Friday, April 5, 2019

Hardtop vs Soft-top Convertibles: Which is Better?

If you’re in the market for a new or classic convertible, you may have asked yourself whether a soft-top or a hardtop is better for you. While you might have heard that hardtops are better than soft-tops due to higher noise and weather insulation, modern soft-tops actually share the same benefits as hardtop convertibles.

Long gone are the days of yelling at each other to be heard and braving the cold with potential leaks in a soft-top. With modern advancements, today’s soft-tops are engineered to feature stronger insulation and longer lifetime.

This means that they are more weather resistant, quieter, wind resistant and stronger, which means lower replacement costs. Let’s review some of the major myths associated with soft-tops in a convertible.

Are Soft-top Convertibles Loud? 

Not quite.

It used to be that you had to yell at each other to be heard in a convertible due to the fact that the soft-top would let in a lot of wind and road noise. Modern soft-tops are now engineered to feature acoustic technology, which makes the cabin almost as isolated as that of a hardtop. This technology continues to improve according to Matt Williams, director of business development at Haartz, who affirmed that, “Haartz is working closely with OEMs to optimize the balance of noise-blocking material while making sure to not add extra weight to the vehicle." In fact, their sound-blocking technology has improved performance by over three decibels, making soft-tops quieter than ever before.

Do Soft-top Convertibles Get Hot or Cold Depending Weather?

Not anymore!

It also used to be the case that convertible owners could only drive their beloved cars in the spring and summer. In the winter, the car was completely uninsulated from cold drafts and might even leak water and snow.

However, today’s soft-tops are now engineered differently to consider these weather factors in mind. Modern technology has allowed OEM soft-tops to become just as insulated as hardtops and are completely waterproof and resistant to many other weather conditions.

According to Doug Haartz, International Sales Manager of the Haartz Corporation, “cloth tops today are designed to withstand the rigors of the environment and testing is done in all kinds of extreme conditions from arctic to subtropical to desert. Stringent requirements are built into the soft-top fabric so that no matter what car company or region of the world is considered, performance is assured.”

At AutoTops Direct we offer an extensive selection of weather resistant soft-tops, which fit just as well as the original part. All of our soft-tops are made with original Haartz waterproof materials, which provide premium protection against leaks. They also feature a color coordinated UV resistant polyester thread for better protection against normal wear and tear.

Are Soft-top Convertibles Safe? 

While many think that soft-top convertibles are unsafe because they offer less protection in a rollover event, soft-top convertibles are not associated with higher death rates.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), “death rates aren’t higher in convertibles,” as opposed to hardtop vehicles. While the institute deems that, “a roof is still safer,” some convertibles are equipped with an instant rollover protection feature, which automatically raises a roll bar when the vehicle detects a rollover. This protects the passengers in the event of a fatal rollover accident.

***NOT ALL convertibles have this feature, therefore it is important for you to check before you decide to buy one.***

Which Top is Easier to Repair?

There are two different types of cost associated with each top. A hardtop is more expensive to buy and also has more mechanical and electrical components, which means more expensive repairs. It is also prone to cracks, which can be difficult to repair, can spread, and may require replacement sooner.

On the other hand, a soft-top doesn’t last as long as a hardtop, can be slashed and is prone to weather-related wear and tear, especially sun and hail. However, it is cheaper to buy, repair and replace.

Plus, one of their modern advancements includes stronger fabric that is more resistant to the usual wear and tear of an older soft-top. Overall, soft-tops are cheaper to have due to lower initial, repair and replacement costs. In addition, because soft-tops are lighter, they increase the fuel efficiency of the vehicle.

Which Top Will Give me a Higher Trade-In Value?

If you’re wondering which car will result in a higher trade-in value once you’re ready to move on to a different vehicle, both hardtop and soft-top convertibles will actually yield the same trade-in value.

Car dealerships and online appraisal sites such as Kelly Blue Book typically don’t consider whether the vehicle has a hardtop or a soft-top and classify both under the same category of, “convertible” during the appraisal.

Thanks to modern technology, soft-tops share the same insulation benefits of hardtops so don’t let this myth stop you from buying a classic convertible with an iconic soft-top. Besides, soft-tops can take away from the classic look of a convertible, which let’s be honest, it's half the reason you want to buy a convertible.

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