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AutoInfluence’s 5 Best Convertibles to Watch in 2016

2016-Mazda-MX-5-Miata

One of the literary greats, and a personal favorite of mine, T.S. Eliot once said, “Sometimes things become possible if we want them bad enough.”

Sometimes certain conditions, like automotive creativity and innovation, make those things even more possible, or maybe it’s just that certain conditions, like the weather, makes us want certain things more than we ever realized.

Those of us foolish enough to brave the winter are still defrosting from this past season which seemed to have no end.

All of that bundling up in unflattering layers, jacking up the heat – along with the heating bill, scraping ice off windshields, and battling pre-snowstorm grocery lines, has left me feeling, well, ready for a change.

A top-down change.

Now that the sky seems to be sending down nothing more than rays of sunshine, even if they’re dusty and gray on overcast afternoons, it’s time to put the top down and let these warm breezes do some hair rustling.

Spring might have passed us by, it seemed to be snowing one day, followed by a heatwave the next, so in the spirit of summertime fun, let’s cast off the last of winter’s chill and check out what 2016 has in store for new convertibles.

No, I don’t want to fast-forward time and send us directly to a frozen January quite yet. After all, these cars are worth waiting for.

But to my way of thinking, it’s not too early to start that Christmas list…right? Right or wrong, here it is.

My convertible wish-list, in no particular order, other than alphabetical. I can’t list them by favorites because I want them all.

2016 Chevy Camaro SS: The Equine-Eater

2016 Chevy Camaro

I just can’t imagine a convertible wish list without the classic and competitive Chevy Camaro.

And for this list, I get to add the brand spanking new 2016 Chevrolet Camaro, unveiled only a few short weeks ago.

Though Camaro supposedly means a beast that eat horses, ask anyone at a Chevy dealership, this topless muscle car is backed by 426 horses, and can reach a top speed of 156 miles per hour.

Zipping from zero to sixty in 4.5 seconds, the Camaro is a growling machine, scarfing up pavement, but still offering decent fuel economy of 16/24 mpg.

Of course, the Camaro also comes available in a coupe model, but what fun is that?

Okay, probably plenty of fun, but to really feel the speed, you gotta let your hair, and the top, down.

The starting MSRP for the 2016 Chevy Camaro convertible is $34,500.

Totally worth it and affordable for most of us dreamers out there.

2016 Buick Cascada: A Waterfall on Wheels

2016 Buick Cascada Convertible

The 2016 Buick Cascada, which means “waterfall” in Spanish looks plenty refreshing to me.

Designed to deliver a comfortable ride, the 2016 Buick Cascada Convertible is compact, actually only slightly longer than most cars in the compact-size class, and oh so cute.

This is the first convertible that Buick has released to the market in over twenty-five years.

About time, right? Well, better late than never.

Front-wheel drive, equipped with a 1.6-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine, the Buick Cascada gets 200 horsepower with 206 lb.-ft. of torque.

Operated by a six-speed automatic transmission, all Cascada convertibles come standard with 20-inch wheels and four-wheel disc brakes.

At maximum speeds of 31 mph, you can still drop the soft top in a matter of seventeen seconds.

So, you’ll have plenty of time at your next red light, which can last anywhere between thirty seconds to one minute.

And you’ve got space for friends because this is a 2+2 convertible with 13.4 cubic feet of trunk space.

Just enough for a getaway bag or two. Road trip!

Of all the convertibles in the 2016 lineup, this Buick Cascada boasts some of the best fuel efficiency.

Although pricing has yet to be released, the color palette has with six choices of: Graystone Metallic, Summit White, Flip Chip Silver Metallic, Deep Sky Metallic, Toasted Coconut Metallic, or Carbon Black Metallic.

Though Deep Sky Metallic is my favorite, I would gladly take any one of these chic beauties.

2016 Ford Mustang GT350: Giddyup!

2016 Ford Mustang GT350

Of course, Chevy’s long-time competitor, the 2016 iconic, all-American, Ford Mustang, muscled its way onto this list.

Last year’s 2015 model made Car and Driver’s Ten Best list and the 2016 stands poised to do the same, if not better. Besides, when it comes to pony wars, I have to admit…I’ve always wanted a pony for Christmas.

What little girl didn’t grow up wanting one? And now, as a grown woman, for the sticker price of $47,870, I can have one.

In a race, the Mustang would pace head-to-head with the Camaro, crushing the zero to sixty stretch in the same 4.5 seconds. But, the Mustang leaves the Camaro in the dust with a top speed of 164 miles per hour, powered by a 5.0-liter V8 engine, backed by 435 horsepower, and operated by either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission.

Nothing left to do with this convertible but saddle up and head for greener (read: unfrozen) pastures.

2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata: A Rewarding Ride

2016-Mazda-MX-5-Miata

When I investigated the meaning of “Miata,” I was left with a few competing definitions.

One, from the Old English, meaning “reward,” and the other, an Italian-derived phrase, meaning “On her way!”

Yes to both.

Once I get my reward, I will be on my way.

And on my way in serious style.

The Mazda MX-5 Miata reminds me of that expression, “small ones are sweeter.”

This is one sweet ride in a very tiny package, priced at $24,790, the lowest of all five of my wish-list convertibles.

Equipped with a 2.0-liter engine able to get 155 horsepower at 6,000 rpm with 148 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,600 rpm, the rear-wheel drive MX-5 Miata has 50/50 front/rear weight distribution.

Basically, it’s perfectly proportioned.

How many of us can say that?

2016 Porsche Boxster Spyder: Not Afraid of this Arachnid!

2016 Porsche Boxster Spyder

With the exception of Charlotte, the starring spider in Charlotte’s Web, I’ve never been much for eight-legged creatures.

But, rounding off the list for Mr. Kringle is the Porsche Boxster Spyder.

According to Porsche, and backed by independent voices in the automotive industry, the 2016 Porsche Boxster Spyder is the most powerful and also the fastest boxster Porsche has ever created.

Significantly dropping in weight by sixty-six pounds, compared to the model launched in 2011, this boxster is also the lightest one that Porsche has built to date.

Fitted with a naturally aspirated 3.8-liter engine with a flat six, the Spyder gets 375 horsepower and a top speed of 180 miles per hour, sprinting from zero to sixty in 4.3 seconds.

Operated by a manual transmission only, the interior of the Spyder is covered in faux fur with optional leather upgrades, with a manually-operated cloth roof.

Faux or leather, this is one web I would willingly tangle with, assuming I had an extra $82,100 lying around.

Thanks to these cutting-edge competitors, it’s almost like Christmas came early this year.

There are plenty of convertibles on the market now, if you just can’t wait for these gems to be released.

But there is one thing for sure, the season is upon us.

Convertible season.

Time to drop the tops and feel the breeze.

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