What’s the difference between a retractable roof and a traditional convertible?

By Product Expert | Posted in FAQs, Mazda MX-5 Miata on Thursday, December 26th, 2019 at 10:23 pm
2019 MX-5 Miata pictured from above

Retractable Hardtop vs Traditional Soft-Top: Which is Better?

Many people love the cabriolet, or the convertible as we call them in the States. However, sometimes what looks like a normal coupe all-of-a-sudden starts folding down its roof like something straight out of a sci-fi flick. Some people swear that the true convertible experience comes with a soft top though. So which is better? Which should you choose? What are the pros and cons of each?

What’s the difference between a retractable roof and a traditional convertible?


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Retractable Hardtop vs Traditional Soft Top

Hard tops are exactly like they sound, hard. They’re made of segmented pieces of metal, usually lightweight, like aluminum or another alloy. Conversely, soft tops, as their name also suggests, are made of a soft, pliant fabric material that stretches over framework to keep the elements out. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. Let’s take a look.

Pros of Hardtops

  • Less affected by weather
  • More structurally sound, durable
  • Provide more safety in case of accident
  • Potentially lower insurance costs than traditional soft top
  • Longer lasting
  • Quieter road noise
2019 MX-5 Miata with passerby reflected in the window and paint

Pros of Soft Tops

  • Easier to operate
  • Quicker to operate
  • Less expensive up-front costs
  • Lighter than hardtop
  • Takes up less space
  • Rattles less than hardtop

Which is better?

Well…it depends. Do you prefer the security of a sedan, but also want to feel the sun on your skin during those warm summer days? Then get the hardtop. Looking to get a convertible, but want to be frugal about it? Try the soft top. It all comes down to personal preferences.

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