“Dad, can we go get some ice cream?!”
You’ve got two kids. It’s a nice Sunday afternoon, you sort of want a Peanut Buster Blizzard treat yourself, and you feel like a car-ride anyways.
“I’d love an ice-cream too, honey, I’ll grab my purse!”
“Uh, sure kids, let’s, um, take the family minivan, cause that’ll be fun for daddy!”
If you buy a two-seat convertible, this will be your reality, every Sunday afternoon when it’s nice outside. Pesky two-seat convertibles and pesky multiple offspring, and that pesky spouse, always ruining all the fun. It’s simple math: you’ve got a convertible with two seats, and more than two people want to be part of the drive to acquire delicious frozen treats.
You’ve got two options.
One is to make your family partake in competitive, gladiator-style events involving pool noodles, bike helmets and the family dog, and treating the victor to ice cream.
Or, you could search out a convertible with four seats, and bring the whole family along for the ride. Here’s a look at some popular used four-seat convertible models covering a range of prices and intentions, and how to shop smart for the one that interests you.
Ice cream for everyone!
2010-2014 Ford Mustang Convertible
The Draw: Look for your dream drop-top ‘Stang with a cloth ragtop, 2+2 seating to handle a family of four, a navigation system, Bluetooth, premium Shaker stereo, heated leather, automatic lights, power accessories, interior mood lighting and plenty more. This machine is one of the most recognizable sports cars on the road, and offers up six- or eight-cylinder power to fit a wide variety of needs. The highly recommended 5.0L Coyote V8 is a sweetheart.
The Test Drive: Check the trunk for signs of water, or signs that water has been present. Pull the carpeting up and look in the spare tire well, too. Apparently, a gutter and seal in the convertible system may become dislodged and allow water to leak into the trunk.
Next, feel the manual shift quality, especially from first to second gear under heavy throttle, in any used Mustang equipped with a stick. Many owners have complained of a grinding sensation or rejected shifts, where the gearbox bites back, which could be caused by bad synchronizers in the transmission, or excessive clutch wear.
Signs of a bad gearbox (grinding, biting, slamming or clanking) should be apparent on a test drive if present. Note that although transmission-related issues may stem from abuse and not be more common in any specific year or model of Mustang in this generation, earlier Mustangs (2011 and 2012) with the 5.0L V8 are prime candidates for a very careful and thorough transmission check.
More on Autos.ca: Test Drive: 2014 Ford Mustang GT Convertible
Helpful Tip: Scan for sogginess. Pull up trunk carpeting, look under the floor mats, and feel beneath the seats for signs of dampness which typically evidence a leak. Carpet can be ‘stained’ by exposure to water, so look for telltale white or brown lines on carpeted surfaces low in the car, or around the trunk, which could indicate a former leak. In many convertibles, periodic re-adjustment of the roof panels and lubrication of the rubber seals is vital to keeping water out.