road test; Rover 114 Cabriolet
Labour-saving as the electric motor might be for getting the hood to this state, you really have to complete the job yourself by fitting the hood cover, if only to force the hood into further compression and gain a modicum of more rearward awareness. This is the most physical task I have undertaken for some time - pulling here, stretching there, clipping somewhere else. I cannot see the average owner attempting this job more than twice before asking questions about the sense in buying this Rover.
All of which is a shame, because the rest of the car is rather good. The diminutive bootlid has neatly engineered hinges that do not encroach on luggage space, wind buffeting is low with the hood down and wind whistle is similarly low with the roof up, and the car's structure feels solid and shudder-free. The ultra-supple Hydragas suspension helps here, with its ability to soak up sharp bumps better than the steel springs of every other small car, yet the Rover still steers incisively and corners tidily.
Its little K-series engine is a jewel: smooth, sweet, quiet yet crisp in its response to your commands, backed up by a precise, well-oiled gear change. Few small cars are as civilised or as solidly built, which makes up for the disappointing dashboard, whose dated looks have changed little since 1985.
But all it really needs is a hood that normal people can fold away.
Rover 114 Cabriolet, pounds 11,995.
Engine: 1396cc, four cylinders, 74bhp at 5,500rpm. Five-speed gearbox, front-wheel drive. Top speed 103mph, 0-60 in 10.9 seconds. Fuel consumption 37-42mpg
Fiat Punto Cabrio, pounds 13,085. Slightly bigger than the Rover, with a larger 1.6-litre, 90bhp engine, the Punto is still scores highly on cuteness.
Mazda MX-5 1.6i, pounds 12,995. Two-seater sports car, now available at a bargain price with basic trim level and less powerful engine. Reminiscent of old-time MG Midgets except it is smoother, faster, safer and better made.
Mini Convertible, pounds 11,995. Cheap for a convertible but outrageously expensive for a Mini. Wood and leather trim adds to the impression of a miniature Rolls-Royce.
Volkswagen Golf 1.8 Convertible, pounds 13,599. Cheap open Golf, which retains the usual virtues of a rigid body and a snug roof that is easy to fold. Not much equipment, and the 75bhp engine gives a leisurely performance, but it will last a long time.
Life & Style blogs
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary
Astrological signs are almost all wrong, as movement of moon and sun throws out zodiac
PTSD photo series documents what the disorder is really like – as study reveals suicides of 22 US veterans every day
The distress of some Zayn Malik fans is real, and they need support, say experts
Eating quinoa and whole grains every day could help you live longer
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Germanwings plane crash: Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz wanted to 'do something people would remember him for'
- 1 Astrological signs are almost all wrong, as movement of moon and sun throws out zodiac
- 2 Dad eats daughter's weed brownies, thinks he's had a stroke
- 3 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 4 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
- 5 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...
£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...
£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...