RAC Cars News


5 Popular Convertibles You Can Buy This Weekend

By raccars Published

Blazing sun is seeing the 2013 British summer heatwave continuing - and the forecast has it lasting for some while yet.

After years of poor summers, suddenly those driving a cabriolet are enjoying all the envious glances as they get to make the most of their sun as they motor.

Some drivers want to get a bit of this action themselves - so will, this weekend, be looking to buy a cabriolet to enjoy the sun while they can.

If you want to join them, you need to act fast. To give yourself the best chance of quickly buying a cabriolet, you should choose a model that is popular and so will be available in the greatest numbers on the used car market. This will also ensure you don't have to travel too far and so can enjoy the sun in your new purchase.

Here, RAC Cars looks at five popular convertibles that are all available in healthy numbers on the used car market - for budgets starting from less than £2500. Read on to see how each stacks up.

Peugeot 206 CC: prices from £2,495

The 206 CC was built between 2000-2007, meaning there’s plenty of choice on the used car market. Prices start from £2,495.

Why it’s a heatwave hero: The cute little Peugeot 206 CC has the novelty of a folding hard-top roof, like that in the Mercedes-Benz SLK. It goes down at the touch of a button to reveal a fully open cabin that’s more like a little roadster than a supermini hatch.

Peugeot sold loads of these over the years; we’d go for the 1.6-litre version but the GTi-engined 2.0-litre shouldn’t disappoint. It still looks neat even more than a decade on, and is a great introduction to convertible motoring.

Mazda MX-5: prices from £3,995

The MX-5 was launched back in 1989. It was replaced by the MkII in 1998 and the MkIII (still the car currently on sale) was launched in 2005.

Why it’s a heatwave hero: The MX-5 is a legend, and simple good fun motoring at its finest. The recipe is fuss free: rear-drive platform, two-seat cabin, fast-collapse soft-top roof, sweet 1.8-litre and 2.0-litre petrol engines.

It really is a joy to drive, made all the more special with the roof down (that’s why you see so many MX-5 drivers enjoying the sunshine at this time of year). Japanese reliability means it’s all backed up with common sense, and with prices for cars on RAC Cars starting at £3,995, it’s hard to see how you can go wrong.

MINI Cabriolet: prices from £4,995

The first generation ‘new MINI’ Convertible was introduced in 2004 and was sold until 2008, before being replaced by the similar-look version that remains on sale.

Why it’s a heatwave hero: The MINI Convertible is an incredibly popular car. A look at the listings on RAC Cars reveals lots of models for sale all round the country, to suit all budgets from £4,995 and up.

Like the Mazda MX-5, it’s hard to go wrong with a MINI. It’s a great car to drive. The roof is a full soft-top and it looks much better with it down, revealing a really satisfying open-air cabin that helps you make the most of the sun. Just don’t look for much practicality – the MINI is about fun, not lugging loads or people.

Vauxhall Astra Convertible: prices from £2,495

There have been several generations of Astra Convertible over the years. The one you’ll pay from £2,495 for is the 2000-2004 model.

Why it’s a heatwave hero: Its budget price is clearly appealing, but while it’s perhaps not the flashiest model here, the Astra Convertible has some key strengths. Four seat space for starters, and well-proven mechanicals, not to mention that fast-retract soft-top lid.

The roof can even be operated by remote control – just hold the buttons on the key-fob to impress bystanders.

BMW 3 series: prices from £5,500

You can buy a classy 2000-2006 model year BMW 3 Series Convertible from £5,500. It will still cut a dash and still oozes premium appeal.

Why it’s a heatwave hero: This is a very classy and desirable car indeed. You don’t need to let on you paid from £5,500 for it, because it looks like it would sell for much more than that, even today.

With great handling, superb engines (some very powerful indeed) and the sort of build quality BMW is famous for, it’s a very appealing overall package that also offers conformable space for four and a decent boot too. Convertible motoring that makes you feel good yet doesn't call for compromises: a very tempting package indeed.

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