Gransnet forums

Ask a gran

Soft top cars

(27 Posts)
Stoker48 Tue 24-Nov-20 16:59:49

I’ve been driving 36 years and only ever had four cars. All small, four seats, 3 doors.
Corsa, Polo, Ibiza and my current mini. I’ve been happy with them all ( and pass on to my son).
I’m thinking of renewing next year and am considering a mini convertible. Never had convertible before and thought it may be a bit of fun.
However, I wonder how difficult it is to clean the canvas roof - especially bird muck which seems prevalent round here. I tend to clean my car myself, only going to car wash about once a year.
Your thoughts - experiences would be really helpful

Izabella Tue 24-Nov-20 17:05:00

I had a soft top slashed twice. My last convertable was one that hard a retractable hard top. Easier to clean and warmer.

Izabella Tue 24-Nov-20 17:05:12

had a

tanith Tue 24-Nov-20 17:08:27

I was going to say I’ve seen a few slashed too.

BBbevan Tue 24-Nov-20 17:24:22

We had a proper Jeep soft top. You could take the whole thing off. Sadly we couldn’t hear each other talking. So we went sensible. If we ever win the lottery we will have another.Never had any problems.

25Avalon Tue 24-Nov-20 17:29:56

Make sure the top is easy to get up and down. You will also need to remember not to leave anything valuable in the car.

Jane10 Tue 24-Nov-20 17:39:04

DD has a permanent sag in her soft top due to her cat enjoying sleeping up there. It's nice and warm for a while after the engine's off. Lot of energy wasted? Seems a daft car for our climate.

JuliaM Tue 24-Nov-20 17:44:49

You may also find that the insurance premiums are much higher than a like for like hard top model due to the security risks involved. Personally, I would prefare a hard top model with a retractable Glass roof that is more weatherproof in our Uk climate. If you get caught out in the rain whilst driving with the soft top down then you would need to find somewhere safe to stop to close the roof, in most models it cannot be done whilst on the move, so in for a bit of a soaking if you happen to be on a motorway or stuck in traffic.

allium Tue 24-Nov-20 17:46:22

I've driven a variety of soft tops over the years, in view of the risk of getting it slashed these days I'd opt for retractable hard top as previously mentioned. All the best.

Ellianne Tue 24-Nov-20 17:59:58

Definitely a retractable hard top at the push of a button.

In my posh, affluent days I had an SLK, the best car I've ever driven. Stylish, powerful and small enough to park easily.

Even with a hard top you have to be stationary to operate it but at least you don't have to get out of the car.

Fennel Tue 24-Nov-20 18:24:31

We had a soft top Alfa Romeo Spider back in the 70s. Husband's choice. Like this
Sadly it didn't last long, the gear box burnt out and spares from Italy were too expensive.
I was driving back in it with eldest son (13ish) down the A1 from visiting my parents and he said "go on Mum do a ton" which I did and the soft top blew off grin.

Missfoodlove Tue 24-Nov-20 18:27:10

The boot space is often much smaller with a soft top.

phoenix Tue 24-Nov-20 18:31:06

I loved Iris, my SLK 230, retractable hard top, sigh.

MrsThreadgoode Tue 24-Nov-20 18:34:38

We have 2 soft tops, not usually used in the colder months, if you can park them under cover they are ok, but they are tough to clean, especially if the local Long haired cat lays on them, the boots of the cars are large, so no problem with luggage, we don’t leave anything in the cars and take the radio/cd player front thingy out when we park it up if we are away.
Great fun driving on the continent in the warm weather, definitely a top down car, with the hood up it’s not a lot of fun and if it’s raining forget it and use a proper car.

Lucca Tue 24-Nov-20 18:47:50

My bloke bought a soft top mini last year, silly old fool! But he has always liked convertibles and we’ve had sone fun holidays driving round france and Italy in them.

Dotty123 Tue 24-Nov-20 19:12:45

We’ve had two Mazda MX5s - loved them! Smiled every time we drove them. Best time was in the winter: hood down, heater blaring, great music playing. Happy days...

Grandmabatty Tue 24-Nov-20 19:20:48

I had a hard top retractable micra as a mid life gift from me to me. I loved it.

Smileless2012 Tue 24-Nov-20 19:35:36

My little Fiat500 is a soft top; love itsmile.

geekesse Tue 24-Nov-20 19:44:30

I have an MGTF soft-top. The folded top sits on the back sill, not in the boot, so it still has plenty of boot space. Bird muck is easy - let it dry and brush it off - it doesn’t do any damage. I’ve had it 11 years and it has never been slashed. I love it - it is the best fun to drive.

LauraNorder Tue 24-Nov-20 20:01:28

Had an MG Midget when first married, then went to Australia and imported a soft top ford Capri, have had a Saab convertible, that was lovely. Had a couple of Mazda mx5’s and finally a Suzuki vitara which was great fun but had to take all the luggage in to hotels because there was no lockable boot.
Convertibles are fun but noisy, cold in winter and you can burn your skin in summer. Good scarves for that Isadora Duncan look can end up on the motorway. Security risk and Envy magnet. There’s that look of disappointment when a young man looks expectantly and an old dear emerges.
If I had to choose now I’m old I’d go for a bigger more luxurious car like a BMW, Audi or Saab.
You’re probably much younger than me so go for it and have some fun.

SueDonim Tue 24-Nov-20 20:23:42

We had a lot of rag top cars, back in the day. I don’t recall ever cleaning any of them. grin

We have a hard top sports car now, and contrary to what Ellianne says, you don’t need to be stationary to put the roof up/down, it operates when you’re driving at up to 25mph.

Georgesgran Tue 24-Nov-20 20:37:08

When DGS came along my soft top had to go and was replaced by a Granny-mobile.

My soft top was actually a hard top covered by a layer of mohair. Had to be stationary to put it up/down but all done electrically from inside. Mine didn’t compromise the storage space - the car was mid-engined and I had boots front and rear.

I’d say ‘go for it’ - I still miss my convertible.

Grannybags Tue 24-Nov-20 21:03:26

You need to be careful not to have your handbag on the passenger or rear seat as it's an easy target for thieves.

Also choose your music carefully - I once stopped at red lights just as Mick Jagger sang " let's get together and f*ck all night" at full volume! Got some surprised looks!

Ellianne Tue 24-Nov-20 21:13:14


We had a lot of rag top cars, back in the day. I don’t recall ever cleaning any of them. grin

We have a hard top sports car now, and contrary to what Ellianne says, you don’t need to be stationary to put the roof up/down, it operates when you’re driving at up to 25mph.

Maybe my husband sneakily told me not to operate the roof in my SLK while driving because I was a speed freak at that time! circa 2005. grin

Nannylovesshopping Tue 24-Nov-20 21:14:45

I have a Fiat 500 soft top and absolutely love it, my wonderful son in law found some special protector and applied it as soon as I took delivery of the car, bird poop, leaves all clean off easily, I have had convertibles for years, and if it’s not raining the roof is down, as for the slashing of the roof, not happened yet, maybe tempting fate here, but that’s what I’m insured for.