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Front Page - Friday, May 3, 2019

Car top down, radio on: Best convertible picks for 2019

Spring is here, which means it’s warm enough to visit a few dealerships and test-drive the new convertibles you’ve been eyeing all winter.

But which one to buy? Should you get a lithe, two-seat roadster or a roomy luxury convertible? To help you out, Edmunds highlights five of the best 2019 drop-tops.

Mazda MX-5 Miata

Two seats, a six-speed transmission and a modestly powered engine might not sound like obvious ingredients to catch some rays, but they coalesce into something special on the 2019 Miata. The Miata’s balanced and lightweight chassis serves as a foundation upon which drivers of all skill levels will have fun without getting into too much trouble.

The Miata is a great choice if you want a back-to-basics driving experience. It lacks luxury accommodations, but this car is about the fundamentals.

It’s also the most affordable convertible on our list. A manually operated fabric soft top is standard, and it’s easy to raise and lower with one hand. Mazda also offers a quieter, power-folding hardtop on the MX-5 RF version.

• Starting price (including destination): $26,650

• Combined EPA-estimated mpg: 29-30

Ford Mustang

If you’re looking for a more practical soft top, the 2019 Ford Mustang convertible would be our pick. Unlike the Miata, the Mustang offers plenty of legroom and headroom for tall drivers. It also has a back seat. It’s tiny, but if nothing else you can use it as an extra storage spot.

In its standard configuration, the Mustang convertible is a laid-back cruiser that effortlessly soaks up highway miles. Opt for the Performance package, and the Mustang transforms into a hard-edged canyon carver.

Two engines are available: a surprisingly strong turbocharged four-cylinder or a brawny V8. No matter which you choose, you’ll find the Mustang convertible is a willing partner.

• Starting price (including destination): $32,990

• Combined EPA-estimated mpg: 18-23

BMW 2 Series

The 2 Series combines the enthusiast spirit of the Miata and the Mustang with a higher level of luxury. Even though it’s BMW’s least expensive convertible, you might not know it given that its features and engine choices are shared with some of the brand’s more expensive models.

The same amount of power in a smaller, lighter package gives the 2 Series its dynamic personality. It performs just as well on the highway as it does for exploring a country back road.

Rear seat space is expectedly small, but it’s a worthwhile trade-off. Even a lightly optioned 2 Series is worth a look.

• Starting price (including destination): $42,095

• Combined EPA-estimated mpg: 21-27

Mercedes-Benz C-Class

The C-Class Cabriolet offers a more luxurious take on the convertible experience. Design and refinement take center stage, as exemplified by the cabin’s ample use of deluxe materials and comfortable front seats. Technology also plays an important role, from the attractive and easy-to-use infotainment system to the useful advanced driver safety aids.

Like the 2 Series, the C-Class has a small back seat, but it does technically provide the most rear legroom of all the cars here. Mercedes also gives you a choice of models that run the gamut from relaxed cruiser to track star.

The standard C300’s turbocharged four-cylinder offers plenty of power for most drivers while the most potent model, the AMG C 63 S, has a turbocharged V8 pumping out more than 500 horsepower.

• Starting price (including destination): $52,845

• Combined EPA-estimated mpg: 20-24

Porsche 718 Boxster

A slight name change and switch from six-cylinder to turbocharged four-cylinder engines in 2017 did nothing to dull the Porsche Boxster’s performance. It earns a spot on our list primarily because of its athletic handling. Nimble and lively, the two-seat Boxster will put a grin on your face as soon as the road bends.

The Boxster also features a luxurious, high-tech cabin that can be outfitted with nearly any feature you can dream of. To that end, the Boxster’s price tag can skyrocket if you’re too liberal with the options list.

However, that also means you can tailor it to your exact needs. Whether you want a fun-in-the-sun cruiser or a buttoned-down racer, there’s a 718 Boxster configuration that will suit your whims.

• Starting price (including destination): $60,250

• Combined EPA-estimated mpg: 21-25

Edmunds Says

If you’re in the market for a new convertible, there are excellent sports cars and luxury cruisers that will fit your needs. Take the time to test-drive a few to determine which one feels best.

Cameron Rogers is a reviews editor at Edmunds. Twitter: @_crogers.