Top Gear’s Top 9: ‘what were they thinking?’ convertibles

By topgear, 18 January 2020

Peugeot 308 CC

Another culprit of the mid-2000s craze to Folding Hard-Top All The Things. Peugeot’s smaller 206CC had been a smash hit, so it tried the same trick with the much less attractive 307, and then the 308. The latter is the worst, partly because by this point, the idea was already going stale, and partly because the 308CC still holds the world record for having the most over-the-top-yet-pointless rear diffuser of all time. Top Gear maths estimates it produces exactly 0kg of downforce.

Renault Wind

Speaking of silly names…

In fairness, the Wind was at least decent to drive – the chassis was set up by Renaultsport, using bits from the old Clio 182. However, the flip-top Ferrari Superamerica-style roof ate up space and ironically meant visibility out of this cheap-ish town run-around was worse than any Italian supercar thoroughbred. 

Nissan Micra C+C

The bugeye Nissan Micra was never top of the chic list, so obviously it wasn’t a suitable candidate for a folding hard-top roof that made it look like Barbie’s pick-up truck. Worse still, Nissan decided that it would offer pink as a factory paint option. How did the same company that came up with the GT-R cook up this nonsense?

Chevy SSR

Pick-up trucks appeal to a certain mindset that thrives on an outdoorsy, masculine, ready-for-anything toughness. Why Chevrolet decided that a rear-wheel drive convertible truck – offered in Cadbury purple – was a creation the world needed is likely to puzzle scholars for generations.

Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet

We return to Nissan for yet more Crimes Against Convertibles. The problem with the Murano CrossCabriolet isn’t so much that it’s ugly, or pointless, or that it has a silly name. No, the issue is that the likes of Land Rover and VW saw it and thought “hmmm, soft-top SUVs, eh? We should have a go at one of those one day”. 

The Range Rover Evoque Cabriolet has now gone off sale, but the VW T-Roc R Convertible is hitting showrooms in time for summer 2020. We’ve never wanted a suntan less.

(The Evoque Cabriolet had its day in the sun... click HERE to read about it)

Chrysler PT Cruiser

The only car ever sold that had a supermarket shopping basket on the designer’s mood board. Not just the worst sun-seeking car of all time, but possibly one of the worst objects devised by humankind.

Lexus IS-C

The old Lexus IS was already a fairly left-field choice. You’d have had to ignore the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4, Mercedes C-Class, Volvo S60, and at the time, the classy-but-rubbish Alfa Romeo 159 to buy one. But at least it was fairly inoffensive to look at.

The IS-C, meanwhile, is so dumpy at the back, it looks like a snake digesting an antelope. It wasn’t replaced when Lexus made the latest IS, thank goodness. How did the same company that came up with the LFA cook up this nonsense?

Mitsubishi Colt CZC

Another classic of the ‘no-one even wanted the hard-top version of this car, so why on Earth would they buy a heavier, more expensive version that made it impossible to hide in’ genre. Plus, the Colt CZC has one of the sillier names ever applied to a drop-top. How did the same company that same up with the Evo cook…. Okay, you’re getting the picture by now.

Citroen C3 Pluriel

The Pluriel is the odd-one-out of this hall of infamy, because in fairness, Citroen was doing its best to be quirky, have some fun, and build a cheap, versatile convertible inspired by the 2CV. Problem was, the company tried to include too many ideas.

So you could have a closed roof, or peeled back roof, or unclip the heavy, unwieldy roof sections and have a full roadster – or drop the back seats and have a pick-up truck. But there’s nowhere in the car to store the roof supports, so if you went out and the weather changed, you got soaked. And so, most people who bought a Pluriel just used it like a normal car, with a sunroof. Pity.

STORY Ollie Kew