Best used convertibles

The Mazda MX-5 is the best used convertible in our Used Car Awards 2018Best used convertible: Mazda MX-5 Mk3

Prices from: £3,295
Our pick: Mazda MX-5 2012 (12) Mk3 2.0i Sport Tech, 47,000 miles, £7,995 

The Mazda MX-5 is Britain’s best-selling two-seater roadster, and although the Mk4 car has moved the game on further still (it’s our best new roadster), you can get almost all of the thrills for a fraction of the bill with a facelifted version of the previous car.

• Best convertibles to buy

Called the NC, this third-generation MX-5 is still a peach and remains true to the car’s original concept. It’s light, compact and is powered by a naturally aspirated four-cylinder petrol engine; we think the 2.0i Sport Tech model is the one to go for.

Early Mk3 MX-5s are incredibly affordable now, with prices starting from as low as £3,295, but we’d go for something a bit fresher. We found a post-facelift 2012 car with 47,000 miles for less than £8,000, which is a bargain thanks to its updated styling and extra kit compared with the pre-facelift model.

The MX-5 is so great to drive thanks to its light weight. The sweet steering, its wonderful manual gearshift and revvy 158bhp 2.0-litre engine make it a car you can enjoy at sensible speeds on public roads, revelling in its balance and poise. Yet it’s a driver’s car you can use every day. Refinement is okay and although it’s cramped inside, comfort isn’t too bad.

That’s helped by the kit on offer in Sport Tech trim, including heated leather seats, a Bose stereo system and cruise control. Heated seats in particular are great for those sunny winter days where you just have to get the roof down, which brings us to the MX-5’s USP.

It was available with a soft or hard-top. While the hard roof adds extra refinement and security, the soft-top is cheaper and just as weatherproof, The manual canvas hood folds down quickly, too, which means you can spend more time enjoying open-top motoring. 

Key details 

On the road: Light weight, fine handling and revvy engine make the MX-5 lots of fun and a best seller. 

Interior: Two-seat cabin is a bit cramped and not too practical, but there’s lots of kit, including handy heated seats.

Finance options

The Mazda MX-5 is car you might buy more with your heart than your head, but you can satisfy both with a finance deal.

Lease costs of £232 a month really aren’t that high for something that’ll bring you so much fun, yet doesn’t sacrifice usability all that much.

Approaching winter is a great time to buy a convertible car, too, because values tend to take a dip.

CommendedAudi A3 Cabriolet Mk2

Prices of the current Audi A3 Cabriolet have dropped to affordable levels. This Mk2 went on sale in 2013 and is more elegant than its predecessor because it uses the saloon’s longer wheelbase. There’s more space inside, while quality and driving dynamics are what you’d expect from Audi.

Left-field choiceSmart Roadster

The sporty Smart Roadster might not be fast, but you can take the roof off and hear the sweet thrum from the 0.7-litre three-cylinder engine. It’s a characterful two-seater that’s an individual choice in this market. The Smart is a great alternative to conventional city cars.

Best used cars to buy – 2018 Used Car Awards winners• Best used city car• Best used executive car• Best used supermini• Best used luxury car• Best used compact family hatchback• Best used MPV• Best used estate car• Best used coupe• Best used family car• Best used convertible• Best used small SUV• Best used sports car• Best used mid-size SUV• Best used hybrid car• Best used large SUV• Best used electric car• Best used compact executive car• Used Car of the Year 2018 Previous: Best used coupes Next: Best used hot hatchbacks

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