With colder weather arriving, most people will be putting their convertibles away to hibernate for winter. We went to Iceland in a Mazda MX-5 to find out why they shouldn’t.
Boldly go where no one has gone before roadster
the UK and Iceland have much in common. Both like to drink heavily, very independently, raided the Vikings, and is used to change, bad weather. Oh and of course have a keen love of football, especially after the results of this summer.
One clear point of difference though, came in the automotive tastes together. While we Brits will like our SUV - its popularity shows no signs of slowing down - the people of Iceland right drive off-roader, which they often really take off-road.
their interest in 4x4s importance stems from the need to traverse the harsh environment that surrounds them and not to lord it over the other drivers at the school gates. In fact, winter here is so extreme that they go full hog-wild. monster truck tires, jacked-up suspension, and the bull bar is all the sites are common, sometimes on things as odd as the Mercedes Vito van.
So that explains why we have a soft-roader, and they have a rock-roaders. This is where things interesting though. Even the most enthusiastic travel agent would not describe the UK as a sunbather's paradise, but we buy more convertibles than any other country in Europe.
Iceland has virtually no drop-tops. You will see more fantasy troll here than roadsters, although it also has some of the most jaw-dropping scenery anywhere in the world. So what is the explanation for this difference. boundless optimism on our behalf, or something deeper?
To find answers to these questions, we went on a goodwill mission to the frozen North, the UK-plated version of the Mazda MX-5 Icon Edition. Our mission is to see why roadsters rare here, to test whether the Mazda few can cope with the condition.
Ensure as many 332,000 people saw a convoy of ambassadors we may be, we do not do things by section. The entire island lap, 830-mile coastal Tarmac worth snaking through the towering mountains, ventilation and smoldering moonscape, beckoned.
Most travelers do this trip in a week or so. Some lunatic hardy even cycle this way, but we handled the whole drive in just two days; and to prove that the convertible can actually hack these conditions, we continue to firmly roof open for the duration. Hats, let's go.
This decision turned out to be a controversial one. People stared, gaping open-mouthed at the sight of a pair of Brits mess zoom along with the roof off, in a bright white sports car. In fact, the scenery is quite remarkable that we managed to get some holiday snaps to tourists.
light drizzle stinging our faces, gray ominous clouds appears to depend heavily on the tip of jagged crag either side of a deserted road, it did not take long to begin to worry that perhaps the whole company is probably a bad idea after all.
Undeterred, the vent blasting at full seats and heated set to 'volcanic' we press, and start enjoying the unique driving conditions that Iceland provide. people spread so thin traffic outside Reykjavik is just not there. The roads are fast, flowing and well-visible, so the temptation to put your foot down to be amazing.
Vistas power struggles and beat the world
Fortunately for us, the simple output of the MX-5 (129bhp and 111lb ft respectively) means that you can give to a boost without falling foul of local enforcement. There is a blanket 55mph speed limit, and punishing fines for speeding mean any more power under the hood will be in vain. If there is one country where speed is not a problem, it's Iceland.
Landscape viewing experience raw, wild and always changing is revealed in the full panorama can not be overstated. Geography spectacular this place is the feast for the eyes that do not have a conversion to enjoy it really looks like garbage. Naturally, we were enjoying a comfortable September temperatures (8ºC) but in the summer there is sun all the time, so during these months you can get a tan while driving at night.
As amazing view, the absence of noise and an unpleasant smell (sulfur smoke pour from the rocky surface at several points along the route) rolls through the cabin, you can get involved with the environment in a way that is impossible in any other vehicle.
With rear-wheel drive and summer tires, ice, gravel roads pocked interior off-limits to the MX-5, but even on the unpaved part of our Mazda service coped admirably. It is soft enough to absorb the ruts and holes, seem resistant to punctures despite some nasty rocks, and the car crept through the corners on the low grip surface is a hell of a lot more fun than it would be tip-toeing around this bend in the 4x4.
To that extent, we could think of a reason or a barrier to ownership convertible in this country. But as we approach the final third of the journey, where the largest glacier in Europe breaks apart and empties into the vast expanse of ice into the Atlantic Ocean, the air cooled noticeably, storm clouds appeared, and the rain changed from a drizzle to something more insistent.
However, as the saying goes: "There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing." So we zipped our jackets up a little more strict, bowing to the MX-5 is comfortable, durable cabin, and pressing the foot end. The reward for watching the sunset appear under a black cloud, like the line of fire orange under a charcoal sky, and to attract even more stunned than other road users.
Gas stations are few and far between here, and even with the 1.5-liter frugal 47.1mpg we came perilously close to running out of fuel, and getting stranded is not something you want to do when rescue closest stop is a three hour drive away.
These problems aside though, we drive teaches us that cars such as the MX-5 can actually work here, which means that if you drive a convertible back in the UK, you really absolutely no reason not to drive your , roof-off, all year round. Winter may be coming, but it should not stop you from having fun, and of course does not mean you need four-wheel drive.
As for Iceland, I felt a gap in the market for a rental car company that specializes in drop-tops, and only operates in summer lighter, you never know, new things possible catch. Actually, that gives me new business ideas