Traveling the entirety of Route 66 is something we’re probably going to do only once. And if you’re only going to do it once, you should try to do it in a convertible.
During the past eight months we looked at a lot of different makes and models, and rented more than a few to see how they would wear on us on the open road.
The most available are Mustangs. But the ride is a little rough and much windier/noisier than some of the others we looked at. We rented one and drove it to Eastland during the summer. It had more speed than I will confess to. But the idea isn’t to drive Route 66 as fast as we can.
We’re not going to drive the entire trip with the top down, and when we put it up we want something comfortable and quiet. We started focusing in on hard-top convertibles.
We looked hard at a Lexux 430 SC. Sporty with good lines. But the hard top doesn’t leave enough trunk space for a picnic basket, much less luggage for two. Also, the “back seats” are really that in name only. While we aren’t taking anyone with us on the Road, keeping the Lexus for use around town after the trip isn’t terribly practical.
We finally went back to the first convertible model we looked at- a Volkswagen EOS. (We rented one in the spring for a road trip to San Marcos. We rented it via Turo, a web-based network I would describe as VRBO for automobiles. (UPDATE: we have used Turo on a number of trips since then and it has been great every time.)
An EOS is sized somewhere between a Corolla and a Camry. The available trunk room isn’t huge, but much larger than the Lexus. It has functional back seats, so someone could actually sit there for a short trip. Most importantly, it’s the quietest open-air ride we found. The aerodynamics allow two people to talk while driving with the top down. And a deflector screen that fits behind the front seats reduces wind turbulence, making the open-air ride very comfortable.
The EOS stayed in our minds as a really desirable option. The problem is it’s hard to find one for rental, much for a one-way rental across country. So we watched, shopped, and eventually found The Car. It’s not new, but it has a clean interior and is in good shape mechanically. We had two mechanics look it over and they both said “buy it.” So we did!
Here is another photo of The Car with the top up. Nothing like a Beetle.