The best cheap convertible cars 2020

  • When the sun comes out, is it time for an open-top car?
  • Our pick of the best cheap convertible cars for 2020
  • Are these sub-£30,000 cars perfect for all-year round use?

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

But convertibles are getting rarer, and your choice of low-cost ragtops comes down to all-out sports cars like the Mazda MX-5 or ones based on established city cars, such as the Fiat 500C. We also have articles on how to finance your purchase and a free valuation tool too. Scroll down to read our full list of the best cheap convertible cars, or click the quick links below to jump to your favourite: 

1. Mazda MX-5
2. BMW 2 Series Cabriolet
3. Audi A3 Cabriolet
4. MINI Convertible
5. Fiat 500C
6. Caterham Seven

1. 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 2.0-litre option but it’s also more characterful, with a raspy exhaust note and more eagerness to rev. It's worth considering the MX-5's closely related rival - the Fiat 124 Spider - as well.

New price: £23,730 - £29,565
Lease this car from new
Used price: £8,390 - £21,345
Typical used monthly cost: £209 - £533
Fuel economy: 40.9 - 44.8 mpg
Insurance group: 25 - 34
Our choice: 1.5-litre Sport Nav
Equipment highlights: Heated seats, sat-nav, Bose stereo

Read our full Mazda MX-5 review

2. BMW 2 Series Convertible

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 Convertible. 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.

New price: £29,510 - £43,680
Used price: £8,480 - £25,140
Typical used monthly cost: £212 - £627
Fuel economy: 31.4 - 46.3 mpg
Insurance group: 21 - 46
Our choice: 218d SE Auto
Equipment highlights: Sat-nav, rear parking sensors, air-con

Read our full BMW 2 Series Cabriolet review

3. 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.

New price: £30,475 - £43,505
Lease this car from new
Used price: £7,180 - £31,220
Typical used monthly cost: £207 - £869
Fuel economy: 41 - 72 mpg
Insurance group: 18 - 46
Our choice: 1.4 TFSI Sport S Tronic
Equipment highlights: Climate control, lowered sports suspension, 17-inch wheels

Read our full Audi A3 Cabriolet review

4. MINI Convertible

MINI Convertible - the best cheap 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 190hp and a 0-62mph time of 7.2 seconds while remaining well within our budget; we think that’s a lot of performance for the cash. One of the best-handling small cars on sale, this version comes with a characterful 2.0-litre petrol and timeless retro looks. You also get more equipment 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.

New price: £20,540 - £32,880
Lease this car from new
Used price: £7,755 - £23,800
Typical used monthly cost: £194 - £594
Fuel economy: 37.2 - 45.6 mpg
Insurance group: 16 - 33
Our choice: 2.0 Cooper S 2d
Equipment highlights: Rear parking sensors, reversing camera, keyless start

Read our full MINI Convertible review

5. 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.

New price: £15,205 - £21,305
Lease this car from new
Used price: £1,585 - £14,180
Typical used monthly cost: £54 - £312
Fuel economy: 41.5 - 53.3 mpg
Insurance group: 9 - 19
Our choice: 0.9 TwinAir Pop Star 2d
Equipment highlights: Air-con, 15-inch alloy wheels, heated door mirrors

Read our full Fiat 500C review

6. 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 four-cylinder Ford engine with 155hp; 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 equipment but it has driver satisfaction covered with ease.

New price: £25,995
Fuel economy: N/A
Insurance group: N/A
Our choice: 1.6 Ti-VCT
Equipment highlights: Do you have to ask?

Read our full review of the Caterham Seven

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*Prices correct at the time of publication and are all subject to change.