That top down, wind in your hair experience is not solely for the financially well off. There are many affordable options to be had on the convertible market. Some are well worth the investment, while others are not worth pinching pennies for the sake of discount luxury. The fifteen convertibles on this list all fall somewhere on the range of the very best to the worst convertibles you can buy from just south of $20,000 to north of $40,000.
Whether you are looking for a sporty model or a luxurious cruiser, you will be able to find a variety of convertibles to suit your specific tastes. Perhaps, you prefer all the bells and whistles over a high performance machine; this comprehensive list will have you covered. Before you make your next trip to the dealership in search of your dream car on a budget, heed the words of this helpful guide on 2014 model convertibles.
15. Audi A5 Cabriolet – $44,500
For the big spenders, this model is worth breaking the bank for. Among the high end convertibles on this list, the A5 Cabriolet is the most spacious, boasting a full back seat. While it is not a traditional convertible, sans a retractable hard top, the cloth top is a small deduction from an otherwise great vehicle. This one is well worth the somewhat hefty price tag.
14. Mercedes Benz SLK 250 – $44,450
Retractable hard top, faux leather interior and manual transmission to boot, and not to mention the provenance of a Mercedes-Benz, this convertible is a luxurious cruiser if there ever was one. At the high end of the price range, the SLK 250 gives you all the finer features of a Mercedes without the astronomical bill to match. If you want to sacrifice all of the special options for a bare minimum model, this one is for you.
13. Audi TT Roadster – $43,795
‘Roadster’ screams take this car out to the most serpentine route you know and let the superior handling do the work for you. However, that is all the Audi TT has to offer. For as fun of a ride as it is, it is not a daily driver, nor is it a weekend cruiser. Boasting a 211 horsepower turbo under the hood, it packs enough of a punch for those who want to let loose behind the wheel. The TT is a sporty model designed for tooling around and impressing your friends, but not much else.
12. Lexus IS 250C – $43,770
Perhaps your passenger is not a fan of the wind swept look. This model comes with the optional wind blocker feature, protecting your co-pilot’s hair do as you throw the hammer down with the IS 250C’s 204 HP engine. While the IS 250 sedan was redesigned for 2014, the C remains essentially unchanged from 2013. This may signal the end of the road for this model, so if you’re interested, buy it while you can.
11. Nissan 370Z Roadster – $42,280
High performance does not equal high quality. There is no denying that the 370Z is a mean machine, but that is all it is, a machine. Little to no trunk space and no back seat at all; it is built for zipping around S curves and not for piling your friends for a weekend road trip. Still, at just over $42,000 it’s hard to argue with the amount of performance you get in this package for enthusiasts looking for a thrill.
10. Volkswagen Eos Komfort – $36,460
The security of a hard top is a premier selling point for the Eos. However, trunk space is sacrificed due to the storage of the hard top. However, take this slight in stride as you let the 200 horses run free as turbocharged thunder takes hold. While it is admittedly on the pricier end of the spectrum for a Volkwagen, there aren’t many better ways for you and three friends to enjoy the open air on a nice summer day.
9. Chevrolet Camaro 1LT – $32,050
Essentially, what you are getting here is a Camaro convertible without the diminished aesthetic or performance. A thousand dollars per horsepower, a 323 HP V-6 engine is well worth the buy. Plus, the back seat is completely intact. Tip of the hat to Chevy’s engineers for not cutting out the back seat for the luxury of a hard top. If you don’t mind sacrificing that V-8 then this reasonably priced Camaro is the convertible for you.
8. Chrysler 200 Touring – $28,945
Safe is the word that comes to mind when the 200 Touring is considered. However, it feels like a senior citizen’s convertible. A wide bodied model that is an easy drive, the 200 Touring is not an exhilarating choice. That is, unless you’re retired, live in Florida and want to be able to cruise to the golf course in style.
7. Ford Mustang V6 – $28,335
Another true muscle car (albeit with a 305 HP, V6 engine), the Mustang is an all-around treat. This American classic is the best looking American made convertible on the market. The only downside is the manual top, which has been claimed to rattle around at higher speeds. For the money, you are receiving a superior muscle car with the added bonus of being able to turn it into a convertible. Not bad for a shade under $30,000.
6. Fiat 500 Abarth Cabrio – $26,895
When is a convertible, not a convertible? The answer is when a gigantic sunroof takes the place of a retractable top. That aspect aside, the ability to drive stick is required to fully enjoy this ride. If fits and starts getting up and down through the gears is a deal breaker, pass on the Abarth Cabrio. However, it is a sporty little foreign model built for being tossed around curves like nobody’s business.
5. Volkswagen Beetle 2.5L Convertible – $25,990
The stigma attached to the ‘Bug’ as a feminine vehicle is being phased out thanks to a sleek redesign. While it is not everyone’s first thought when considering a convertible, the Beetle nails down what it is to be a convertible. The power top can be closed at a moment’s notice, even when traveling at speeds of up to 31 miles per hour. A zippy, turbocharged model, the Beetle is not a “chick car.”
4. MINI Cooper Convertible – $25,945
The four seat model comes with a price tag of $25,945. That is without any extras, which can bump the grand total near $40,000 with all of the add-ons. Forgetting the bells and whistles, it is a compact, fuel efficient convertible. While in this case MINI stands for “minimal”, it’s still win-win for the money.
3. Mazda MX-5 Miata Sport – $24,515
The Miata is another sporty roadster built for hugging every curve of the road. It is perfect for a cruise on the open highway on a sun splashed afternoon. That being said, the rear wheel drive Miata is a seasonal vehicle for northern drivers. Despite this fact, the Miata is one of the premier choices in the convertible market, giving the owner plenty of return (in the form of sheer fun) on their investment.
2. Fiat 500C Pop – $20,495
Like the Abarth Cabrio, the large sunroof replaces the traditional convertible top in the Fiat 500C Pop. However, the roof stops at the top of the trunk, obstructing the driver’s rear view. Plus, the rails stay in place, diminishing the openness factor. Very affordable, but the 500C Pop is not quite a true convertible.
1. Smart ForTwo Passion Cabriolet – $18,680
Green meets luxury with this electric convertible. However, the limited capabilities for this Smart car to be a viable road trip vehicle keep it from being a premier convertible option. The gradual acceleration and its weakness in the aerodynamics department make it an around the block, cruising convertible, better suited for a drive to the park than a journey out of town.