Surprise Jump in Convertible Popularity

2017 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque Convertible

An increasing number of Canadians are looking to go topless this summer. Site statistics point to a 30 percent year over year increase in convertible searches this month when compared to the same time last year.

So what does this trend say about what Canadians are looking for in a summer ride? And, why, besides the obvious hair blowing benefits, are convertibles trending to be more popular than sports or even luxury cars?

And what is the best convertible for the discerning buyer? Here are some of autoTRADER.ca’s favourite current offerings:

Road Trip: 2016 Mustang GT

Because muscle car.

Scenic roads, fun-filled days, and even a winding road or two! The Mustang GT convertible fits four so you can be the leader for a trio of your closest friends while you hit the open road on your epic summer adventure. The best part? You can make good time getting to your destination thanks to the hefty 5.0L V8 engine under the hood.

Bringing that Indy feel to your local commute: 2016 Mazda MX-5

2016 Mazda MX-5

Few things are as easy and fun to drive as Mazda’s little MX-5 roadster. Formerly known as the Miata, the MX-5 feels like a go-kart as you dart in and out of traffic, dodging potholes and construction cones with a smile all over your face. Our favourite part? The roof can be put up or down with one hand at just about any speed.

Hitting the beach: 2016 Jeep Wrangler

2016 Jeep Wrangler Willys Wheeler Edition

Roof off, doors off, smiles on. The Jeep Wrangler’s AWD capability and simple, rugged design mean you can cruise down to the beach in style. Heck, you can cruise right out onto the beach if you like, and let the salty air breeze through your hair as you explore the sand, looking for the perfect spot to kick back and catch some rays. But not sting rays. That could get untidy.

Luxury mountain climbing: 2017 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque Convertible

2017 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque Convertible

Fancy a bit of hiking, but want to feel pampered on your way up the hill and home again? Not only does it sport a hilariously long name, the Evoque convertible is a rare, capable and alluring option for those who need some cottage-road ground clearance but also enjoy the feel of soft-touch material and high-grade leather in their cabins.

Looking to see (and be seen) downtown? 2017 Jaguar F-Type

2017 Jaguar F-Type SVR

Not only will you be seen in the F-Type, you’ll be heard too. It’s aurally perfect supercharged V8 sets the pulse racing – and that’s just the pedestrians you frighten with the Jaguars lurid screaming, burbling and barking through the exhaust. When it comes to capturing attention, few things are as powerful as the spectacular Jaguar F-Type.

Wine country touring: 2016 Mercedes-Benz SL

2017 Mercedes-Benz SL 63 AMG

With massaging seats, Mercedes-Benz’s wind scarf and the classic German ride, the Mercedes-Benz SL is a great option for those of us who like a little sophistication with our sunshine. Roof-off touring isn’t just for the frivolous and exuberant, the Mercedes-Benz SL offers all the joy of an open roof with out giving up on the creature comforts to which one has become accustomed, making it the perfect companion to tour your favourite wineries and the winding roads that usually get you to them.

Top Down Buying Tips:

If the used market has caught your eye it’s important to bear in mind some tips for inspecting pre-owned convertibles. They include:

It all comes out in the wash
When you test drive the car, take a few moments to run through the car wash with the roof up. After a good soak, inspect for signs of water dribbling down the inside of the glass, pillars, onto the seats, floor or inside the trunk.

Raise the roof
Manual or motorized, run the prospective convertible’s roof up and down several times, ensuring the hinges move freely, the roof assembly doesn’t bind or catch, and that the roof itself is free of damage.

The Draw: The Audi TT boasted plenty of selection, very unique looks, and typical Audi ride and handling dynamics. Quattro all-wheel drive was also on board – maximizing year-round traction and confidence for owners who don’t store their sports cars in winter months. Relatively fuel efficient and unique for its price, this instantly recognizable Audi ragtop is a hot buy in the used market. Four- or six-cylinder power was available.

Follow your nose
Inspect for signs of water leakage. Is there dampness or rust in the area where the roof stores away? Does the cabin smell like mildew, possibly masked with Febreeze? All of these signs could indicate a problematic water leak.

You’re in the driver’s seat
The seats in your potential convertible can tell you a lot about the model in question. They may have been damaged from being exposed to plenty of direct sunlight, or from experiencing repeated dampness and drying. Look for clean seats with consistent colouring throughout.

2016 Mazda MX-5

When the rubber hits the road
Convertibles use a complex network of rubber seals around the doors, windows, covers and roof mechanism to keep wind and water out of the car. Look at all of the rubber seals on the convertible you’re considering – ensuring they’re not dried out, cracking, falling apart or missing altogether.

Best bet for peace of mind?
Make sure to coordinate a pre-purchase inspection by a trained mechanic. Said mechanic can use a skilled eye to check for potential issues, abnormal wear, and signs of damage. Remember that a pre-purchase inspection could cost you a little upfront, but it could save you a lot in the long run.

Convertible demand growth by region:
AB 42%
QC 22%
BC 22%
ON 10%

Three different generations of Ford Mustang convertibles from 1965, 1994 and 1999.

Most Popular Convertibles on autoTRADER.ca:
1)      Ford Mustang (1,111)
2)     Jeep Wrangler (962)
3)      Mazda MX-5 (393)
4)      Chevrolet Camaro (336)
5)      Fiat 500 (330)
6)      Chevrolet Corvette (300)
7)      BMW 3 Series (276)
8)      Porsche Boxster (237)
9)      Mercedes SLK Class (214)
10)    Mercedes SL Class (209)

autoTRADER.ca Staff’s Top Picks for Used Convertibles:

1) 1999 – 2005 Mazda Miata (MX-5)
2) 2001 – 2006 Audi TT Convertible
3) 1999 – 2004 Ford Mustang Convertible
4) 2003 – 2008 BMW Z4 Roadster
5) 2003 – 2010 Dodge Viper Roadster
6) 1999 – 2005 Honda S2000
7) 2004 – 2009 Nissan 350Z Roadster
8) 1997 – 2004 Chevrolet Corvette
9) 2006 – 2013 Jeep Wrangler

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