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Which Convertibles Have Power-Folding Hardtops?

img186427989 1533667172910 jpg Mazda MX-5 Miata RF Club | photo by Brian Wong

The idea of a power-folding hardtop for convertibles dates to the turn of the last century and made it into production in France in 1935, but retractable hardtops peaked in numbers and sophistication just after the turn of this century and it’s been downhill since. Now, there’s just a handful left.

Related: Which Convertibles Can You Still Buy?

The few power-folding hardtops left are mostly niche or exotic roadsters. And the decline reflects rough times in general for al fresco cars, with fewer convertibles of any kind every year as SUVs and trucks take over the market. Attempts at open-air SUVs fizzled — recall the Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet and Land Rover Range Rover Evoque — as did Chevrolet’s convertible pickup, the SSR. A few off-roaders survive, however, such as the Ford Bronco and Jeep Wrangler and Gladiator, with manual lift-off hard tops or retractable fabric tops.

The upside of a retractable hardtop is that it’s more secure as well as more durable, and it generally makes for a quieter cabin when closed (though modern-design fabric tops have mitigated the drumming noise when closed). The retraction in action also is just cool to watch; see the classic Volvo C70 top sandwich itself in the trunk. And if you saw the recent movie “Being the Ricardos,” you might appreciate Lucy and Ricky’s pitch for America’s first mass-produced retractable hardtop, the 1957 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner.

But folding-hardtop convertibles also have downsides in a significant loss of trunk or storage space when the top is down (and sometimes even when up), as well as higher costs for the tops and their mechanisms. For the automaker, hardtops also are more complicated and costly to engineer, particularly for smaller-volume vehicles.

For this list, we’re using a broad definition of power-folding droptop, including on the list vehicles such as the Mazda MX-5 Miata RF, Chevrolet Corvette and some others that leave a lot of rear top structure in place in open mode. The 2022 vehicles (and one already unveiled 2023) with power-retractable hardtops include the following:

That’s a small and mostly unattainable crowd, and it’s shrunk even more in the last few years. The Mercedes-Benz SLK and SLC, whose folding-hardtop design in the late 1990s helped spark a wave of such convertibles, was retired after the 2020 model year. The revived 2022 Mercedes-AMG SL has gone to a fabric top, BMW’s 4 Series convertible switched from a hard top to a soft top for 2021, and even the world of soft-top convertibles is shrinking.

You can, however, research convertibles on the market here at

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Photo of Fred Meier
Former D.C. Bureau Chief Fred Meier, who lives every day with Washington gridlock, has an un-American love of small wagons and hatchbacks. Email Fred Meier

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