Terrible Convertibles That No One Asked For
Convertibles are, for the most part, some of the most exciting cars ever made. A sunset drive through the hillside is even more fun when you can take the top down and enjoy the breeze. As cool as convertibles can be, there are some exceptions.
Some of these drop-tops have gone down in automotive history for dreadful styling, while others are hated due to a wide array of serious safety issues. These are the worst convertibles ever made, it’s best to stay away from them all.
Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet
It’s difficult to imagine that Nissan thought a two-door convertible SUV was a good idea. The quirky CrossCabriolet was the first drop-top SUV to ever hit the market. To this day, it remains the only all-wheel-drive convertible crossover of all time.
Unsurprisingly, this awful eyesore was not much of a hit among consumers. Nissan unveiled it for the 2011 model year and this quirky SUV was discontinued after 2014. Today, however, the demand is on the rise once again, for whatever the reason may be.
Chrysler Sebring Convertible
The Sebring was initially introduced by Chrysler in the mid-90s. The American automaker set an ambitious goal to provide a cheaper alternative to upscale vehicles such as the BMW 3-Series. As you may expect, the Sebring failed to live up to the expectations.
The drop-top Chrysler Sebring Convertible is a far cry from a BMW 3-Series, to say the least. Questionable styling aside, the Sebring quickly became infamous for its horrific ride and reliability issues. Chrysler eventually pulled it from the market after the 2010 model year.
A quick peek at the Cavalier is enough to realize that this awful convertible is far from the prettiest automobile designed by General Motors. In fact, it could earn a spot as one of the ugliest Chevrolet models of the 1980s. This horrendous two-door drop-top hardly has any advantages.
General Motors created the Cavalier in an attempt to provide an alternative to fuel-efficient, compact Japanese cars that were skyrocketing in popularity at the time. The Cavalier was clearly developed on a tight budget, and it showed. The quality was questionable, to say the least. On top of that, the 120-horsepower powerplant was anything but sporty.
Ford Escort Convertible
The European division of Ford was rather hesitant in terms of introducing convertibles on the market. In fact, Ford Europe did not offer any drop-top for over two decades starting from the 1960s. That is until the awful Escort Convertible hit the market in 1983. They may as well have continued waiting, though.
The convertible version of the Escort was just as awful as its liftback counterpart. The Escort quickly became the poor man’s convertible in the United Kingdom, and its reputation hasn’t improved since.
At first sight, the Mini Convertible may be one of the most tempting picks for a relatively inexpensive convertible. Buyers may be lured in by the unmistakable design inside and out, or the surprisingly fast motor installed in the S variant. However, there’s a big downside when it comes to owning a drop-top Mini that’s often overlooked, though.
The Mini Convertible is considered to be one of the most unreliable convertibles on the used car market. Many owners complain about expensive upkeep costs and engine components that constantly break.
General Motors must have a soft spot when it comes to quirky automobiles. Every few years, the American automaker releases an insane vehicle that’s utterly useless in the real world. The Chevrolet SSR, a high-performance V8-powered convertible pickup truck is a prime example. Unsurprisingly, it was a major flop in terms of sales figures.
Everyone seemed to have forgotten about this quirky pickup truck shortly after its debut. These days, however, the demand for the SSR is on the rise. This 390-horsepower unibody truck with a drop-top is becoming sought-after by collectors. It even has the potential to become a future classic within the coming decades.
Lada Samara Cabriolet
Most people buy a convertible to be able to enjoy a sunny afternoon drive with the rooftop down. Most drop-tops double as automobiles that are incredibly fun to drive, agile, and great all-rounders. But the Lada Samara Cabriolet is definitely not one of them.
The Lada Samara Cabriolet was developed by the Russian automaker to appeal to buyers in Western Europe. In fact, Lada never offered the drop-top version of the Samara in Russia. The vehicle was built on a tight budget, and it showed. The 1.5L motor rated at a pathetic 71-horses didn’t make the Samara any more desirable, either.
Nissan Micra C+C
The third generation of the Nissan Micra hit the market for the 2002 model year. Although far from the most exciting vehicle developed by the Japanese automaker, this fuel-efficient hatchback saw great success worldwide. For some odd reason, Nissan then decided to spice things up and release a convertible version.
The Nissan Micra C+C debuted 3 years after the launch of the regular Micra. Under the hood, it packed the same two engine options as the regular hatchback, both of which were rated at just 160 horsepower.
Mazda MX5 (NC)
The original Mazda MX5 took the world by storm. The tiny two-door roadster was one of the best affordable Japanese sports cars of the 1990s. Driving a Mazda Miata is an absolute blast, and its small size results in a unique driving experience. Plus, let’s not forget about the pop-up headlights.
Mazda eventually replaced the NA Miata with its successor and then introduced the third-gen NC in 2005. Sadly, both the second and the third generations lost the iconic pop-up headlights which used to be a distinctive feature of its older sibling. Afterall, who wouldn’t prefer the first generation?
Chrysler PT Cruiser Convertible
Even as a regular four-door crossover, the Chrysler PT Cruiser is not exactly a fantastic car, to begin with. This weird creation has become a laughing stock of the 2000s, primarily thanks to its awful styling that was meant to resemble glamorous automobiles of the past. It’s safe to say it looked nothing like it should have.
A drop-top variant joined the lineup for the 2005 model year. Its styling is arguably even worse than the standard version. The tiny flat-four motor beneath the hood is underpowered, to say the least. If you’re after a convertible, you’ll probably want to skip the PT Cruiser.
Back in the late 1980s, General Motors decided to release a convertible to compete with the upscale Mercedes-Benz SL. The automaker developed the Allante, a brand new luxury drop-top designed by Italian coachbuilder Pininfarina. Sadly, things did not go as planned.
The Allante was criminally underpowered. It only made around 170 horsepower, while its German rival was rated at over 230 horses in its most powerful variant. The Allante was one of GM’s biggest failures of the 80s. Only around 5,000 units were sold per year before the Allante was eventually discontinued in 1993.
The SC 430 is not exactly the prettiest car ever sold by Lexus. In fact, it’s likely one of the ugliest automobiles offered by the Toyota subsidiary. As you may expect, the sporty convertible from Lexus was far from a hit among buyers.
This convertible would have probably sold a lot better if it wasn’t so ugly. Apart from the questionable body design, the SC 430 ticked all of the boxes. The interior is upscale and full of leather and wood elements, while the 4.3L V8 rated at 300 horsepower ensured the convertible was quick and agile.
The Corvette has become a crucial part of America’s automotive history. The model has been a part of GM’s lineup ever since the 50s and is still sold to this day. Although it may have been America’s first proper sports car back when it debuted for the 1953 model year, the original Corvette wasn’t exactly ideal.
The original Corvette was rushed through production to meet the tight deadlines set by the automaker. The car was packed with issues of all sorts that almost caused the Corvette to be discontinued within the first year of production. Fortunately, GM quickly corrected most of the issues and ended up saving America’s beloved sports car.
Pontiac Sunfire Convertible
The Sunfire appeared in the mid-90s as a replacement to the outdated Pontiac Sunbird. Like its predecessor, the Sunfire was developed to be an affordable, sleek-looking compact car that was both cheap and fun to drive. Unsurprisingly, General Motors unveiled a convertible version to boost sales, too.
Sadly, the Pontiac Sunfire Convertible turned out to be a lot worse than everyone anticipated. The styling inside and out was simply bad ever since its debut, and the weak flat-four engines failed to deliver enough power. The power output was rated at 150 horsepower for the car’s debut, though it began dropping all the way to 115 horses by 1998.
Rover 100 Convertible
Rover unveiled the all-new R6 model at the end of 1994. For the first time ever, the British automaker scrapped the Metro nameplate. From then on, the flagship hatchback was named the Rover 100. The convertible variant was developed to appeal to a younger audience.
The convertible came powered by a tiny 1.4L K-Series motor, rated at merely 100 horsepower in its most powerful variant. The ride was rough, the styling was off, and the quality wasn’t exactly the best. There really wasn’t any reason to buy one of these, apart from the low price tag.
Volkswagen New Beetle
The second generation of the Volkswagen Beetle, also known as the New Beetle, quickly became one of the most hated automobiles of the early 21st century. The German automaker attempted to create a fun two-door compact that would also pay homage to its legendary predecessor, though the final product was rather awful.
Clearly, releasing a convertible variant of the New Beetle did not help its reputation, which had already plummeted to the ground. The interior is dreadfully cheap, and the car lacks performance. The styling isn’t its redeeming characteristic, either.
Yugo Koral Convertible
The infamous Yugo is perhaps one of the worst automobiles of the 20th century. The regular Yugo first hit the market back in 1980. It was manufactured by Zastava, a Yugoslavian automaker. One of the main targets of the automaker was to ensure that the Yugo remained affordable for most Yugoslavians. In effect, the Yugo lacked any kind of quality.
The technology found in the Yugo became outdated virtually as soon as the automobile had hit the market. The Koral Convertible joined the lineup 8 years after the debut of the regular Yugo. It even made its way to the US market! However, you may want to stay away from this weird creation.
Geo Metro Convertible
The Geo Metro Convertible seemed like a good idea, at least in the beginning. This affordable two-door drop-top was the product of a joint venture between General Motors and Suzuki. A small convertible that’s cheap to buy and maintain could have easily been a success. The reality was quite different, though.
The Geo Metro Convertible turned out to be an extremely bland automobile. Its styling paired with a low-quality interior finish failed to attract buyers. The car’s 3-cylinder engine rated at a mere 55 horsepower was not exactly appealing, either.
The Mini Moke is a quirky British automobile that first hit the market in the mid-60s. The Moke was initially developed to serve in the military, though the army did not really like it. Then, instead of calling it a day and developing another vehicle, the British Motor Company decided to repurpose it and sell it to the general public.
As it quickly turned out, the public did not really like the Moke either. Although it only made around 35 horsepower in its most powerful configuration, the Moke has accumulated a cult following over the last decades.
Saab 900 Convertible
Unlike some of the other cars on this list, there isn’t anything wrong with the Saab 900 in terms of the exterior design. In fact, it could easily be considered one of the most beautiful vehicles ever built by the Swedish manufacturer. The convertible version of this stylish two-door luxury car does have one downside. It’s a rather serious one, too.
The Saab 900 Convertible does not have any reinforced pillars, so it is nowhere near as safe as the regular 900. What’s more, the lack of a roof had a terrible impact on the car’s handling.
The German automaker unveiled the successor to the successful Golf Cabriolet back for the 2006 model year. It was Volkswagen’s first coupe in over a decade! At first sight, the Eos seems like a perfect choice for a budget-friendly convertible ideal for those hot summer drives. This could not be further from the truth.
The biggest downside about owning a Volkswagen Eos is its notorious reliability issues. Owners report frequent issues with brakes, electrical components, and even the powertrain.
Lincoln Town Car Convertible
Lincoln has arguably suffered one of the worst downgrades in the history of American automobiles. The iconic Continental line first hit the in the 1939 model year. Upscale Lincoln automobiles peaked throughout the 60s and the 70s, to the point where they were considered to be the pinnacle of luxury vehicles in the US. After the 70s, it all started going downhill.
The reimagined Town Car was introduced in the early 80s. The latest, third-gen appeared in 1998. It turned out to be an outdated vehicle all-around. Slamming a convertible roof did not help to boost its appeal, either.
Fisker Karma Convertible
The Fisker Karma is perhaps one of the most infamous luxury vehicles of the 21st century. This quirky plug-in hybrid debuted for the 2011 model year and was on its way to set the bar for luxury automobiles of the future. At least that’s what Fisker believed, though the reality was quite different.
One of Karma’s only upsides is its striking design. After all, the vehicle was developed by Henrik Fisker, who had previously designed jaw-dropping cars such as the BMW Z8 or the Aston Martin DB9. However, Fisker’s only production automobile suffered from major reliability and practicality issues to the extent where a good chunk of the units was recalled. Fisker filed for bankruptcy two years later.
Citroen C3 Pluriel
Citroen, like virtually every other French automaker, prioritizes design above anything else when developing automobiles. Clearly, the C3 Pluriel was a total miss.
While the exterior styling certainly won’t appeal to everyone, it is undeniable that the design of the C3 Pluriel is indeed unique. One of the worst issues of the C3 Pluriel is its practicality or lack thereof. To take the roof down, the owner has to manually remove a pair of rails that act as the C pillar when the roof is on. The process is lengthy and quite annoying.
General Motors unveiled the Cadillac XLR for the 2004 model year. The idea behind it was rather ingenious. The American automaker decided to use the platform of the Chevrolet Corvette and reintroduce it on the market as a luxury hardtop convertible. The standard XLR packed a powerful V8, though buyers could opt for the high-performance XLR-V powered by a turbocharged V8 that delivered even more power.
While the Cadillac XLR is far from a bad vehicle in its own right, it failed big-time in terms of sales. GM discontinued the model merely 5 years after its debut, and it took another 2 years to sell off the rest of the overstocked inventory. A little over 15,000 units were made in total.
Chrysler LeBaron Convertible
The history of the LeBaron nameplate dates all the way back to the 1930s. Like the previously mentioned Lincoln Town Car, the LeBaron suffered quite a downgrade. The original Classic generation of the car was the pinnacle of pre-war luxury. Its successors, which went on sale in the late 70s, were nothing like the original.
The third generation of the LeBaron saw a drop-top variant. Removing the roof did not help the car’s styling, which wasn’t exactly appealing even in a coupe body style. An underpowered flat-four powerplant did not deliver enough power, despite having a turbocharger.
There is a great chance that you have never heard of the San Storm. That’s because this quirky little convertible was only built in India, though some of the newer units have been exported to the United Kingdom. India’s first convertible first went on sale back in 1998.
A quick peek at the San Storm is enough to realize that this wasn’t exactly a luxury automobile. Its build quality was questionable, to say the least. The tiny 1.1L motor sourced from Renault only made around 60 horsepower.
Vauxhall, or Opel depending on the market, created the Cascada to add a bit of spice to the German automaker’s lineup. After all, it’s hard to go wrong with an affordable two-door convertible. Or so it seems.
The Cascada hit the market for the 2013 model year. The two-door drop-top came powered by either a flat-four petrol motor or a 2.0L turbocharged diesel engine. While the 200-horsepower engine isn’t too much of an issue, many Cascada owners are unhappy with their vehicles.
Jaguar F Type
The F-Type is undeniably one of the most beautiful modern vehicles built by Jaguar. Though the F-Type is anything but an awful car, there is one major downside for the owners of one.
The Jaguar F-Type would be an ideal car in its own right. As soon as you compare it with any of its competitors, however, quite a bit of its appeal is lost. Similar vehicles from other manufacturers, such as the Chevrolet Corvette or the Toyota Supra, offer a better driving experience for a lower price tag. The Porsche 718 Cayman or Boxster offers a ride that’s much more sporty and comfy. The F-Type is essentially worse than most of its competitors.
Back in the late 60s, Suzuki acquired a tiny Japanese automaker called the Hope Motor Company. The manufacturer had been selling the Hopestar ON360, a tiny 2-door SUV, for only around a year. After Suzuki bought the company, the Hopestar ON360 turned into the Suzuki Jimny. A little over a decade later, the Jimny was rebadged as the Samurai and brought over to the US market.
At first, everybody loved the Suzuki Samurai. It ticked all the boxes, or so it seemed. Buyers quickly realized that the Samurai had a serious design flaw, which made it prone to roll on its side or flip over when cornering.
Volkswagen T-Roc Cabriolet
The German automaker introduced the T-Roc, a small subcompact SUV, for the 2017 model year. It’s essentially a larger version of the flagship Golf hatchback. Then, for some odd reason, Volkswagen decided to slice off the roof and sell a convertible variant. It has been on the market since 2020, as the automaker’s first convertible after a 2-year long hiatus.
The drop-top version of the T-Roc has earned a spot as one of the worst cars of 2020 according to Jeremy Clarkson. The automotive journalist complained about the car’s styling and lack of performance.
Ford Mustang Ecoboost
The Ford Mustang needs no introduction. America’s beloved pony car has been around for over 5 decades. The latest generation of the Mustang is the most advanced and fastest one ever produced. The car is truly great, as long as it has an eight-cylinder motor under the hood.
Unlike the V8-powered GT trim, the Ecoboost Mustang isn’t exactly fast. In fact, it only makes 310 horsepower which is over 120 horses less than the GT. Even as a convertible, you’d be better off with a V8-powered GT.
Chrysler TC by Maserati
The Chrysler TC by Maserati is, as the name may suggest, the final product of a joint venture between Chrysler and the Italian luxury automaker. The two-door convertible debuted in the late 80s, around the same time as the previously mentioned Cadillac Allante. Much like its GM-made competitor, the TC by Maserati was developed to compete with European luxury convertibles such as the Mercedes SL.
The Chrysler TC by Maserati was a failure from the get-go. The automotive press criticized the project, claiming that the convertible combined the worst features of each manufacturer. The fact that it was based on Chrysler’s awful K-platform did not help its case, either.
Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme Convertible
The fifth and final generation of the Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme hit the market for the 1988 model year. The last Cutlass Supreme featured a brand new W-platform, which was also used in the Buick Regal and the Chevrolet Lumina of the same era. This weird-looking two-door automobile wasn’t exactly perfect, though.
As you may have guessed by now, the biggest disadvantage of the fifth-gen Cutlass Supreme Convertible is its dreadful design inside and out. The coupe and sedan versions were already quite ugly, but the drop-top took it to a whole new level. It’s a hard pass.
Smart Fortwo Cabrio
The Fortwo is perhaps one of the most controversial subcompact automobiles of the 21st century. This tiny two-seater has been in production ever since 1998, with the latest third-gen on the market since the 2014 model year. The innovative Smart Fortwo has polarized the car community ever since its initial debut.
The Fortwo was offered as a convertible ever since the first generation. Though these tiny vehicles can surely appeal to some buyers, its mixed reviews have rightfully earned the Fortwo Cabrio a spot on our list as one of the worst convertibles of all time.
Chrysler Crossfire Roadster
Back in the early 2000s, Chrysler believed that taking the Mercedes-Benz SLK R170 and redesigning it as a Chrysler product would take the world by storm. As you probably know, the Crossfire was an absolute failure instead. In the end, Chrysler even had to sell much of its Crossfire inventory on overstock.com!
The regular Crossfire is pretty bad already, and the roadster variant is arguably even worse. The handling is awful, the motor is underpowered, and the cheap build quality is visible throughout the car. You’d be better off with the regular Mercedes-Benz SLK from the same era, as opposed to this awful creation.
Some of the most legendary Japanese sports cars were built in the 1990s. Unfortunately, the X-90 definitely isn’t one of them. In fact, it could even be considered one of the worst Japanese automobiles of the decade.
It’s hard to determine what type of vehicle the X-90 was meant to be. It’s lifted much like an SUV, though its tiny size is more like a compact or even a subcompact. The targa top, or the optional convertible roof, only made things more confusing.
Subaru WRX STI Convertible
To be completely fair, there has not ever been a drop-top Subaru WRX STI. At least until a Subaru dealership in Manchester decided to create one, that is. They sliced up a regular WRX STI to create this terrible one-off. The fact that nobody has ever repeated the same process since indicates just how much of a bad idea it was.
Unsurprisingly, cutting off the roof of the WRX STI had a terrible impact on the car’s handling. Nonetheless, this automobile is indeed very special and may become a desired future classic in the coming decades.
Believe it or not, this weird creation is actually a predecessor of the previously mentioned Chrysler Crossfire. The Crossfire followed in the footsteps of its older sibling, as both of the cars were absolutely dreadful.
Unlike the Crossfire, the Prowler was more than just a redesigned Mercedes-Benz. Instead, Chrysler decided to develop it from the ground up using the PR platform. The weird retro-like styling, though certainly unique, did not appeal to many buyers. The American automaker only managed to sell around 11,000 units before shutting down the production line.
Zimmer Golden Spirit
Modern cars that are built to resemble timeless classics are often absolute hits among buyers. As you may guess, this was not the case with the Zimmer Golden Spirit. This weird Excalibur look-alike debuted as the automaker’s flagship neoclassic automobile in the late 70s.
Removing the roof made the Golden Spirit look completely out of proportion. Its enormous dimensions made the Golden Spirit impossible to drive. A sprint to 60 takes it around 16 seconds, which isn’t exactly fast.