Help me choose a two-seater

I am anticipating a commute across San Francisco’s Bay Bridge with my wife to work. 3+ people is a carpool, or 2 in a two-seat vehicle; commuting as a carpool can save significant time.

So, I am in the market for a two-seater with the following mismatched and probably incompatible traits:

- space for my 62’’ x 15’’ x 0.4’’ kiteboard (for kitesurfing in the Bay after work)

- convertible

- manual transmission

- preference to lease (so I can get something ridiculous without worrying about long-term ownership) or something cheap I can get on Craiglist.

Are there any convertibles where the trunk connects to the passenger compartment to allow for a slightly larger capacity, or two-seater hatchbacks?

Am I doomed to a two-seater pickup truck?

Help me find the right car!


took me a while to figure out why you were limited to a two seater, it’s because of the carpool regulations.

Two seater cars fall into categories, pickup trucks (not really cars) and expensive (or very old) sports cars. It’s because of insurance requirements that most “sports cars” have a tiny bench seat behind the two front seats.

So, looking on the internet, we have the Mazde Miata, the Honda S2000, Nisson Z350, Pontiac solstice, Saturn sky, all listed as “Affordable”. It’s all uphill from there to the Lamborghini Gallardo. To see if they fit your space requirements would take a trip to the dealers.

How about a used MGB?

Scion Tc not convertable but has dual sunroof (close to convert) with hatch for kiteboard with seats down becomes a two seater. Neice has one and does everything well, ride handling, quiet, economy, quick and cheap. Standard is $17k and change.
She loves hers and they pack the skiis in back with rear seats reclined.

Gee, that “lease or buy cheap on craigslist” suggests two very very different cars. In the craigslist column, you might consider a car-truck! A Subaru Brat or a Dodge MiniRam might fit the bill if you can find one. A Geo Metro convertible would also be a possibility, although I’m not quite sure how much space those have.

In the lease column, I’d add one other possiblilty to the sportscars bill mentioned. I’m not sure exactly how the cargo space works, and this isn’t a convertible, but the Honda Insight is more-or-less a two-seater hatchback.

First thing to do is research to see if you can get a rack that fits on the trunk lid of a Miata and holds the board, maybe crosswise. Because there is nothing better than commuting across the Bay Bridge in a Miata! On a clear morning, with the sun behind you (if you’re going west) the city is just amazing, the wind is just right, and you know you won the Lottery today. And, you can get 5 year old Miatas with very low miles on Craigslist, if you are a little patient. I found 2 over the years, one in San Francisco and the other in Walnut Creek. Great car, cheap to own, reliable and very nice to zip through traffic.

I would suggest the Miata. I really liked the one I had. I would also suggest you do so serious research on leasing and the pitfalls and expenses. They often give you less not more options. They almost always cost more. Other than for a business, they seldom make economic sense.

Most pickups will still seat three because the front seat is almost always a bench. Corvette hatchbacks have a lot of cargo space, and the cargo area is open to the back. It also comes with a removable roof panel, so its almost a convertible. Some base model Jeep Wranglers are available as two seaters, however you may run into problems because law enforcement may still think you have a four seat model.

I don’t think “more-or-less a two-seater” cuts it with the state trouper controlling cars into the carpool lane.

Speaking about carpool lane, saw a funny sign pair on 84 near hartford,

First sign: Left lane for access to commuter lane, for buses and carpool
Second sign: buses prohibited from left lane

Some two seat pickups are kind of cool. The Chevy SSR is two seat only, convertible and has good cargo room covered by a slick fiberglass cover.

They were a little pricey when new, but 2003-2004 models might be a deal now. Can’t buy a new one as they went out of production in 2006…


Buy something cheap, like a use Miata and keep a board at work.

Never lease a car.

I meant the hatch back part. I don’t know if the Insight really has a useable rear hatch area or if it’s all taken up by battery. It’s definitely a two-seater, though!

Although I was wondering if it would count if you had something like a van with only two seats installed in it.

How about an Alfa Romeo Spider. A Series 2, 3 and 4 Spider has a long but shallow trunk and a rear seat shelf.

A used Suzuki X-90 could be had for a song.
But I would just go with the pickup; cheap, 2 seat, pleantly of room for a kiteboard.

While driving yesterday, I saw an old l camino car/truck on the road. I know they look funny, but it wouldn’t be as bad as driving a pick-up and it should hold your board. Just a thought.

A Corvette is about it, but the kite probably won’t fit easily in the cargo area. It’s going to make it difficult to carry much else since it will have to fit in cross-wise (front left to right back). And gas mileage won’t be great. You will get less than 20 MPG in city traffic. Another option might be a 2 seater GT like a Nissan 350Z or an Audi TT with a sun roof. The TT has jump seats in the back; make sure they qualify as a 2-seater. What about your wife’s hair? Will she still ride with you if you mess it up every time the roof is down? It will be your fault, you know. The 350Z gets about the same mileage as the Vette and the TT gets well over 20 in the city - about 5 or 6 MPG better than either of the other two.

Thanks. I’ve been eying the Nissan Zs wondering if there’s enough room. I’ve also noted the Chrysler Crossfire.

The Tc looks good, but sadly doesn’t count as a two-seater for carpooling purposes.

Last weekend I rode to the beach in a friend’s Honda Insight complete with 3 kiteboards and gear. It was tight, but fun, and exactly the amount of space I want. I’ve heard, anecdotally and on CarTalk, that Insights are not “safe” cars. Why doesn’t Volvo make a two-seat hatchback?!

I agree with benzman. The Chevy SSR seems an ideal choice. It is technically a pickup, but it is a two seater convertible, it’s very sporty, and has a covered bed, which is more or less a large trunk. I don’t know how affordable they are, though, so that may be a sticking point.

still goin for a good price, since they don’t make them anymore