fold itself in half. The side windows roll down, the trunk opens its gaping maw, and the hardtop lowers itself into it. This does generally impede on trunk space, but it succeeds in transforming a formerly hard-topped vehicle into a real live convertible.
Both hardtops and soft tops have their own positives and negatives. Some drivers prefer hardtops because they can offer more protection from moisture (they seal tighter) and are better insulated, allowing the vehicle to more quickly adjust the interior temperature. It also can’t be slashed open, a technique that thieves occasionally use to get into soft top convertibles and which can be costly to repair.
Soft-tops, however, are much better in cold weather than is commonly supposed. They just take a little longer to heat, due to lower insulation. They’re typically cheaper to buy and fix. However, they could also let in more road noise.
The look of a hardtop or soft-top convertible is distinctly different, and some drivers prefer one over the other. This aesthetic appeal comes down to personal preference.
2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata – Premiere Hardtop and Soft Top
One of our favorite modern convertibles is the 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata. This vehicle is a blast to drive and comes in both soft and hardtop variations. Reviewers universally praise this excellent driving machine, and we encourage you to check it out if you haven’t already.