2009 Mini Cooper S Convertible

I can't say for sure that I'd necessarily choose a droptop Mini over a Ford Mustang convertible, but I can confidently say that the Mini convertible is the most inexpensive, fun-to-drive, four-seat ragtop on the market today (not that the Mini's back seats are exactly huge ...). Like its coupe sibling, the Mini convertible handles like it's on proverbial rails and looks distinctive at the same time.

I especially like this car's cool-looking sculpted wheels. The paint scheme and stripes are even kinda cool, although this yellow is a bit rich for my tastes.

Like Joe D, I really like the half-sunroof feature that the Mini offers but find the visibility-impinging stacked ragtop to be a serious flaw. The top retracts with impressive haste, though.

I was slightly disappointed by the clearly apparent cowl shake (à la Toyota Camry Solara) when this Mini is driven over bumps, given that this is such a small car with a small wheelbase. There's a moderate amount of wind noise with the roof up, too, but the top-down Mini experience is worth these qualms.

I'm definitely not a fan of the current Mini's peculiar ergonomics (I felt this way about our Four Seasons Mini Cooper coupe, too). To wit, the climate controls are unclear and difficult to adjust, the one-touch windows sometimes take two taps to lower, and it can be tricky to set the windshield wipers on any setting besides off, superslow, or full throttle. I know owners get used to things like this, but that doesn't make them OK. But by no means do I think these issues are dealbreakers. Not many cars offer this much four-seat fun for the money.

Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor

New Car Research

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