Convertibles are special because they instantly make drivers appear cool. When the weather is rubbish, you can have a roof down at anytime you wish, in order to cover yourself and fellow occupants from any potential downpour and snow. Then throughout the summer, picture to yourself a hot day in the midst of August – and you can control the roof to disappear into the boot of the car and drive like Cary Grant and Grace Kelly in To Catch a Thief, and other old films you used to watch.
With a convertible, it makes this certain elegance of having a roofless car optional yet practical when the weather doesn’t always cater according to your plans. Whether soft-top or hardtop, there are different options for different kinds of people to meet your suitability and achieve the perfect match, and in terms of budget range too. Otherwise known as the ‘all-weather car’, the convertible is distinctive in its design because it is luxurious. For the conspicuous consumer, it is worth knowing that they are indeed more costly than open or closed cars because it is the way in which they are built.
The Cadillac XLR was debuted during 2003 at the Detroit Motor Show. As it is marketed by General Motors as part of a division, the vehicle was intended to feature its own individual styling, interior and suspension, and retractable aluminium hardtop. Ending production in 2009, the model still made its mark on the car market and industry. Its equipment included heated and cooled leather seats, navigational system, audio and DVD system (coupled with a 7” dashboard screen).
There are cons to having a convertible, however. It can potentially reduce safety as they can have poor break-in protection. If the car has a soft-top, the fabric, when exposed to the sun, can deteriorate and even shrink over a certain period of time. The ‘boot’ or trunk is also reduced in size as a result of the roof folding into the designated space.
On the upside of things, however, a new addition in car technology is quickly developing in the industry. The improved ‘retractable hardtop’ means that consumers will no longer have the only option of purchasing soft-top vehicles just because it is cheaper and they will eventually see the true investment of purchasing a hardtop. This means that ‘cons’ such as the reduction in safety and the fabric deterioration will no longer be a large issue. The retractable hardtop is otherwise referred to as a coupe convertible or a coupe cabriolet, meaning that it is a type of convertible, which alternatively operates an automatic, self-storing hardtop that is independently operable, as opposed to the folding textile roof. Interestingly, the first retractable hardtop was produced in France during 1934, when Peugeot marketed the 402 BL Eclipse Decapotable.
The Volkswagen Eos features a retractable roof that consists of five parts. One section
itself makes up an entire sliding transparent sunroof. Introduced to the industry during 2006, the car can hold four occupants and is the only retractable hardtop of its kind. The roof itself is capable of automatically folding into the trunk within just twenty-five seconds, and also reducing the usual amount of space compared with other vehicles to just 6.6 cubic feet. The design was responsible of OASys, based in Webasto Germany. Presently there is a plan for an updated version of this model to be introduced to the outside area of Europe in 2012. It is improved because it will apparently hold a 3.6 litre engine and an all-wheel drive system as opposed to just front-wheel drive like its predecessors.
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