Hot Ragtops For Cool Road Trips

Nothing says "summer" like a cool road trip in a hot ragtop. Convertibles are back in a big way, and the good news is, there is a model to fit almost every budget. David Gregg, a senior editor at Best magazine, visits The Early Show Thursday with a sampling of some of the hottest wheels.

We'll look at the Chrysler PT Cruiser, Mini Cooper, Toyota MR2 Spyder, Chrysler Crossfire Roadster, and the Cadillac XLR Hardtop.

Chrysler PT Cruiser:

  • With a high roofline and lots of interior room, the PT Cruiser is one of the few convertibles that comfortably seats four adults, making it a perfect ragtop for the entire family.
  • Cool retro styling that includes a power convertible cloth top.
  • 3 models to choose from, including a speedy turbo GT.
  • Even the base model comes loaded with all the power goodies (windows, A/C and rear defrost).
  • Has a 2.4 liter 4 cylinder engine (150 horsepower).
  • Its sticker price of $19,995 makes it one of the most affordable convertibles on the market.
  • Web link: www.chrysler.com
Mini Cooper:

  • Small enough for urban dwellers, yet big enough for a family of four.
  • First car to bring back "cool" to an economy car, like the Europeans have had for decades.
  • Dual-mode power soft-top that can be retracted all the way, or left in "open sunroof'"mode.
  • All the power "bells and whistles" are standard (AM/FM CD-6 speaker audio system, A/C, power windows and door locks).
  • A must-have for any Austin Powers enthusiast (The Mini was featured in the movie "Goldmember'"and, more recently, "The Italian Job.")
  • Has a 1.6 liter 4 cylinder engine (115 horsepower)
  • A super sporty set of wheels offering plenty of pep (S Model offers a super-charged engine) affordably priced starting at around $21K.
  • Web link: www.miniusa.com
Toyota MR2 Spyder

  • A mid-engine design gives this sports car handling usually reserved for racetrack cars.
  • A manually operated soft top will allow you to quickly convert into roofless mode.
  • Accommodates two adults comfortably.
  • An affordable sticker price of $25,410 allows the Spyder to attract almost anyone searching for a convertible driving experience.
  • Web link: www.toyota.com
Chrysler Crossfire Roadster

  • The center spine design and side air intakes give the Crossfire its signature look.
  • A very fast motorized soft top will have your hair blowing in the wind in 22 seconds.
  • At 60 mph, the body design automatically morphs to employ a stability controlling spoiler (think Porsche Carrera 4 Turbo).
  • Has a 1.8 liter 4cylinder engine (138 horsepower)
  • Get Mercedes SL 500 2-seat roadster influenced styling (40 percent of its parts are Mercedes), and some pretty serious performance, without the price tag - sticker price is $34,960
  • Web link: www.chrysler.com
Cadillac XLR Hardtop

  • One of a few retractable hardtop vehicles on the market today.
  • The first Cadillac convertible model in over a decade, and the first retractable hardtop in Cadillac's history.
  • The top retracts into the trunk in 30 seconds, leaving enough room for a set of golf clubs and two people.
  • Over-the-top creature comforts including: heated AND cooled seats, keyless entry AND ignition, OnStar Communications System (including optional access to virtual advisor to get stock quotes, weather, and traffic information) and radar-guided cruise control.
  • Has a 4.6 liter 8 cylinder engine (320 horsepower)
  • This luxury roadster is the first American convertible in years to give the German convertibles a run for their money - sticker price is $76,200.
  • Web link: www.cadillac.com

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