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Dragon Rider
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
This article was posted on the main page of AOL Autos today:

Best Pick in a Convertible

by Eric Peters
Convertible ownership used to involve some not-so-pleasant compromises; you simply accepted a drafty (and sometimes leaky) cabin barely protected from the elements by a poorly fitted top, a chintzy plastic back window that fogged up in the winter and often-vicious cowl shake as the price you had to pay for the pleasure of drop-top motoring on sunny summer days.

Many of these problems stemmed from turning hardtop coupes into convertibles after the fact -- by hamfistedly lopping off the roof and then trying to graft on a convertible top -- instead of designing the car as a convertible from the ground up, as is common practice today. In addition, several automakers now offer all-metal (or composite) retractable hardtops that give the driver the best of both worlds. With the top up, the car looks and feels like a conventional hardtop coupe. But with the hardtop retracted, the car becomes a convertible with the same open-air driving enjoyment one gets with a traditional convertible -- albeit one less vulnerable to thieves or damage or the elements.

Here are four "Best Picks" in four different price categories, along with some "Also see" contenders well worth a look:

I. Under $22,000:

BEST PICK

· 2006 Pontiac Solstice (base price $19,420): This stunning, all-new rear-wheel-drive high-performance roadster based on the concept car revealed at last year's Detroit Auto Show may just save Pontiac from the fate that befell Oldsmobile -- if it gets to showrooms in time (late summer 2005). The two-seat roadster undercuts competitors such as the Mazda Miata and Honda S2000 by thousands on price -- and matches or beats them for in-the-wind driving fun. It comes standard with 18-inch wheels and a 170-hp 2.4 liter engine that's 30 horsepower stronger than the Miata's standard engine -- and rides on a longer wheelbase than the S2000, which enhances high-speed stability and handling/balance. Like the Chevy Corvette, Solstice is built on a state of the art hydroformed chassis -- which uses water under extreme pressure to extrude components into finished shapes, rather than clunky welding rigs to stitch them together. An especially interesting feature is the clamshell trunk -- which completely hides the convertible top when it's down, giving the car an exceptionally smooth look that no other roadster on the market can equal.
Here's a link to the whole article:
Best Pick in a Convertible
 
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