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Wheels: Best Rides For Summer Fun

Grab your keys and soak up the sun…
 
By Casey Williams
 
Summer driving is the best, especially under the open sky in a convertible where you can get a real bronze tan. Whether manual or automatic, hard or insulated cotton, having a roof that disappears brings joy to warm evenings. Here are five classics that will have you dropping your top.
 
VW Beetle Convertible
Simply adorable, but it’ll be going away again after 2019, so get one quick. Classically cute, it looks best in Safari Uni beige or Stonewashed Blue with unique final edition wheels, diamond-stitched seats and leather-wrapped steering wheel. A power top, push button starting and Bluetooth add convenience, while crisp Fender audio and automatic climate control enhance comfort. Step into the peppy 2.0-litre turbo-four’s 174 horsepower and frugal 9.0/7.1 L/100 km fuel economy. A blind spot monitor and cross path detection come standard.
Base price: $28,475
 
Mazda MX-5 RF
Get in touch with your soul. The classic soft top deploys in seconds, but the RF’s power retractable targa roof is the one to get. Once you’ve deployed it, rev up the 181 horsepower 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine and click through six speeds with Judy’s own shifter. Handling is divine. Fuel economy of 9.0/7.0 L/100 km goes easy on the budget. Inside, this beauty is all dressed up with classic gauges, Bose audio, automatic climate control, navigation, and heated seats. The rear fenders are mad sexy, but you’ll have to pack light because the trunk is best suited for gym bags.
Base price: $39,900
 
Jeep Wrangler
Rip off your top, flex your muscles and head for the trails. Not you, the Jeep! Recently redesigned, a new soft top (replacing the previous erector set) deploys in seconds. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and classic gauges invite fun that’s backed by the choice of a 285 horsepower V6 or 270 horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine with eTorque hybrid, the latter best for hard core off-roading. Lock in four-wheel-drive, strap in, and head for the trails – whether rugged dirt or paved.
Base price: $33,695
 
Rolls-Royce Dawn
Have you ever reallyseen the stars? If not from the bespoke leather interior of a Rolls-Royce, then you haven’t. There’s nothing like enjoying a heavenly summer evening while gazing hood-long at the Spirit of Ecstasy. The four-seat cabin is further enhanced by polished timber, polished chrome and cherubic audio. There’s a 563 horsepower 6.6-litre twin-turbo V12 engine behind the massive grille. Sport-minded drivers will select the Aero Cowling that covers the rear seats with a carbon fibre and aluminum tonneau. Slick.
Base price: $450,000
 
Mercedes-Benz SLC
Here’s your classic Mercedes roadster fully realized. The SLC transforms from a closed coupe to open convertible with the press of a switch. Choose the glass roof with Magic Sky Control to electrically adjust tinting. Get it with a 241 horsepower turbo-four or 385 horsepower biturbo V6. Flash 0-100 km in just 4.7 seconds (V6). Being a Mercedes, it’s safe, with built-in roll bars, active brake assist and blind spot warning. In spring or fall, crank up the Air Scarf and stay cozy with your special someone.
Base price: $60,500
 

 
CASEY WILLIAMS is a contributing writer for Gaywheels.com. He contributes to the New York-based LGBT magazine Metrosource and the Chicago Tribune. He and his husband live in Indianapolis, where Williams contributes videos and reviews to wfyi.org, the area’s PBS/NPR station.
 

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