Not everyone looks good in a Speedo, but it’s easy to look great in a convertible. That’s the case with the three ragtops below, which also stir up plenty of wanderlust and envy.
FIAT 124 SPIDER
Mpg: 26 city/35 highway
0-to-60 mph: 6.8 seconds
Chris or Liam Hemsworth? Sometimes it’s hard to choose between hotties. That’s also true for Mazda’s MX-5 Miata, celebrating its silver anniversary this year, and Fiat’s all-new Spider. Both are built on the same platform, with many of the same parts. Cargo room? Identical. Pricing? Ditto. Even the interior cabins look alike, except for the infotainment systems and steering wheels. Sure, the Spider is five inches longer, but it’s still itsy-bitsy like a Miata.
The main differences between the two are looks and handling. While the Miata’s recent redo is stunning, this sportster has been toddling around for a quarter century. The Fiat has a fresher face, even though it trades heavily on its retro roots, especially the long hood and squared-off trunk, which harken back to the original Spider of the 1960s and 1970s. Another plus: the Spider is a tad quieter, thanks to an acoustic windshield and more sound insulation. And cornering is tighter, too, with the Fiat’s extra 100 pounds helping it hold the road. In the end, though, opting for a Spider over a Miata is really about selecting a ride that’s brand new versus one that’s tried and true.
Mpg: 24 city/33 highway
0-to-60 mph: 7.3 seconds
As if choosing between the Fiat Spider and Mazda MX-5 Miata wasn’t hard enough, there’s the VW Beetle. First introduced some 80 years ago, this iconic ride remains fresh. That’s because VW keeps reinventing it, such as with this year’s limited-edition #PinkBeetle with Fresh Fuchsia metallic paint and a pink-trimmed interior.
But pink or not, this softtop is a fun and surprisingly sporty ride. It hugs corners and handles potholes better than expected. And the bolstered seats feel like they were built for a luxury sports car. Three trim levels, but opt for the diesel or turbo models for more spunk. Most impressive is the long list of standard features, including power folding top, 17-inch alloy wheels, rear spoiler, keyless entry, heated seats, heated side mirrors and heated windshield washer nozzles.
RANGE ROVER EVOQUE
Mpg: 21 city/29 highway
0-to-60 mph: 7.6 seconds
When the cutting-edge Evoque crossover debuted a few years ago, Range Rover proved it could go wild over mild. Now there’s a convertible version, with the same Transformer-like styling and hoity-toity interior. This includes a tasteful, speckled-dot pattern on the brushed-aluminum trim and some top-notch stitching on the seats, dash and center console. A head-up display on the windshield is a nice touch, helping keep your eyes on the road. And the finished headliner and tasteful interior mood lighting jazz things up.
Other plusses: Heated seats that warm up quickly, and a fat, heated steering wheel that feels good in your hands. And be sure to turn off the pitch-perfect, 10-speaker Meridien stereo before parking, or you just may sit back and listen to tunes all night long. Sadly, there are some rattles, and the doors sound tinny when being shut. Also, those thick backseat headrests and the nifty low-slung roof — so eye-catching on the outside — reduce rear visibility. But the Evoque was never meant to be a truly practical car; its mission is to turn heads. And this droptop does that perfectly.