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Summer is just around the corner and with it come long hauls on vacation, midnight cruising, and trips to the local watering hole. Sunny weather is also the perfect time to shop for a new car or truck, so we’ve put together this handy-dandy shopping guide.

Range Rover Evoque Convertible
Range Rover Evoque Convertible

One imagines the planning meeting for the Range Rover Evoque convertible going something like this: “People like SUVs, people like convertibles - therefore let us make a convertible SUV!” No doubt Land Rover hopes to avoid the dismal fate of the Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet, the last time an automaker took a buzzsaw to the roof of an otherwise decent SUV. However, the Evoque is almost twice the price of a Murano, and in this price range perhaps eccentricity is a virtue. The result is far more comely than Nissan’s effort, as it starts with the Evoque’s chiseled body and goes up from there. This is clearly a vehicle to be seen in, which is good, as the convertible adds over 400 pounds to the hardtop Evoque, making it slower than virtually any other luxury SUV. This Sport Utility Vehicle is not completely devoid of sport, however, with the Evoque’s tactile steering remaining mostly untouched. Utility, as measured by storage capacity, is also compromised, but no one buys a convertible looking for a weekend lumber wagon. Those who want to ride high with their top down can expect to shell out $58,695, with plenty of wallet draining options for those who feel so inclined.
Mazda MX-5
Mazda MX-5

At the opposite end of the convertible spectrum is the featherweight, nimble, consummate driver’s car still known informally as the Miata, the MX-5. While the Evoque is the automotive equivalent of a water park’s lazy river, the MX-5 is a waterslide, a twisting tube of high speed and hairpin turns designed to scintillate under the sun. Where the Evoque struggles to speed despite its power, the MX-5 provides snappy acceleration with lightness and the same modest engine found in Mazda’s entry level Mazda3. It also happens to be the cheapest rear-wheel drive car available you’d actually want to own (the others being from the lackluster Smart lineup) New this year is the MX-5 RF, a folding hardtop  At $24,915, it’s the least expensive way to sample an era when convertible roadsters were the favored summertime toys of drivers across the world!

Chevrolet Camaro Convertible
Chevrolet Camaro Convertible

The Chevy Camaro hardtop is a top-shelf performer, not merely as a muscle car, but as a true do-it-all sports car which stops, turns, and goes as fast as cars costing far more. It has but one glaring flaw: it’s built like a bunker. Claustrophobes and anyone looking for wide open spaces should cross shop the convertible version, which keeps most of the best qualities of the Camaro and allows drivers to drop the top whenever they the feel the urge. Chevy offers the convertible with the same engine choices and options as the hardtop. Although it charges a rather steep $7,000 premium for a comparable convertible trimline, so these topless Camaros start at $31,905.

Jaguar F-Type Convertible
Jaguar F-Type Convertible

The MX-5 may be the most fitting inheritor to the lightweight British roadsters of yesteryear but let us not forget actual Brits are still making actual convertible sports coupes, albeit for more than twice the price. If the styling doesn’t draw enough attention, the snarl of the 340 horsepower engine certainly will. There is more to this Jag than power and sex appeal, it has agility befitting any self-respecting big cat. Luxury seekers will find the base model well-equipped and livable but like any good premium marque, Jaguar will happily option yours with ever more powerful engines and cosseting features, for a price.
But for your $61,400, you get an impeccably styled future classic guaranteed to turn heads!
BMW 228i Convertible
BMW 228i Convertible

BMW has mostly succumbed to the luxury buyer’s demand for cushy and capacious living rooms on wheels, at the cost of the brand’s longstanding promise to provide “the ultimate driving machine.” One of the standouts still delivering this promise is their diminutive 2 Series. Luckily for Sun worshippers, BMW has affixed a folding roof to their most sublime driver’s car, which despite some extra tonnage, maintains all the virtues of the standard coupe: ample power, telepathic steering, and handsome proportions. $38,950 is the starting price for this slice of old school Bavarian excellence.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk
Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk

Jeep, long a purveyor of off-road ready vehicles, has a split personality that occasionally leads them to grab the most powerful engine they can and stuff it into a Grand Cherokee full-sized SUV. Why? “Why not?”appears to be their response judging by their latest monstrosity the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, which uses the 707 horsepower engine out of the Dodge Challenger and Charger Hellcats. Jeep didn’t just stuff supercar power in their premiere soccer-mom transporter they also beefed up suspension and driveline components, added a subtle array of badges and styling tweaks, and in so doing created an SUV faster than most sports cars, yet can tow up to 7200 lbs. With monstrous power and the ability to seat seven, and tow a boat, it’s the perfect go-anywhere, do-anything summertime companion. Price has not been released, but expect it to start north of $80,000.


www.Dishmag.com / Issue 192 - July 2017
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