“This is the season for fun convertibles. It was scorching temperatures in my state today, and this weather is making everyone dream of long rides with a breeze blowing by. It may seem like there are plenty of reasons why you shouldn’t buy a convertible, but what if you could score one for less? Read on for the best (and worst) cheap used summer convertibles.
What is the best convertible to drive?
Whether you have big plans for summer beach adventures, a road trip across the country, or just love a good weekend drive, a convertible can be the perfect partner. Choosing the best convertible mainly comes down to personal preference.
Check out three of the best convertibles for the summer, according to the popular YouTube personality The car wizard (CW).
The best used summer convertibles to drive
To find the best small summer cruisers, you need to know what to look for. The new BMW M4 convertible would be great to drive all season, but you may not have that much money for a car. Fortunately, The Car Wizard offers three great options for a cheap summer convertible.
3. 1999-2007 Toyota MR2
The Car Wizard’s #1 choice for great summer convertibles, a used Toyota MR2 made between 1999 and 2007 offers a lot for the price. This convertible offered a choice of a 5-speed manual transmission or an automated manual, with 140 horsepower and 130 lb-ft of torque. The MR2 can also return up to 30 mpg on the highway. This fun, small convertible offers all the sporty experience without the high fuel costs and is incredibly reliable.
2. 1996-2004 Porsche 986 Boxster
This beautiful car is one of the best used summer convertibles you could find, as well as one of the cheapest Porsches you can buy. CW claims it’s like getting a 911 for a much lower price. There is almost “no difference between the driver’s seat and the front.” The Porsche 986 Boxster offered different six-cylinder engines depending on the year and the specific model. Most of these convertibles can see up to 20-25 mpg on the highway, so they are relatively efficient. Most importantly, the Porsche Boxster offers fantastic handling and plenty of power.
1. 1999-2005 Mazda MX-5 Miata
This is one of the most classic summer convertibles, so I’m not surprised the Miata is on this list. They are very popular, so it’s easy to find parts if you buy one used. They are also relatively reliable and easy to repair. CW admits they aren’t super fast, but the Miata is great in handling – it claims an old Mazda can outrun a Porsche 911. This fun convertible gets 28-30 mpg on the highway, so it’s pretty economical. You may find a used Mazda Miata convertible for $10,000-$15,000, making it one of the best used convertibles under $20,000.
The most used summer convertible to drive in
Regardless of the best time to buy a convertible, there are some small summer cruisers you should avoid year-round. The Car Wizard gave all three cars a hefty “don’t buy” rating. (You may notice that all three of these cars come from the same parent company.)
3. 1998-2006 Audi TT
Without a doubt, a used Audi TT is one of the worst convertibles for the summer, according to The Car Wizard. These cars are not reliable and expensive to repair. The Audi TT is a nice car, but CW points out that the good looks wear out quickly. You are likely to run into bad luck several times in one of these dodgy summer convertibles. You can spend as much to fix a used Audi TT as you paid to buy it.
2. Volkswagen Beetle convertibles from the 60s-70s
These cute and small classic summer convertibles often need extreme repairs. The old technology used in these cars can lead to engine problems in hot weather. Modern gasoline doesn’t work as well in older engines, and 1970s Beetle Convertibles can suffer. The Car Wizard points out that it is difficult to find a mechanic who is familiar with the technique and harder to find one that an owner has taken good care of.
1. 1980s-90s Volkswagen Cabriolet Rabbit Convertible
The Car Wizard claims that the Bosch Jetronic system from the old VW Cabriolet causes a lot of problems for this otherwise cool convertible. The mechanic tells how many of these classic 80s-90s convertibles stood unused for years after they broke down. New owners can expect to drop thousands of dollars in repairs on these cars. CW gives an emphatic “don’t buy” label to vehicles with a Bosch Jetronic system, as it can be difficult to find mechanics to work on them.
The Best Used Convertibles to Buy for Under $30,000
When looking for the most affordable convertible cars, try searching for cars on the Car Wizard’s list of the best summer cruisers. In particular, look for a used Mazda Miata or a used Toyota convertible. The Porsche is spectacular, but it can be hard to find one for under $30,000.
The Nissan 370Z is a great used convertible, but it may be taller than you’d hope.
Used car prices are still sky high right now, so finding a cheap used summer convertible can be difficult, but the rewards will be worth it.
RELATED: Most Reliable Convertibles for Summer According to Consumer Reports