The best cheap convertible cars 2021

  • When the sun comes out, is it time for an open-top car?
  • Our pick of the best cheap convertible cars for 2021
  • 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? Despite the luxury image, 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.

Manufacturers are making fewer convertibles, 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; if you want cruising ability then a used convertible may be more suitable.

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: £24,055 - £30,170
Lease this car from new
Used price: £10,500 - £29,530
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: £25,915 - £44,080
Used price: £9,675 - £38,850
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

What to read next: 

The best cheap fast cars
The best cheap electric cars
The best small, economical 4x4s

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