Convertibles

Convertibles at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show

121116_VW_Beetle_1819-VehiclesEveryone loves a convertible. Whether it's a two-seat sports car or a four-seat luxo cruiser, nothing beats blasting down Lake Shore Drive on a warm autumn evening with the top down. So, where can you enjoy a convertible in the middle of February in Chicago? At the auto show, of course! From the affordable MINI Cooper to the hot Chevrolet Camaro to the uber-expensive Maserati GranTurismo, there's a convertible for every buyer.

As you might imagine, owning a convertible means making a few compromises. First off, they are almost always more expensive than their fix-roof cousins. Second, they have less cargo space and cramped rear seats -- if they have rear seats at all. Finally, they cost more to insure.

Those faults aside, a short ride in a convertible turns a frown upside down faster than picking the trifecta at Arlington Park. There's something about that open top wind-in-your-hair feeling that can't be duplicated by a sunroof.

When shopping convertibles, you'll want to consider your use of the vehicle first and foremost. That will help you decide which one is right for you. For example, if you are expecting to drive the car only in the summer and for short trips, then perhaps a rear-wheel drive two-seater like a Mazda MX-5 might be a perfect fit. If you are thinking about using the car year round and need a reasonably sized rear seat, then something a little larger and offering front-wheel drive like the Chrysler 200 or Volkswagen Beelte might make more sense.

A second thing to consider when choosing a convertible is the top construction. Traditionally, convertibles have had a soft top, but lately automakers have been designing convertibles with retractable hard tops. While more expensive, these types of tops give the owner the fun of a convertible with the security and all-weather protection of a hard top.

You can find these convertibles on display at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show or at the Vehicles on Display section of the auto show Web site.

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