There are few things better on a warm summer day than jumping in your car, putting the top down, and burning down the freeway (at a responsible speed). Buying a convertible brand new, however, can be a budget-breaking prospective purchase, leading consumers to turn away from buying their dream car. Not every top-down dream vehicle will cause you to go bankrupt, you just have to know where to look. These are the convertibles that provide the most bang for your buck, whatever your budget!
Fiat 500C – $16,490
Let’s kick things off with a vehicle that only recently came back to the United States — Fiat. The 500C features a top that can slip back about halfway, giving you a micro-sized convertible that refuses to sacrifice the automaker’s Italian design.
The Fiat 500C has enough room for four people and provides just enough power to turn the summer breeze into your best friend. Parking has never been easier when you need to stop for brunch, either.
Smart Fortwo Cabrio – $18,900
While the idea of a Smart Car convertible might not be the most attractive to some, it’s hard to argue with the starting price. Perfect for in-city cruising on a hot day, the Fortwo Cabrio retracts its roof in 13 seconds.
When it was released, this small convertible was praised for its ease of handling compared to its competitors. “The tiny two-door is incredibly easy to maneuver thanks to its impressive 22.8-foot turning circle—5.9 feet better than the previous car and a whopping 12.9 feet better than that of a Honda Civic.”
Volkswagen Beetle Convertible – $24,725
Brand new, the Volkswagen Beetle convertible would have cost you just under $25,000. Now discontinued, you can easily find one cheaper on the used market. A classic design with a topless twist, the Beetle convertible maintains all the class and style of its hardtop sibling while adding a summer breeze.
If there is any knock on the Beetle convertible, it is that the car is underpowered. If all you want is to take a casual drive as the days get warmer, the lack of power shouldn’t be seen as a major setback.
Jeep Wrangler – $23,995
The perfect convertible for anyone looking for an off-road experience, the Jeep Wrangler is here to satisfy your needs. Known for its toughness, now you can traverse the rocky landscape while feeling the wind blow through your hair.
The only off-road convertible with an affordable price tag, the Wrangler not only sets the market, it is the market! Just remember to store this beast in your garage during the winter months to avoid weather damage on the interior.
Mazda MX-5 Miata – $24,915
A classic roadster that never seems to go out of style, the Mazda MX-5 Miata continues to set the convertible standard year in and year out. Originally introduced in 1989, the Miata helped popularize convertible roadsters in the United States and is still one of the most popular and affordable models available to consumers today.
Car and Driver was effusive in its praise of the 2020 model, “for 2020 this automotive icon continues to be the focused sports car we love. Its chassis is playful, its engine is eager to rev, and its standard manual transmission is a joy to use.”
Fiat 124 Spider – $24,995
Looking to expand its repertoire, Fiat turned to Mazda and asked for the blueprints to the Miata to create a roadster of their own. The result was the 124 Spider, an upgraded Fiat convertible with the stylings of a modern classic.
With the skeleton of the Miata at their disposal, the Italian automaker added new sheet metal to the outside, a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, and a few other minor changes. The result was a must-see, and must buy, convertible for the modern consumer.
Mini Cooper Convertible – $25,950
One of the most iconic cars of all time, the only real way to make the Mini Cooper even better was to turn it into a convertible. Available for a surprisingly low $25,950, the Mini Cooper convertible is a stylish car with a can’t-beat price.
The top goes down on this car in just around 18 seconds. After that, you can hit the gas and enjoy reasonable power, easy handling, and one of the most enjoyable rides of the summer.
Ford Mustang – $30,685
Ford’s long-running legend, the Mustang, is also one of the most affordable convertibles on the market, starting at just over $30,000 brand new. For that amount of money, how can you say “no” to the style, power, and legacy of an icon?
If you really want to maximize your Mustang experience, you will have to spend extra. The base model comes with a four-cylinder engine, but can be upgraded to a beefier V6 or V8.
Chevrolet Camaro – $32,900
Like the Mustang, it’s possible to own Chevy’s iconic Camaro convertible at a reasonable price if you don’t mind having an underpowered engine. The base model, which comes in just over $30,000, comes standard with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine.
Paying extra means you can upgrade all the way to a 6.2-liter V8 engine, which will give you the most bang for your buck but will leave a dent in your bank account.
Buick Cascada – $37,065
Not usually a brand known for providing great value prices, Buick surprised the market when they released the Cascada. The automaker was hoping to rebrand their image for a younger generation, and the Cascada was just the car for the mission.
Keeping the car at a reasonable price meant, you guessed it, a four-cylinder engine under the hood. Still, it’s hard to deny the aesthetic beauty of this beast. Just imagine the looks you’ll get cruising down the freeway with the top down.
Audi A3 Cabriolet – $37,600
If you’re looking for the best German engineered convertible at a reasonable price, look no further than the Audi A3 Cabriolet. While the starting price of nearly $38,000 will be too much for some, it’s well worth the cost.
The A3 Cabriolet comes loaded with features along with a wide variety of options. What Car? fell in love with the 2019 model, rating it four out of five stars and praising its smooth ride and spacious interior.
BMW 2-Series Convertible – $38,950
Are you as surprised as we were to see a BMW under $40,000? The 2-Series convertible is a beautiful car. It comes standard with e 2.0-liter twin-turbocharged four-cylinder engine and handling so smooth we thought we were dreaming.
There is one downside. If you tend to be impatient, you won’t like that it takes nearly 30 seconds to lower the top on the 2-Series. On the upside, this process can be done while driving up to 30 miles-per-hour.
Nissan 370Z Roadster – $41,820
The first car on this list over $40,000 isn’t from a luxury brand, but is from Nissan. The 370Z Roadster is a spectacle of engineering as we steer into more expensive territory for the first time.
The reason this car starts with the price it does is that it comes standard with a 3.7-liter V6 engine. Straight out of the dealership you can put the top down, hit the gas, and enjoy one of the most thrilling rides of your life.
Audi TT Roadster – $47,000
If you want to upgrade from the Cabriolet while sticking with the Audi name brand, we recommend the TT Roadster. If you have the room in your budget for it, it’s hard to go wrong with the powerfully sleek convertible.
Coming standard with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, what the TT Roadster lacks in engine size it makes up for with its looks. You’ll fall in love with this car at first sight, and so will everyone you pass on the freeway.
Mercedes SLC Roadster – $47,950
Coming in under $50,000 is the Mercedes SLC Roadster, a fun offering from the iconic German automaker. According to critics, few convertibles offer a better overall package for the price, even if it is still too high for some.
Coming standard with the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, the SLC Roadster can go from zero to sixty in just under six seconds. It comes with a spacious interior and is loaded with the best tech in the industry.
Audi A5 Cabriolet – $49,600
The Audi A5 Cabriolet clocks in just under $50,000, and has a surprising amount of competition. Most of its toughest competitors are more expensive, with the A5 offering a similar package.
The four-seater is fast, and the top can drop at speeds up to 31 miles-per-hour. It’s also one of the most refined cars we’ve featured yet on this list. If this the convertible you want, but the price is too high, look at the secondary market. Convertibles, especially from luxury brands, tend to have high deprecation rates.
BMW 4-Series – $50,3000
If you were unimpressed with the BMW 2-Series and don’t mind spending more on the convertible of your dreams, then the 4-Series is the car for you. It’s bigger, roomier, and just as powerful and easy to drive.
Essentially, this is a slightly larger and more elegant version of the 2-Series. You might not fit into every parking spot you want, but that’s what valet service is for. If you want to find the 4-Series at a more reasonable price, as always, the used market is a great option.
Land Rover Range Rover Evoque Convertible – $52,000
The first big convertible since the Jeep Cherokee, the Range Rover Evoque costs twice as much. It features a beautiful and spacious interior, is packed with technology, and of course, carries the world-famous Land Rover branding.
The engine provides the thrills as you put the top down and head down the road less traveled. That path might be bumpy, but you’ll barely feel it with the Evoque as your disposal.
Porsche 718 Boxster – $57,400
While the Porsche 718 Boxster might be pricey brand new, we promise it can be found on the secondary market for less than half the price. Being a luxury brand, this super sleek convertible will lose a large portion of its value after just three years.
If you don’t mind driving an older model, you’ll be rewarded with one of the best convertibles on the market. How many other convertibles can claim to go from zero to sixty in under five seconds?
Mercedes SLC43 Roadster – $60,300
Don’t let the sticker price fool you, we were able to find an SLC43 Roadster on the used market for around $20,000. The car might be older, but it’s definitely a more palatable price than $60,000.
Most importantly, with Mercedes’ reputation for quality, you won’t be buying a high maintenance machine. To make this beauty burn rubber, Mercedes equipped it with a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 engine and a specially designed sport-tuned suspension.