Convertibles have either a hard top or a soft top for a roof.
So is the hard top better than a soft one since it is more solid?
The answer isn’t always so straightforward.
When deciding what type of roof to put on convertibles, carmakers have to consider various factors.
For buyers looking to purchase a convertible, here are the pros and cons of each type of roof.
HARD TOP: THE SOLID OPTION
Lopping off a car’s roof to turn it into a convertible is no good for the vehicle’s structural rigidity.
Manufacturers have to brace and strengthen the chassis to make up for the lack of a roof.
Having a hard top helps mitigate this.
At least when the roof is up (or closed), the entire structure is more secure.
The Mercedes-Benz SL is one such convertible or roadster with a folding hard top.
When the roof is closed, the SL really feels like a fixed-roof coupe.
However, a hard top means even more weight in addition to the chassis and body strengthening elements.
And as you can see in the photo below, there’s not much boot space left when the roof is open!
Hard Top Pros:
1) More solid and secure.
2) More insulated and quieter on the go.
3) Can give you both coupe and convertible in one car.
Hard Top Cons:
1) Makes convertibles even heavier.
2) Takes up a lot of boot space when roof is open.
3) Can take longer to deploy/close due to its complexity.
SOFT TOP: THE GENTLER TOUCH
Soft top convertibles are in a sense, less secure due to the fabric roof.
However, most manufacturers have considered this.
Convertibles and roadsters have roll-over bars that pop-up if the car flips over.
This helps prevent occupants from being crushed.
Soft top roofs can be surprisingly good at insulating passengers, too.
When they are comprised of multiple layers, they can dampen a lot of road noise when the roof is closed.
The sound of raindrops hitting a soft top convertible is more muted than raindrops hitting a hard top cabriolet.
Compared to hard-tops, they can also deploy faster.
Since they can be neatly folded, they take up less boot space when the roof is open.
Soft tops also have simpler mechanisms compared to hard tops.
So, they constitute less weight.
Soft tops also seem more atas.
Bentley Continental GT ConvertibleCars like the Rolls-Royce Dawn and still use soft tops.
Soft Top Pros:
1) Can be deployed/closed faster than a hard top.
2) Can look/feel more luxurious, too.
3) Takes up less boot space, thus enhancing practicality.
Soft Top Cons:
1) Feels less solid/secure compared to a hard top.
2) Can’t make convertibles and roadsters feel like a coupe when the roof is closed.
3) Soft tops are more complicated to maintain, requiring special waterproofing formulas.
Harmful contaminants such as bird poop must be cleaned ASAP.