Add to Summer Fun with an Affordable Convertible Car
OK, the weather is warm and it’s the perfect day for a drive. That drive would be a whole lot more fun if you could take the top down and really feel the wind on your face.
What better way to feel the wind and the sun than with a convertible? But you may not want to pay an arm and leg for another car, especially if it is mostly for use on those beautiful afternoons or weekend road trips.
To help you find a fun ride, we’ve put together a short list of affordable convertibles. Now, we realize that affordable is a relative term, but we’re capping out our list for new cars at $35,000. Of course, all these cars can be found used and that is where they can get really affordable (and we’re talking $5,000 and lower affordable).
We hope this list gives a few ideas for a good, cheap convertible automobile.
This classic American car has had convertible options for years, so you may be able to find a good used model for less than the 2021 base price of $32,655. In fact, in doing our research for this article, we found a 1994 Mustang with 130,000 miles for under $9,000.
No matter the year, you can count on this car to accelerate quickly, and go fast. Plus, you can also anticipate seeing a few heads turn as you cruise smoothly past people.
A rival of the Mustang for years (if not decades), this agile car has a slightly lower starting price at $31,700 for a 2021 model. We found a 1998 with 113,000 miles for $8,500, so if you’re looking for used, you certainly have some affordable options out there.
Image copyright The NRMA
This fun little car will certainly make you noticeable. It’s hard to miss the design and certainly offers a quick responsive feel (did you see the movie The Italian Job?) The base price for 2021 is about $27,400 and used ones seem to hold a value. Even a 2013 with 99,000 miles has an asking price near $14,000. However, we did see them priced as low as $5,000.
This stylish convertible is based on the classic roadster look. With a base price of $26,800 for a 2021, it’s cheaper than the Mustang, Camaro and Mini, but it’s not as good for cruising as its counterparts. Still, drive this down the road and people will notice you. We were able to find used ones for as little as $5,000 with a lot in the $7,000 to $9,000 range.
Very similar to the Mazda Miata – the Spider is actually based on the Miata – this classic two-seat sports car is a fun drive. And, with a base price for a 2021 at $26,885, it is comparatively priced with the Miata. However, despite a turbo engine, it is not as responsive nor as fast as the Miata. Used ones can be found in the $15,000 - $20,000 range, although we did see one 1982 model for $8,500.
Image copyright Christopher Ziemnowicz
This mid-size car was made from 1995 to 2010, with the first convertible available in 1996. Overall reviews of this vehicle were less than stellar so that may explain why we found several available for between $4,000 and $6,500 including one for just under $5,000 with only 74,000 miles.
Toyota Camry Solara
Photo copyright Mark Sardella
Few cars have the reputation for quality like a Toyota Camry has. In the late 1990s, Toyota began offering a slightly sportier version of a traditional Camry called the Camry Solara. In 2000, a convertible version of the Solara was introduced. It was manufactured until 2008. This is a good quality car – it is a Camry, after all – and you can find them for anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000.
What’s more fun than tooling around in a “Bug?” We pretty much guarantee that if you head down the road in a convertible Volkswagen Beetle, people will see you. Our family has a car game that we call it out when we see a “Slug-Bug.” The distinctive look of the Beetle is unmistakable. While no longer in production, so many have been made over the years that finding a used one is pretty easy. Pricewise, we found them in the $40,000 range for the 2019 “Final Edition Convertibles” down to under $4,000 for a 2005 model.
Photo credit: Felix Wong CC BY-SA 4.0
This two-seat sports car began in 2006 with production halting a few years later, after GM discontinued the Pontiac division and the closure of the Wilmington, Delaware production facility in 2009. But, in 2006, the Solstice was nominated for the North American Car of the Year and Design of the Year. Similar in style to the Miata and Spider, it is not nearly as well-known, but definitely worth it. You can still find them, and most are under $10,000.
Although not your typical convertible, there is no denying the ability to have the wind on your face with a Wrangler. With the ability to take down the top – and take off the doors – you can certainly have fun with this vehicle. New Wranglers can be a bit pricey (as in $40,000 and up), and even ones that are 5-10 years old can still be close to $25,000, but you can also find older models for under $10,000 and some as low as $3,000.
We hope this gives you a few ideas for making your summer drives a bit more fun. So, take the time to surf the Internet, hit the used car lots and dealerships to see what you can find.
Summer is here and it’s time to take the top down!!
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