Soft-top or Hard-top

The characteristics that make a roadster so is they all have two-seats, an open roof and an ability to put a big smile on your face. Many of the early roadsters never had a roof; they were always open and had a clip-on cover to keep them dry when they were not being driven. The folding soft-top was introduced to make the roadster more usable, where a driver could easily roll down the roof, for that open-air experience, and then easily roll it back up when the rain came.

With roadsters, it was always about the driving experience and less about the practicality. This made the earlier roadsters impractical to use as a daily driver, as the roof would inadvertently leak and let a cold draft in during the winter months. With advances in car design, car manufacturers have looked to address these roadster deficiencies by also providing a folding hard-top option. The hard-top's benefit was to provide the driver with a sporty coupe design with the roof up, but a true roadster driving experience when the roof was down.

Sounds like a win-win, but there are a few limitations the folding hard-top option. It is not easy to fold all of the roof components down into a compact area, so manufacturers created a partially open roof design. Look at the latest Mazda MX-5 RF, and you will see that the roof section above the driver and the rear window fold down, but the pillars behind the driver and passenger's head do not. 

Having owned five roadsters of both the soft-top and hard-top variety, I am often asked what I prefer. I preferred the hard-top option during the cold winter months. It always felt snug and warm inside when the opportunities to drive with the roof down were minimal. But when it came to having the roof down, I couldn’t go past a soft-top. With the roof fully open, the soft-top provides the ultimate, open-air, wind in your hair driving experience, and that for me is the best part of owning a roadster.

Whenever I picture someone driving a roadster it's a nice sunny day. Do you take it out from fast strolls on winding roads even on winter days?
2021-01-05 23:41:26
Yes, absolutely, roof down everytime. Heated seats can make all the difference. 
2021-01-06 08:26:24

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