The best cheap convertible cars

  • When the sun comes out, is it time for an open-top car?
  • Our pick of the best convertible cars boasting good value for money
  • We’ve also got some higher-budget options too
  • When the sun comes out, is it time for an open-top car?
  • Our pick of the best convertible cars boasting good value for money
  • We’ve also got some higher-budget options too

What better way to enjoy a sunny day - in winter or summer - than in an open-top car?

A convertible car doesn’t have to be a financial burden though – we’ve picked out our favourite cabriolets which get the balance of kit, price and running costs just right.

Everything here comes with lots of standard equipment. We’ve also got articles on how to finance your purchase and a free valuation tool too.

Used cars for sale

Mazda MX-5

Mazda MX-5 - best convertible cars

The quintessential roadster and a bargain to boot, the Mazda MX-5 is an extremely suitable first choice in this category. We’ve selected Sport Nav trim because it comes with sat-nav built in, plus a Bose stereo and heated seats - all important extras for top-down motoring.

This 1.5-litre engine here is less powerful than the 2-litre option but it’s also more characterful, with a raspy exhaust note and more eagerness to rev.

Star rating: 4.4 stars
Our choice: 1.5-litre Sport Nav
New price: £18,495 - £24,300
Used price: £13,055 - £20,975 
Fuel economy: 40 - 47 mpg
Kit highlights: Heated seats, sat-nav, Bose stereo

View the latest Mazda MX-5 convertible cars for sale

 

BMW 2 Series Cabriolet

BMW 2 Series Cabriolet - best convertible cars

Premium feel, a great drive and Germanic build quality add up to a seriously tempting proposition in the form of a BMW 2 Series Cabriolet.

Bottom-spec SE gives you enough room in a budget of £30,000 to pick a superb eight-speed automatic gearbox to go along with the efficient yet punchy diesel engine. It’s well equipped too, with sat-nav, 17-inch alloy wheels, rear parking sensors and air-con all included.

Best of all it looks considerably more expensive than its sub-£30k asking price thanks to the associated BMW image.

Star rating: 4.5 stars
Our choice: 218d SE Auto
New price: £27,060 - £40,265
Used price: £14,150 - £29,470
Fuel economy: 33 - 65 mpg
Kit highlights: Sat-nav, rear parking sensors, air-con

View the latest BMW 2 Series Cabriolet convertible cars for sale

 

Audi A3 Cabriolet

Audi A3 Cabriolet - best convertible cars

Falling slightly behind the BMW in our reckoning is the still-talented Audi A3, complete in this specification with a fantastic 1.4-litre petrol engine. It features cylinder-on-demand, clever tech that shuts down half the engine when you’re not using it in order to reduce fuel costs and emissions.

Mid-spec Sport trim comes with some nice gadgets and a better external look, plus we’ve picked a smooth and labour-saving S Tronic automatic gearbox.

Star rating: 4 stars
Our choice: 1.4 TFSI Sport S Tronic
New price: £27,395 - £41,190
Used price: £12,105 - £33,130
Fuel economy: 41 - 72 mpg
Kit highlights: Climate control, lowered sports suspension, 17-inch wheels

View the latest Audi A3 Cabriolet convertible cars for sale

 

MINI Convertible

Mini Convertible - best convertible cars

MINI is a style-conscious brand that doesn’t often shout value for money but you can pick up the hot Cooper S version with 189bhp and a 0-62mph time of just 7.2 seconds while remaining well within our budget; we think that’s a lot of performance for the cash.

One of the best front-wheel drive superminis on sale, this version comes with a characterful 2-litre petrol and timeless retro looks. You also get more kit that you’d expect, with a standard reversing camera to make backing the car up a doddle – a vital upgrade as visibility with the roof down is not great.

Star rating: 4 stars
Our choice: 2.0 Cooper S 2d
New price: £18,765 - £32,280
Used price: £13,050 - £25,740
Fuel economy: 43 - 74 mpg
Kit highlights: Rear parking sensors, reversing camera, keyless start

View the latest MINI Convertible cars for sale

 

Fiat 500C

Fiat 500C - best convertible cars

Chasing the MINI in the retro-chic stakes is the nostalgic Fiat 500, here in open-top C configuration, with a distinctive and economical two-cylinder TwinAir engine.

The 0.9-litre motor sounds like nothing else on the road (save for a motorbike) and provides enough poke to get the little 500 moving in town traffic and beyond. Pop Star trim is second from the bottom so doesn’t have a long list of equipment, but it covers all the basics and comes with a considerably smaller price tag than most on our list here.

Star rating: 4 stars
Our choice: 0.9 TwinAir Pop Star 2d
New price: £14,000 - £21,200
Used price: £2,980 - £12,260
Fuel economy: 46 - 83 mpg
Kit highlights: Air-con, 15-inch alloy wheels, heated door mirrors

View the latest Fiat 500 C convertible cars for sale

 

DS 3 Cabriolet

DS 3 Cabriolet - best convertible cars

The DS 3 has always been a head-turner and now you can make the most of its posing appeal with a drop-top roof.

Available with one of our favourite engines, the 1.2-litre PureTech petrol, you can expect great performance mirrored by surprising economy. Lower-spec Elegance is anything but penny-pinching with standard LED front fog lights, automatic air-con and rear parking sensors.

Star rating: 4 stars
Our choice: 1.2 PureTech 130 Elegance
New price: £18,935 - £25,785
Used price: £6,800 - £18,295
Fuel economy: 50 - 80 mpg
Kit highlights: LED front fog lights, automatic air-con and rear parking sensors

View the latest DS 3 Cabriolet convertible cars for sale

 

Peugeot 108 Top

Peugeot 108 Top - best convertible cars

Convertibles don’t come much cheaper than the Peugeot 108 Top.

Picked here with a three-cylinder, 1-litre petrol engine that offers both performance and economy, this cheap-to-buy motor is fun to drive yet costs pennies to run. Active trim is generously equipped for the price with basics like electric front windows, remote central locking and LED daytime running lights all included as standard.

Star rating: 3.5 stars
Our choice: Top 1.0 Active 3d
New price: £8,715 - £13,985
Used price: £3,960 - £9,330
Fuel economy: 65 - 74 mpg
Kit highlights: Electric front windows, remote central locking, and LED daytime running lights

View the latest Peugeot 108 Top convertible cars for sale

 

Caterham Seven

Caterham Seven - best convertible cars

This pick is a bit of a curveball – we don’t think there’s much else out there that can match the performance-per-pound value of the Caterham Seven.

This one comes with a three-cylinder Suzuki engine with 80bhp; more than enough to speed this super lightweight car along, plus the handling is excellent thanks to a rear-wheel drive set up and unassisted steering.

Value for money means different things to different people – this car doesn’t come with a lot of kit but it’s got driver satisfaction covered with ease.

Star rating: 3.2 stars
Our choice: Seven 160
New price: £18,744 - £43,855
Kit highlights: Carpets, windscreen, leather seats

Read our full review of the Caterham Seven

 

Convertible cars for less than £7,000

We’ve picked some more amazing convertible cars that will cost you less than £7,000 - and they’re all stylish and affordable to run.

Nissan 350Z Roadster (2005-2010)

Nissan 350Z Roadster - best convertible cars

The Nissan 350Z is a hairychested bruiser of a sports car and the Roadster only adds to the fun with its quick-acting fabric roof.

Drop the top and you can enjoy the growl of its 3.5-litre V6 engine all the more. Power increased from the original 276bhp to 300bhp in 2006 and was boosted again in 2007 to 313bhp, but all are quick and handle sharply. The ride is firm but not jarring, and refinement in the cabin is acceptable with the roof down, but you may need to shout to be heard at motorway speeds.

The standard 350Z Roadster is well equipped, but we’d go for the GT Pack that additionally benefits from heated and electrically adjusted seats, leather upholstery, cruise control and Bose stereo system. Plus its forged alloy wheels look great, too.

Star rating: 4.5 stars
New price: £26,835 - £30,295
Used price: £3,665 - £10,990
Fuel economy: 23 - 24 mpg
Pick of the range: 350Z Roadster GT

View the latest Nissan 350Z Roadster convertible cars for sale

 

BMW Z4 (2003-2008)

BMW Z4 - best convertible cars

BMW’s first Z4 was aimed squarely at the Porsche Boxster and launched with 2.5 and 3.0-litre engines to give it sufficient fire power.

These are the models to choose if you like plenty of pace, but avoid the 2.2-litre six-cylinder as it’s not that quick but is thirsty. A six-speed manual gearbox is normal fare, while a six-speed auto suits cruising duties.

The 2.0-litre motor that replaced the 2.2 may not be as powerful but it’s more pleasant to use. A facelift in 2006 increased engine power and performance, with these models denoted by their ‘si’ badging. Every Z4 loves corners and has direct steering to engage the driver fully in the process.

For a supple ride, avoid the Sport models with firmer suspension, but check what equipment the car has as BMW was a little utilitarian on the standard kit front. Sniffing out a car with several optional extras is a great way to get good value for money when buying a second-hand convertible.

Star rating: 4 stars
New price: £22,605 - £35,695
Used price: £2,285 - £8,025
Fuel economy: 29 - 38 mpg
Pick of the range: 2.5 si sport

View the latest BMW Z4 convertible cars for sale

 

Mercedes-Benz CLK cabriolet (2003-2009)

Mercedes-Benz CLK - best convertible cars

A CLK Convertible on your drive will have the neighbours thinking you’ve won the Lottery.

You’ll be able to take the family along thanks to the four-seat cabin, while the fabric roof is effective at keeping the weather at bay. The engine line-up was revised in 2005 to introduce the 280 and 350 engines in place of the 240 and 320.

The CLK350 is the one to choose for its smooth, effortless power delivery. Stick to automatic gearboxes since the manuals have a slow, awkward shift, and look for cars with a faultless service history as repairs are pricey.

Star rating: 4 stars
New price: £32,170 - £52,630
Used price: £1,795 - £9,160
Fuel economy: 24 - 32 mpg
Pick of the range: CLK350 Avantgarde

View the latest Mercedes-Benz CLK convertible cars for sale

 

Saab 9-3 convertible (2003-2011)

Saab 9-3 - best convertible cars

Saab may no longer make new cars, but that shouldn’t put you off the sleek 9-3 Convertible.

There are plenty out there due to its enduring  popularity as a stylish four-seat cabrio, with a fabric hood that does a good job of sealing out the elements when raised. Lowered, the cabin avoids much buffeting, but the rear seats are best for kids and low-speed roofdown driving.

There are 1.8- and 2.0-litre four-cylinder engines and a 2.8 V6, all with turbocharging, to offer performance from brisk to downright rapid. However, the 1.9 turbodiesel makes a strong case for itself in 150- and 180bhp forms with good pace coupled to 48mpg average economy.

Star rating: 3.5 stars
New price: £25,380 - £36,230
Used price: £750 - £11,860
Fuel economy: 25 - 54 mpg
Pick of the range: 1.9 TiD Vector Auto

View the latest Saab 9-3 convertible cars for sale

 

Peugeot 207CC (2007-2014)

Peugeot 207CC - best convertible cars

Peugeot was first to bring the coupe convertible roof to the masses with its 206 CC and the 207 carried on the trend.

Among the upgrades are a much better driving position and the availability of Peugeot’s fine diesel engines. Unfortunately, the newer car is still hampered by rear seats that are all but useless for carrying passengers. That’s a shame when the 207 CC is positioned as a four-seater.

Still, the 207 CC looks great, handles well and has smooth ride, while the engines are willing and the diesel from 2010 onwards offers more power and greater economy.

Star rating: 3.5 stars
New price: £16,505 - £20,695
Used price: £1,130 - £9,340
Fuel economy: 38 - 58 mpg
Pick of the range: 1.6 HDi Sport

View the latest Peugeot 207CC convertible cars for sale

 

Renault Megane cabriolet (2006-2009)

Renault Megane Cabriolet - best convertible cars

Similar in looks to the earlier Megane Cabriolet, the Renault has a glazed roof section allowing lots of light in whether it’s up or down.

With the snugness of a coupe when raised, folding it away is easily achieved at the touch of a button. In the rear, space is very tight even for kids, while the boot is compromised for space with the roof down.

However, it rides well and its range of engines concentrates on refinement over outright pace. Diesels are frugal but we’d choose the 2.0-litre turbo petrol with manual gearbox - auto ‘boxes dull down the drive.

Star rating: 3.5 stars
New price: £17,475 - £22,708
Used price: £610 - £2,990
Fuel economy: 33 - 56 mpg
Pick of the range: 2.0 T Privilege

View the latest Renault Megane Cabriolet cars for sale

 

Smart Fortwo cabriolet (07-14)

Smart Fortwo Cabriolet - best convertible cars

Just like the Smart Fortwo Coupe, the Cabrio is strictly a two-seater and has a tiny boot, so it won’t suit everyone.

Nor is it the best car for motorways, but for urban dashes the Fortwo Cabrio rides and handles just fine. The roof lowers quickly yet keeps noise sealed out when it’s raised.

You can choose from 61, 71- and 84bhp 1.0-litre engines, or the 98bhp Brabus model, though all have a sluggish auto ’box.

From 2009-on, the two least powerful engines gain mhd mild hybrid drive to improve economy and emissions, while the cdi diesel off ers 88mpg and 88g/km of CO2. The diesel is sluggish, however, so the 71bhp petrol gets our vote. Avoid the base Pure trim as it’s Spartan.

Star rating: 3.5 stars
New price: £9,168 - £21,895
Used price: £1,295 - £9,190
Fuel economy: 52 - 85 mpg
Pick of the range: Fortwo Cabrio mhd Passion

View the latest Smart Fortwo Cabriolet convertible cars for sale


Increase your budget for these fast convertible cars

Despite not having the best weather, we Brits love convertibles and buy more of them than anywhere else in Europe. On the whole most convertibles are slower than the car they’re based on, but what happens if you’re a performance car fan but fancy topping up your tan? 

Here are some of the fastest convertibles a budget of under £70,000 can buy. 

Audi A5 RS5 Convertible (2010-2015)

Audi RS5 Cabriolet - best convertible cars

The Audi RS5 is well worth considering thanks to its magnificent engine. While others, like BMW, have introduced more efficient small capacity turbocharged engines, Audi’s RS5 perseveres with a naturally aspirated 4.2-litre V8 and we’re glad. Producing 444bhp it loves to rev and sounds like a race car while doing it.

Luckily, all that power is efficiently channelled to the road via Audi’s all-wheel drive quattro hardware, so there’ll be no smoking tyres away from the lights.

Against the clock the RS5 can hit 62mph in just 4.7secs before the speed limiter calls time at 155mph. Better still, the RS5 is a proper four seater so the whole family can enjoy that soundtrack.

Sadly at almost £70,000 it isn’t cheap and if you do hit bumpy  B-roads you can feel the car flex - which isn’t pleasant.

Star rating: 3
New price: £57,935 - £77,685
Used price: £19,890 - £46,105
Fuel economy: 26 - 26 mpg
Engine: 4.2-litre V8 petrol
Gearbox: Seven-speed twin-clutch automatic
Power: 444bhp
Torque: 430Nm
0-62mph: 4.7 seconds
Top speed: 155mph
Top down in: 15 seconds (up to 31mph)

View the latest Audi A5 RS5 convertible cars for sale

Lotus Elise S

Lotus Elise - best convertible cars

If you can manage the physical gymnastics involved with traversing a high sill and folding your body through the small pillar box opening (when the roof's in place) and actually fit in its diminutive cabin you’re in for a real treat.

The Lotus Elise is the most involving and engaging drive out of all the fast convertibles here. That’s because its lack of luxuries, like power steering, mean there's nothing to distract you from the driving experience – which is sublime.

From its communicative steering, great balance and light weight, the Elise has some of the best handling of any car on sale at any price. Even its modest-sounding Toyota-sourced 1.6-litre that can only produce 134bhp doesn’t let the side down, helping the Elise to 62mph in just 6.5 seconds.

Of course, we’ve already mentioned the Elise isn’t perfect. Some drivers just won’t fit, removing the roof takes an age and build quality can be flaky, but few cars offer this much fun even at this price.

Star rating: 4
New price: £32,120 - £48,255
Used price: £4,860 - £42,185
Fuel economy: 32 - 45 mpg
Engine: 1.6-litre petrol
Gearbox: Six-speed manual
Power: 134bhp
Torque: 160Nm
0-62mph: 6.5 seconds
Top speed: 127mph
Top down in: a long time 

View the latest Lotus Elise convertible cars for sale

Mercedes-Benz SLK55 Roadster (2011-2016)

Mercedes-Benz SLK - best convertible cars

Forget fast convertible, the SLK55 AMG is more like a hot rod. Don’t believe us? You will when you bury your foot into the carpet and the SLK reaches 62mph in just 4.6 seconds. The SLK55’s secrets are revealed when you open the bonnet because in the place you would normally expect to find a small petrol there is a stonking 416bhp 5.5-litre V8.

Roof down, like the Audi RS5, you’re treated to one of great automotive soundtracks, but perhaps the best thing about the SLK55 is when you’re not in the mood it transforms from tyre-torturer to relaxing cruiser with the added security of a folding hardtop. Biggest issue with running the SLK55 is the price you pay for performance at the pumps, but if you can live with that you’ll have one of the fastest convertibles around.

Star rating: 4
New price: £29,840 - £44,460
Used price: £10,175 - £26,490
Fuel economy: 38 - 70 mpg
Engine: 5.5-litre V8 petrol
Gearbox: Seven-speed automatic
Power: 416bhp
Torque: 540Nm
0-62mph: 4.6 seconds
Top speed: 155mph
Top down in: 20 secs

View the latest Mercedes-Benz SLK55 convertible cars for sale

Volkswagen Golf R (2014-2016)

VW Golf R - best convertible cars

It was hard to take the Golf R seriously when it first went on sale. That’s because initially it was almost as expensive as the Porsche Boxster, but following a hefty £5,600 price-cut the Golf Cabriolet R is suddenly a very tempting way to go fast topless.

Powered by the same 261bhp 2.0-litre turbo that powers the Scirocco R it does without the hatch’s all-wheel drive. Despite this it’s still able to hit 62mph in just 6.4 seconds and go on to 155mph before the speed limiter calls time.

On the road the Golf feels almost as fast as the Boxster it was originally priced against, with lots of useful low-down urge. The stiffer suspension also gives you plenty of confidence through bends, while the standard six-speed twin-clutch automatic offers seamless gear changes.

Star rating: 4
New price: £31,000 - £33,775
Used price: £14,445 - £28,175
Fuel economy: 39 - 40 mpg
Engine: 2.0-litre turbo petrol
Gearbox: Six-speed twin-clutch automatic
Power: 261bhp
Torque: 350Nm
0-62mph: 6.2 seconds
Top speed: 155mph
Top down in: 9 secs (up to 30mph)

View the latest VW Golf R cars for sale

Porsche Boxster Roadster (2012-2016)

Porsche Boxter - best convertible cars

Not only is the Boxster a fast convertible but it’s a brilliant sports car full stop. Like the best driver’s cars it’s not all about the straight-line speed, but how the Boxster makes you feel once you find a challenging piece of road. It’s agile, grippy and well balanced and gives you incredible confidence.

Roof down the 2.7-litre flat-six also sounds fantastic, but perhaps the best thing about the Porsche is it is a wonderful car to live with. There are two boots and lots of luggage space, it can even average 33mpg and finally, we think the latest version looks great.

Star rating: 5
New price: £39,608 - £60,514
Used price: £19,590 - £69,765
Fuel economy: 28 - 35 mpg
Engine: 2.7-litre flat-six petrol
Gearbox: Six-speed manual
Power: 261bhp
Torque: 280Nm
0-62mph: 5.6 seconds
Top speed: 164mph
Top down in: 9 secs (up to 30mph)

View the latest Porsche Boxster Roadster cars for sale

Jaguar F-Type

Jaguar F-Type - best convertible cars

Jaguar’s F-Type is not only one of our favourite convertibles, but one of Parkers' favourite cars - that’s why we’ve given it a flawless five-star verdict when we first drove it. Best of the bunch is the supercharged 3.0-litre V6 that produces 374bhp and helps it sprint to 62mph before topping out at 161mph.

Behind the wheel you’ll love the way the Jag roadster drives. Its eight-speed auto shifts quickly and smoothly while its agile handling, quick and accurate steering means the F-type is great fun to drive. Roof down, there’s a bit too much buffeting for our liking and the tiny boot means you’ll have to pack light. It’s also not cheap, but if you buy into its classic roadster looks you’ll think it's worth every penny.

Star rating: 5
New price: £56,935 - £115,485
Used price: £24,905 - £82,140
Fuel economy: 25 - 33 mpg
Engine: 3.0-litre supercharged V6  petrol
Gearbox: Eight-speed automatic
Power: 374bhp
Torque: 460Nm
0-62mph: 4.8 seconds
Top speed: 161mph
Top down in:  12 seconds (up to 30mph)

View the latest Jaguar F-Type cars for sale

Abarth 500C (2010-2015)

Abarth 500C - best convertible cars

For those not in the know it’s easy to mistake the Abarth as just a Fiat 500 with big wheels - but this would be foolish because lurking beneath the bodykit is a surprisingly serious sports car. Cute it isn’t. Fast it is, especially when you choose the 595C Competizone (£20,990) version that sees power boosted to 160bhp and the 0-62mph tumble to just 7.4secs.

Better still is the experience behind the wheel. Wind the roof back (OK, it’s not quite a ‘proper’ convertible) and the little Abarth is genuinely fun to fling down a tight twisty road, so long as you avoid the jerky paddleshift gearbox. The engine offers plenty of low-down urge too. Shame the ride is on the bouncy side and that roof, when wound all the way back, obscures the rear view, but for bang for your bucks this is one of the best ways to go topless quickly.

Star rating: 3.5
New price: £16,380 - £17,680
Used price: £5,520 - £12,995
Fuel economy: 47 - 48 mpg
Engine: 1.4-litre turbo petrol
Gearbox: Five-speed manual
Power: 160bhp
Torque: 230Nm
0-62mph: 7.4 seconds
Top speed: 131mph
Top down in: less than 10 seconds (up to 37mph)

View the latest Abarth 500C convertible cars for sale

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