There was once a time when American convertibles ruled the main drag of any town, big or small, across the entire country. Flash-forward to 2016, however, and the list of drop-tops built by U.S. brands is considerably shorter. In fact, it sometimes feels like the world of open-air automobiles belongs almost exclusively to Japanese and Europe, especially when looking at small, sport roadsters and mid-size convertible cruisers. Fear not, however, that the stars and stripes have completely abandoned the drop-top landscape. In fact, some of the most iconic vehicles in U.S. fleets allow you to open up the roof and feel the sun on your face. Let's take a look at the five best American convertibles for 2016.
The 2016 Ford Mustang GT convertible is the continuation of an American convertible that dates back to the mid-60s, and a vehicle that changed the game not just for Ford but for the entire concept of affordable performance. The Ford Mustang GT convertible pairs its automatic top with a 5.0-liter V-8 engine that's good for 435 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque, and it can be ordered with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. The eight-cylinder Mustang can hit 60-mph in roughly five seconds, which isn't bad considering the extra weight of the convertible mechanism.
The 2016 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is an American convertible icon of a different sort, a rough and rugged SUV that just happens to feature a removable hard top (as well as a soft top that also peels back). Not only does the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited offer a selection of four-wheel drive systems and hardcore suspension and axle options, but it also seats as many as five passengers with a respectable level of comfort, making it a rarity on the convertible scene. All Wrangler Unlimited models are motivated by the same 285 horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6, which also generates 260 lb-ft of torque. Transmission choices for the Jeep include a six-speed manual and a five-speed automatic.
Photo by Toyota
The 2016 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 convertible is one of the most potent roadsters on the planet. It all starts with the Chevrolet Corvette Z06's supercharged V-8 engine, which pumps out a ludicrous 650 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque from its 6.2-liters of displacement (and is shifted via either a seven-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission). Other go-fast goodies included with the Z06: a magnetically-adaptive suspension system, enormous brakes, an extroverted aerodynamic body kit, and preternatural handling. You can go further down the 200-mph rabbit hole with a variety of Z06 options such as a comprehensive carbon fiber upgrade package as well as carbon ceramic brakes.
The 2016 Buick Cascada is an all-new American convertible (by way of GM's Opel division) that is looking to make in-roads in the mid-size segment. The Buick Cascada promises decent room for four riders along with a 200 horsepower, turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine as standard equipment (that is also capable of pushing out 221 lb-ft of torque thanks to an overboost feature). The svelte Cascada features a six-speed automatic transmission, a good size trunk, and a fully automatic top, and it will aim to charm luxury buyers looking to stretch their dollar as much as possible at the entry-level.
The 2016 Chevrolet Camaro SS convertible goes head-to-head with its Mustang GT foe riding on an all-new platform for the current model year. Lighter and more powerful than ever before, the Chevrolet Camaro SS convertible offers 455 horsepower and 455 lb-ft of torque from its 6.2-liter V-8 engine. Also on tap in the Camaro SS drop top is the option of the same magnetically-controlled suspension system found in the Corvette Z06, giving the car a handling advantage over several of its modern muscle car competitors, and a power top that can be operated at speeds of up to 30-mph.