Monday, March 15, 2010

Tiny and topless: Some subcompact convertibles

Who doesn't love a convertible? There's nothing like that top-down, wind-in-the-hair feeling. I recently saw a Geo Metro Convertible, and got to thinking about some of the other tiny topless vehicles out there. Here are some notables from the last couple of decades.

The Fiat 500C is one of the newest subcompacts on the market. Already sold in Europe, it'll likely show up in the U.S. in 2011 or 2012. Currently, it's available with a 99 hp 1.4-liter four cylinder engine. Note the unique folding top, too.

Geo Metro Convertible - Subcompact CultureThe Suzuki-built Geo Metro convertible was sold in the U.S. from 1990–1993. Fast? Nope. The 1.0-liter three banger made 55 hp, but only had to move 1,753 lbs. It did, however, have an EPA rating of 41 highway MPG.

MINI Cooper Convertible - Subcompact CultureMINI has sold its topless Cooper since 2005 here in the States. Offered with or without the aid of a blower (a turbo replaced the S-model's supercharger in 2007), all MINI Convertibles have great handling and outstanding driving dynamics.

Smart ForTwo Cabriolet - Subcompact CultureThe smallest convertible currently sold in the U.S. is the venerable Smart ForTwo Cabriolet. It also has the highest EPA gas mileage of any convertible in the U.S.: 33 city, 41 highway.

1997 Toyota Paseo Convertible - Subcompact CultureToyota's two-door Paseo was sold as a convertible for just one year: 1997. Its 1.5-liter engine made 93 hp and 100 ft./lbs. of torque. Since this tiny topless Toyota was only made for one year, it's a pretty rare find.

Suzuki Cappuccino - Subcompact CultureUnfortunately never sold in the U.S. (although available in the UK and Japan), the Kei-sized '91–'97 Cappuccino was powered by a turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 657cc three cylinder making 63 hp. So cool, so unobtainable—at least in the U.S.

Mazda Miata - Subcompact CultureIt would be a disservice to not mention Mazda's ubiquitous Miata here. On sale since 1990, the Miata has been the staple small convertible across the globe, and continues to be a favorite among drivers, with good reason.

Mercury Capri - Subcompact CultureRemember this one? The front-wheel drive '91–'94 Mercury Capri was built in Australia and available in normally aspirated (100 hp) and turbocharged XR2 (136 hp) models, both 1.6-liter mills. FYI, the turbo motor is a hot swap in the Ford Festiva community.

Fond memories of other small convertibles? Talk about it in the comments section!


gokartride said...

I'd love to see something like the a Daihatsu Copen. Not holding my breath, though.

nlpnt said...

I was thinking of the Yugo Cabrio (having just finished Jason Vuic's Yugo book).