By on June 17, 2015

2015-jeep-wrangler

Ladies and gentlemen, it is time to mourn the loss of the four-seat convertible. We have known for a while that its time was coming. First, they came for the Pontiac G6. Then, they came for the Toyota Solara. Then, they came for the Mitsubishi Eclipse. And when it was time to come for the Chrysler 200, nobody cared, because nobody buys these cars anymore.

But surely some people still buy them. I mean, there are still millions of people out there having midlife crises, looking for the last modicum of driving excitement before they start ranting about how mobile apps are tearing at the fabric of our society. But sadly, the fun is over: there are no reasonably priced four-seat convertibles left.

Yes, I admit, you can still buy the Volkswagen Beetle, if you’re into that kind of thing. But one of the principal selling points of the Solara and the G6 and the 200 was that you didn’t have to get some odd-looking retromobile in order to get a convertible. You were just buying a normal ol’ car, but it happened to have a removable roof. Or, in the case of the enormous Solara, an infield tarp.

You can also still buy the Camaro and the Mustang. But reasonably priced, they are not: the Mustang Convertible starts above thirty grand, and for that money you’re still manually moving your seats. (“It’s a lever right in front,” the Hertz guy will tell you.) The Camaro is even more expensive, and it doesn’t have any more stuff. It also has blind spots the size of New Hampshire.

So what do you do, if you want a four-seater convertible without spending thirty grand? The answer is, you do nothing. You’re screwed. All the normal stuff is cancelled, so you have to either buy a Beetle, pony up for a Camaro or Mustang, or start measuring your garage to see if it can fit a used Solara. The four-seat convertible is dead.

Or is it?

Enter the Jeep Wrangler, which isn’t on any automotive website’s list of modern convertibles even though it is, in fact, a convertible. The Wrangler has everything you need. Un-weird styling. A powerful V6. Reasonable dimensions. And a starting price you can afford: just $24,000 with shipping. This thing is the Chrysler LeBaron of the modern era.

But it’s so much better than a LeBaron, because you can do so much more with it. For example: in a LeBaron, you would only remove the doors when you wanted to get all the water out of the cabin that had leaked in through the convertible top. In the Wrangler, you can pop off the doors whenever you want! Cruising on the beach? Take off the doors! Off-roading? Take off the doors! Driving to your local post office to mail a bag of human waste to your ex? Take off the doors!

And then there’s the off-road capability. Most human beings do not take their four-seat convertibles off-road, because the trail is no place for a four-seat convertible. The Red Robin parking lot is. But with the Wrangler, you don’t HAVE to choose! You can go to Red Robin AND you can hit the trails. You can go to the nail salon AND the mountains. The Wrangler is at home just about anywhere, from the Kappa Sigma parking lot at the University of Alabama to the Kappa Sigma front lawn at the University of Alabama.

So to those of you mourning the loss of the four-seat convertible, may I just say: it ain’t over yet. And the Jeep Wrangler is proof.

Of course, there is one small problem with the Jeep Wrangler. Namely, it isn’t very easy to remove the roof. In a normal car, you just unlatch the roof and you push it down, or you just press a button and it folds right into your trunk, or, in the case of the Solara, you hit a switch, and the FAA gives you airspace clearance, and then you go inside to watch an episode of Friends, and eventually the top is stowed.

But in the Wrangler, it’s a two-person job. One person to loosen the fasteners and the other person to complain about how annoying it is that the roof in a Jeep Wrangler weighs as much as a canoe.

But the simple truth is with all the other decent four-seat convertibles gone, the Wrangler is all we have left. And if you really don’t like the cumbersome top, my suggestion is you buy two Wranglers. One to park in the garage with the roof off. And one to park outside with the roof on. You will still probably end up spending less than one single Volkswagen Eos.

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115 Comments on “The Last Cheap Four-Seat Convertible Left Is a Jeep...”


  • avatar
    Tinn-Can

    “And a starting price you can afford: just $24,000 with shipping” If you don’t want A/C or like any features that are standard on a kia rio… Otherwise you are paying well over $30k for one. I was super disappointed after driving a sport wrangler with a hard top. You can’t see squat out of the rear window with the giant wiper motor box blocking a third of it, and manual locking doors are just plain stupid. Shifter is super clunky and clutch had zero engagement feel. The interior also just doesn’t look like it would handle being exposed to the elements. They wanted $27k for that one with 40k miles on it…

    • 0 avatar
      jjster6

      It’s a Jeep thing. You wouldn’t understand.

    • 0 avatar
      ArialATOMV8

      When I was young, I used to like jeeps. After seeing major problems on them, I’d rather have a Geo Tracker!

      Today, it’s sad how, Jeeps are the only new off-road SUV convertible availible in the USA.

      Meanwhile, overseas, there is the LR Defender, The Toyota Land Cruiser 70 series (a convertible SUV which starts around 20 grand [America gets the soccer mom $75k fully loaded luxury version]) down in Brazil there is the Troller T4, and, tons of others that are not allowed in America under Mercedes Importation regulations of the 1980s (for 25 years)!

  • avatar
    the_yeti

    http://www.buick.com/cascada-luxury-convertible.html

    2016 Buick Cascada was unveiled at the 2015 North American International Auto Show in January 2015. The new Buick Cascada will be available in Spring 2016.

  • avatar

    I don’t like convertibles because I feel unprotected by being exposed.

    The rest of you without enough melanin should avoid convertibles because of THE SUN GOD RA who exacts revenge on the non-believers with inoperable forms of melanoma.

    • 0 avatar
      Mandalorian

      Agreed, but the wind is the really killer. Once you hit a certain speed in a convertible, the wind becomes an all-consuming monster. Literally nothing else about the car matters but the wind.

      • 0 avatar
        energetik9

        Depends on the car. I’ve owned convertibles (to include our current convertible) where it is very easy to maintain a normal conversation at 60-75mph with the side windows up. That of course is a design element. A rear wind deflector makes a significant difference.

        • 0 avatar
          JimC2

          You can roll up the side windows and tolerate another 10-20mph faster.

          (Helps make a difference in chilly days too, as convertible people already know.)

      • 0 avatar
        vvk

        My SLK350 is so good aerodynamically that even without a wind protector you can comfortably drive with the top down up to about 80 mph. 100+ is not an issue with the wind protector in place. It is very quiet with the top down up to about 70.

        But it is not a four seater. My 1994 SAAB 900 convertible was very, very windy.

    • 0 avatar
      319583076

      You are a weirdo.

    • 0 avatar
      zamoti

      The first day that I owned a Miata, my wife and I drove about 55 miles through central California in July. I had sunglasses she had a silk scarf, we thought we were cool. By the time we got where we were going, we looked like we had spent the last hour or so in a broiler pan. We were both sunburned to hell dry and feeling a little sick. We immediately bought some sunblock and hats and rode home with the top up.
      The worst was being in LA traffic with the top down and a bus motor to your left ear–and occasionally one to match it on the right. You just sat there, smellin’ that smell, feeling that miserable hot wash of bus motor air filling the car. I got good at putting the top up while pecking at the clutch in stop and go traffic.

      • 0 avatar
        b534202

        I spent $1000 for the moon roof option on my last car. I think over more than a decade, it was open for less than an hour.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I open mine 6-12 times a year. Why don’t you use yours more?

          • 0 avatar
            b534202

            Just mostly because of noise and my wife doesn’t want to get sunburn.

            I don’t mind it when it is on a cool night though.

          • 0 avatar
            Occam

            I open mine 6-12 times a month! Why don’t you use yours more?

            Seriously, I hadn’t had a moon roof until my current car – I never knew what I was missing. Even when it’s chilly out, keep the side windows up, open up the top, and see the sky, have fresh air, and adjust the HVAC to compensate.

            I’d guess I probably drive to/from work with it open (a 25 mile commute) about 1-2 times per week, and often have it open if I’m driving around running local errands.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Well, part of it is the fact only one of my cars has one thus the times to use it are reduced. But I dunno, I just feel like its more of a treat type thing than an everyday thing.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          I love the moonroofs on both of my cars, but especially the giant one on the Forester. They’re open pretty much any time I’m driving by myself in good weather.

          I was sad when I thought the G8’s roof was broken (do you know how hard it is to get parts for a G8 moonroof?) but it turned out to be easily fixable and it made me irrationally happy to drive around with the moonroof open after I fixed it.

          • 0 avatar
            energetik9

            Same here. A moonroof/sunroof is a must have option for me. I have them open almost any chance I get as long as it isn’t raining and the weather is reasonable.

          • 0 avatar
            JimC2

            Nice thing about a sunroof and moonroof is you can close it at any speed- like when you’re on the freeway and it starts to rain.

            Convertible roofs usually have a lockout at anything faster than “creeping” vehicle speed and/or you must be completely stopped before the sequence will start to open or close it. The other gotcha is how fast it takes to close the roof. The one time traffic lights are well-timed is when you really need to close your roof. (Yes, I know, First World Problems… pull off into a parking lot and suck it up, buttercup.)

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            My C7 allows for top operation up to 30 MPH. Very handy when it starts to rain…

          • 0 avatar
            MRF 95 T-Bird

            I enjoy the moonroof when the weather is too cool for A/C but too warm for heat.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I did a 150 mile search for new convertibles. The cheapest that isn’t a Fiat or VW is a Mustang at $27,235 followed by a Mini Roadster and Cooper both at $28,200.
    The cheapest Wrangler is $21,307.

    By contrast, one of the last 2 Murano CrossCabriolets in the US costs $44,920.

    And the thing that makes me mad the most is that in 3 years and 35,000 miles that Jeep will be sold for $23,000. I just don’t get Jeep people!

  • avatar
    ezeolla

    Putting the top down on a Jeep is the easy part. The hard part is putting it back up – mostly due to the side windows. They are a pain to put back in

    Luckily the Jeep is now my toy car, so it sits in the garage with all the windows out waiting for a nice day (like today)

  • avatar
    Zackman

    I like the Wrangler, however messing with the top is one aggravating chore. I’m sure someone could design a top that folds in one piece without removing the side panels and unzipping and rolling up the back window.

    There HAS to be a better way, for in many areas of the country, pop-up storms are the norm in the warmer months, and when we owned a 1992 Wrangler, it almost washed away one evening while we were at dinner, and when they announced that a Jeep was “floating down the street”, we looked at each other and figured: “oh well…”

    We wound up driving home in a soaked Jeep while it was still raining and laughing all the way. What else could we do? It was a chore to see out of the windshield though, for the water was on the INSIDE of the glass! Reverse-side wipers would have come in handy! The clean-up was no fun, though – the Jeep – not us!

    • 0 avatar
      AdventureSteve

      What was there to clean? Day was, upon buying a new Jeep, I ripped the carpet out, pulled the drain plugs, and only used the top when I needed shade. A hard rain meant I didn’t have to wash it anytime soon. I wouldn’t do that with a JK, but the JK isn’t really a Jeep :-/

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    “you didn’t have to get some odd-looking retromobile in order to get a convertible”

    Is the Wrangler not a retromobile because they never stopped making it? Technically, the old Beetle was still in production in Mexico when the New Beetle came out.

    A friend used to refer to his much-loved 500,000 mile YJ as a “barely updated Model T.”

  • avatar

    The JKU is a 5-seat convertible if you want to be technical.

    Also, that quoted base price is cute – 6-SPD, no A/C. Find one like that. Good luck.

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/what-happened-to-the-four-seat-convertible/

    Another recycled article from 2013….

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Wow that’s pretty blatant!

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Just add some stuff about the Wrangler….and…done.

        It’s a good thing you can’t plagiarize yourself.

        • 0 avatar
          VolandoBajo

          Technically, I believe it is still plagiarism, even if you own the rights to the original, or if the rights holder elects not to sue, though IANAL.

          But even if it is not plagiarism, it is blatant dishonesty, as well as a disrespect of readers, in that he thinks we are too stupid to notice or care.

          Perhaps if he had titled this “The Death of the Four Seat Convertible – Part II” or “… Revisited”, and included a link to the original, I wouldn’t have felt that way.

          But this way it just seems like a grown man’s attempt to pass off something as something it is not — original. Like the time in first grade I drew a leaf with crayons and tried to pass it off as a real leaf. Only at that age, no one expected me to know better, until it was explained to me.

          If I did the same thing today as part of a scientific study, it would have been correctly labeled as fraud…the representation of something as being something other than what it actually was, in an attempt to deceive and enrich.

          Which sounds like a fairly close definition of such blatant recycling. Perhaps society has gone to far in praising recycling, when it comes to this.

          Or more shortly…boring. Repetitive.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Predict which will be recycled next.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/im-glad-they-built-it-but-id-never-buy-it/

        QOTD: Which car on sale right now do you like, but would never buy?

        They may have used that one already though, it sounds recently familiar.

        Here’s an easy one:

        https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/02/special-editions-that-actually-were-special/

        QOTD: What special edition car was actually special?

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          QOTD: What special edition car was actually special?

          The Ford Ranger Splash. You had to be secure enough in your manhood to want a truck with a useless stepside bed and rainbow stripes.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Wasn’t there a purple Ranger Splash?

          • 0 avatar
            JMII

            Hey I had one and it was decent little truck. My was black (not yellow or purple) and had some throw-back 80s orange and yellow stripes on it which was ironic considering it was a early 90s vehicle. The bed was perfect for my needs. Mine had an aftermarket sunroof and roll bar in the bed with lights. Which was even more ironic in that the Splash was the 2WD, lowered “sport” truck and not an off-roader. It had the same 4.0l V6 as the Explorer, yet still struggled to tow my small 16 foot boat so I replaced it with V8 Dakota Quad Cab which features yet another “useless” short bed that once again has proven perfect for my needs. I’m not a contractor, so I don’t move 4×8 pieces of drywall often (like ever!)… instead I haul bikes, BBQs, mulch, various lumber pieces, furniture, tile, auto parts and other normal stuff.

          • 0 avatar
            VolandoBajo

            What is a useful stepside bed on a pickup?

            I never got the stepside idea, unless it was for farm hands to stand on, right a short distance, then get off and load another bunch of bananas, or cotton, or whatever.

            Was that it?

            Or was it a vestigial remnant from running boards on Model T’s etc?

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Didn’t he redo the special edition one already?

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Probably.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Please Mark, I know you read these. Stop paying Doug to rehash his old articles from TTAC and change fifteen words. This is not journalism.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Bob Porter: I looked into it more deeply and I found that apparently what happened is that he was laid off five years ago and no one ever told him about it; but through some kind of glitch in the payroll department, he still gets a paycheck.

            Bob Slydell: So we just went ahead and fixed the glitch.

            Bill Lumbergh: Great.

            Dom Portwood: So, uh, Milton has been let go?

            Bob Slydell: Well, just a second there, professor. We, uh, we fixed the *glitch*. So he won’t be receiving a paycheck anymore, so it’ll just work itself out naturally.

            Bob Porter: We always like to avoid confrontation, whenever possible. Problem is solved from your end.

      • 0 avatar
        VolandoBajo

        Another candidate for next “yesterday’s hash re-heated”:

        Manufacturer X surprises, shocks automotive world by [select one: adding, dropping, revising] the long-running Y.

        Here is the lead:

        In a surprising move, Manufacturer X shocked the automotive world, and the world of auto journalists, when it suddenly announced that it would [FILL IN THE BLANK}, after years of doing [FILL IN OPPOSITE OF PREVIOUS BLANK]. The carefully hidden move caught almost the entire world off guard, until it was revealed [ELSEWHERE], which is why I am bringing this story to you now, before it has become widely known [OUTSIDE OF A FEW OTHER CAR SITES].

        When asked the reason for such surprise and secrecy, spokespersons declined to comment. But exclusive sources say that it was because they hoped to catch other manufacturers off-guard.

        Now that this story has come out, the world will be watching to see how other manufacturers react, and how long it will take them.

        What is your take on this new development from [HQ city of Manufacturer X]?

        —- 30 —-

        That’s it. There ain’t no more. Great economy of verbiage. A bold new departure from recycling, in an attempt to shake off his past reputation.

        Remember, you heard it hear first. At a place where you can use all the news that is useless, just don’t get caught at it.

        Mark, PUH-LEEZ!

        Susan Powter just called, and left you a message: “STOP THE MADNESS!”

    • 0 avatar
      RayH

      This one didn’t feel quite as phoned in, at least. A competing car website that starts with a “j” will probably have this article in the near future: “I got paid big money rehashing old articles randomly changing adjectives in 1 minute or less and didn’t even have to participate in the comments section and it paid for a new set of tires on my Humarri!”

      Somehow I don’t think I’m wrong, but apologies in advance if I am.

      • 0 avatar

        “I got paid big money rehashing old articles randomly changing adjectives in 1 minute or less and didn’t even have to participate in the comments section and it paid for a new set of tires on my Humarri!…for the price of a new Malibu LS”

        Fixed it for you.

        • 0 avatar
          VolandoBajo

          Nope guys…the article paid for another repair for the Range Rover, so he could drive it around and feel like people were jealous of him for his astuteness in purchasing such a reliable and stylish off-roader.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    My wife traded in her ’97 Wrangler to purchase an ’06 Solara. As long as you don’t care about driving dynamics, the Solara really is a great convertible. It has rear seats usable by normal adults, a large trunk, it’s quiet and reliable… really my wife couldn’t ask for anything more.

    Contrary to Doug’s assertions, the top does not take long to stow (certainly it’s a lot faster than the jigsaw-puzzle hardtops) and it manages to do so even if we are parked in the garage at the time (and we don’t have an unusually tall garage; yet it still clears the opener motor by a couple inches.)

    The Wrangler was a horrible daily-driver. It was a gas hog, was always having little things go wrong with it, you needed earplugs at highway speeds, the windows needed replacing every few years due to cracking, the top was a pain, etc.

    Here’s to hoping the Cascada doesn’t suck and sells decently enough.

    • 0 avatar

      The soft-top is simple to operate. Its the hardtop that is a cantankerous mess and a multi-person task.

      • 0 avatar
        VolandoBajo

        And the problem with the soft-top is that you can gain entry with a case-cutter or three inch blade folding pocket knife. But at least you don’t have to worry about lockouts.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      Yep… the problem with the Jeep as a convertible is most convertibles are somewhat “sporty”. Also as mentioned the gas mileage on the Jeep is pathetic. I guess the good thing about the Jeep as a normal convertible is the road noise will be drowned out by the wind noise. I’m one of those guys that doesn’t get the whole “Jeep” thing – they are loud, expensive and really not very safe or practical. I’m sure they are fun in their element (IE: off road) but on road? No thanks.

      If I was forced to pick a convertible it would be a Mustang. Doesn’t really seat four comfortably however, but neither does any other convertible I can think of, including said Jeep.

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    This is trash, Mark, and you know it. Instead of paying Doug, why don’t you just reuse his old articles and make a QOTD out of each? Hell, Doug is doing the same thing anyway. I demand better of my favorite free internet content provider!

    • 0 avatar

      Double your money back guarantee

      • 0 avatar
        360joules

        Well played.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Triple my money back and we’ll have a deal.

        • 0 avatar

          I can only give it to you back in store credit, good towards any future down payment.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Can I use it for layaway items?

          • 0 avatar

            Only on a BHPH loan at state usury.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Do I have to buy a Mitsubishi Galant or can I get a Dodge Avenger?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Make mine a Suzuki Kizashi!

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I knew a guy with a Kizashi. He talked about how awesome it was and how it’s related to the GLI/GTI (I cannot verify this). He paid $24K for it. He could have just bought a GLI at the time.

          • 0 avatar

            What about an ’07 Eclipse SE…its an SE!!!!!

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            This guy, was he a friend or no? Because he got beaten like a rented mule.

            MY13 Suzuki Kizashi base FWD

            12/04/13 KC Lease $11,000 3,853 Avg WHITE 4G 6 No
            10/16/14 FRDKBURG Regular $7,850 15,573 Avg WHITE 4G 6 No

            MY13 Suzuki Kizashi SE AWD

            11/27/13 NJ Regular $12,900 10,457 Avg BLACK 4G A No
            04/15/14 BALTWASH Lease $12,200 27,457 Avg BLUE 4G A No
            10/30/14 ALBANY Lease $10,800 18,043 Avg WHITE 4G A No
            12/19/14 PA Regular $12,200 26,669 Avg BLUE 4G A No
            01/09/15 PA Lease $10,000 21,865 Avg BLACK 4G P No

            Still probably the cheapest AWD around though, on the BHPH lot.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            He was a customer.

            The Suzuki Aerio might be an even cheaper way to get AWD, but I doubt there are many left.

            And does the SE is Eclipse SE stand for “Super Excited”? Because that’s what I am when I think about owning such a fine automobile.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @flybrian

            The last one of those I was involved with got… Eclipsed.

            https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/junkyard-find-2006-mitsubishi-eclipse/#comment-5682330

            You need a new selection of cars for me not to buy.

            Oh and I’m curious, who picked up the 07 CTS?

          • 0 avatar

            @28
            I find it very hard to believe you don’t want to not buy the 6MT 550i with Night Vision or the 748-million-mile Z71 Avalanche that I’m not sure why I have.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            No German cars after MY96 thank you, unless they are free of course.

            I noticed the Avalanche and am dying to know the story on that one. High miles 4x4s are big in Florida?

          • 0 avatar

            This Avalanche has a bit of the ol’ cancer is on consignment from a friend of the owner.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Consignment? Nice.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Will you take a 1990 Camry on consignment? Haha. My grandma just stopped driving and I will be tasked with getting rid of the car later this year.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I might be able to move that for you, the only issue I can see would be transport.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I got your e-mail. I’ll let you know. We aren’t selling it until she moves out of her condo.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            That 550i looks surprisingly good for the mileage. Too bad the price actually represents the first of perpetual annual payments.

  • avatar
    John R

    Apologies for being completely off the topic, but as you and RegularCar Reviews operate in the Philly area what are the chances of getting them (him?) to drive your R32 GT-R?

  • avatar
    42fordtrucks

    The cheapest 4 seat convertible is the Fiat 500C. With near continuous rebates they can be had in the 18’s, and they seem to stock reasonable numbers of Pop versions at those prices. I bought a left over 2013 in April 2014 for $16,100. That would be hard to repeat but 18’s are very doable. Chrysler even offers an extended no mileage limit, no time limit warranty for a couple of thousand more. I routinely get people asking about the car and telling me how much they like it in parking lots and gas stations. The top is the easiest part, push a button and it opens and closes up to 50 mph. That lets you open the top for even the shortest trip. It even keeps the side airbags with the roof rails still in place. The small size is a no go for some, and the back seat is best for only short trips or children. As an affordable but fun second car or as a commuter it is however great. The power is modest but the flip side is high 30’s commuting and 40 on the highway. If you don’t like the looks, well then you don’t like the looks.

    • 0 avatar
      stevelovescars

      Yeah, and I also see dealers advertising new 500C Abarths for around $21k. The sound of the exhaust with the top open must be amazing.

      Yeah, yeah, it’s more of a huge cloth sunroof than a full convertible, but I agree with John R that they should count. Frankly, the back seat on these aren’t too bad as long as the front seat passengers aren’t 90th percentile tall and put the seats way back. I had four adults in a Fiat 500 hatchback without a problem… and who’s going to use a Jeep Wrangler for a cross-country drive with four adults, either?

      By the way, I have a real 4-seat convertible, a 1994 Mercedes E320 Cabriolet. These large open cars are great and at speed the front passengers are just fine from the wind, but at anything over 35 mph, back seat passengers are in a maelstrom.

  • avatar
    energetik9

    I love convertibles. We own a convertible. I’m sorry, but I just don’t classify the wrangler as a convertible. I know some will disagree.

  • avatar
    energetik9

    “You can also still buy the Camaro and the Mustang. But reasonably priced, they are not: the Mustang Convertible starts above thirty grand, and for that money you’re still manually moving your seats.”

    It’s 2015. $30k is reasonably priced. You’re comparing against cars that haven’t been around for a decade.

  • avatar

    Wrangler has an special feature: its body has 11 oversized rubber plugs that you pull when your get rained in (or snowed in, or hailed in). I have, and came in very useful. I don’t know if Solara had such holes prepared.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      You only need holes like that because on a Wrangler the pop-up storm already ended 15 minutes before you managed to get the top fully up.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        The Wrangler top is such a faff. I can’t believe people deal with those disadvantages all the time, for the benefit a small minority of the time.

        Noise
        Wind
        Cold
        Heat
        Easy vandalism
        Aging/replacements
        Ugly

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          Jeep people are truly crazy.

          A colleague owns an early 1990s model with the hardtop. The seals are so far gone on the top that it gets wet inside when it rains while the vehicle is sitting still. But I believe that she has continuously owned a Jeep of some kind (including a Patriot and a Compass) for at least 30 years.

          She was simplifying her life and sold a very nice FJ Cruiser and kept the Jeep. FYI both were fully paid for.

          • 0 avatar
            an innocent man

            To be fair, that could be an almost 23 year old convertible. I don’t know how well other drop tops hold up, but that doesn’t seem unreasonable.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            What I’m saying is she is so deeply in love with the Jeep she sold an FJ with less than 60,000 miles on it just to keep a nearly antique Jeep as her primary vehicle. That’s what makes Jeep people strange. It’s like the Harley guy who will forsake all his worldly possessions as long as he can “Ride to Live & Live to Ride.”

          • 0 avatar
            VolandoBajo

            Oww! Keep the Jeep and get rid of the FJ Cruiser? That hurts just thinking about it.

            But even as a former XJ owner, that is so much of a Jeep thing that it totally eludes my reasoning.

  • avatar
    b534202

    Mini convertible?

    • 0 avatar
      Thinkin...

      Yup. I can here to say this, and saw that a couple of you had mentioned it. Although in fairness to the author, the MINI convertible will be offline for a few months, while they switch platforms to the new car.

  • avatar
    PartsUnknown

    Nobody mentioned the Mini Convertible? $26K and change with a manual trans and it ain’t no stripper. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love me a Wrangler Unlimited, but the Mini is a cool ride IMO. Two different beasts for different tastes…

  • avatar
    Russycle

    I, for one, shall mourn the demise of the 200 convertible. Not that I’d actually buy one, but when you’re at the rental lot and looking for a cheap open-air upgrade, well, it’s all you got. Sadly, not anymore.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      A Sebring convertible is the only vehicle that my brother-in-law has actually taken back to the rental agency and demanded something else, he thought it was that awful. As a family they take at least two family trips per year that require flying and rental cars (and have done so for the better part of a decade).

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    Jeez, tough crowd here.

    The wrangler makes for a great second car. Can use it in the snow and have that topless fun in the summer. I would say that here in CO the wrangler is the second most common car, any version of Subaru being the first.

    The newer ones with the freedom top are great. Pop the tops out and you have a targa, takes almost 60 seconds. Put them in the back so when you are out and the rain comes, pop themback in. I will never remove the remaining hard top, too much effort.

    • 0 avatar

      I always do the opposite: pop the main top but keep the forward panels. They make for a free bikini top, essentially. However, once I lost a grip on the top and hit it upon the rear corner of the tub. Miraclously the side window didn’t shatter where it impacted, but after that I always used a hoist or asked for help.

      • 0 avatar
        87 Morgan

        Hmm, I did not know you could do that. I have only it for a couple of months now, so I am a novice Jeep owner at best.

        My biggest concern is where to put the top, should I take it off. Garage is full and i have a postage stamp lot, so I can’t just put it in the back yard..

  • avatar
    stuki

    Looks aside, and honestly who cares, the Beetle Convertible is an absolutely fantastic rendition of the concept. Probably the best 4 seat ‘vert since the original, “square”, K-car LeBaron. A few throwback Bentley’s possibly excepted. In a convertible, the trick is to create reasonably clean airflow WITHOUT having the windshield raked back so far that your peripheral vision does not extend above the windshield frame. Otherwise, you’re basically sitting under a glass roof, looking like a midlife crised dork who was once told convertibles make one look young and carefree. But who is otherwise completely clueless on the matter.

    As for the Wrangler, it’s great on trails, on the beach, on windy back roads and in the city. But above 65mph, the aerodynamics of the thing with the top off, just ain’t up to snuff. The roar from the roll hoop next to your ears, combined with the turbulence from the too low for the seats windshield, honesty makes it LESS uncomfortable to remove the windshield and wear goggles for freeway stretches. Which, I’ve been told, is not legal. And which, most certainly, makes you look like a real dork, whether midlife crised or not.

    • 0 avatar
      VolandoBajo

      Why can you not remove the windshield and wear goggles? What state?

      It would seem to me to be no different than riding a motorcycle with goggles for eye protection, so as long as your passengers are equally protected, what is the beef?

  • avatar
    Timtoolman

    Doug,
    First, NOT cheap. Going by what many websites might use as an income/debt load/what can I afford in a car? gauge, I’d say most people can’t afford a $20,000 vehicle, much less, $24,000 and beyond. The Unlimited lists for, I think, around 26,900-base. Out the door, my ’15 Sport cost $29,600, listing for $33,600. With a substantial down payment of $9,000 and 48 months, it’s still at $400/month.

    Second, the doors no longer POP off. They have a screw at the bottom, before you lift them off. And they are heavy. You’re right about the top, to which I have devised a lift in my garage to raise it with no help from others. You’ll see many contraptions others have made, but mine really works well. I will be posting my idea to the net shortly.

    BUT, all that said, it is a blast to drive. I row mine and am loving every minute of it. People ask if I’ve grown tired of shifting. NOOOOO!

    Good article, though.

  • avatar
    rwfromdet

    So many gaping holes in this article. How did it even get published?

    1. “One of the principal selling point of the four door convertible over the Volkswagen Beetle is that you didn’t have to get some odd-looking retromobile in order to get a convertible”.

    The Wrangler and the Beetle are both WWII area vehicles (Wrangler made by the good guys; the Beetle was a product of Hitler’s “People’s Car ”).

    2. [There is] Camaro or Mustang, but they are not “reasonably priced at thirty grand, and you’re still manually moving your seats, with blind spots the size of New Hampshire.

    The Wrangler cost about the same with manual seats and good sized blind spots.

    3. “Enter the Jeep Wrangler…”

    The Wrangler has been around since 1941.

    4. “Isn’t on any automotive website’s list of modern convertibles even though it is, in fact, a convertible.”

    The Wrangler is, in fact, a Jeep not a convertible.

    5. “This thing is the Chrysler LeBaron of the modern era.”

    The Wrangler, which preceded it but 3.5 decades, is NOT a modern version a the LeBaron.

    6. “It isn’t very easy to remove the roof… it’s a two-person job”

    Less than 2 minutes for one Jeep owner to remove or replace the roof. Non-Jeep owners are encouraged to not mess with other people’s things.

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