When it comes to driving pleasure, sometimes exhilarating performance and poised corner roasting antics are not the easiest perks to take advantage of on the road. However, with sporty rides such as the Mustang, one of Ford’s Convertibles, the MX-5 Miata from Mazda, and even the Mini Cooper Convertible, keeping things “chill” with the top-down, can be just as fun. Sporty convertibles offer a degree of performance potential and the convenience of cover when needed but also allow for an open-air driving experience when so desired. In other words, they can be enjoyed in more ways than one. This makes the idea of an affordable sports convertible really appealing, especially considering which five offer the best value for money.
1. Ford Mustang Convertible
With 310 horsepower under the hood and all its muscle-car attributes to behold, the Ford Mustang Convertible is certainly a raucous ride with undeniable style. Despite its hefty curb weight and compromised chassis rigidity, the Mustang still feels more agile and responsive than its more performance-focused GT counterpart. Furthermore, while ride comfort is usually a compromise to capability, in the Mustangs case, it’s impressively well-balanced, proving more comparable to that of a traditional car. The Mustang in its convertible configuration is offered with an available ten-speed automatic gearbox for optimal levels of driving leisure. At an MSRP of only $32,170, the contemporary Ford Mustang Convertible is the best value for money buy out there.
2. Mazda MX-5 Miata
While the Mazda MX-5 Miata is not the fastest sports car money can buy, it is one of the purest, most engaging, and most enjoyable cars to get behind the steering wheel of. The Miata was designed to be a compact, lightweight, and as unassisted as possible a sports car to deliver the most genuine driving experience a rear-wheel-drive vehicle can. Plus, all that unadulterated fun can be enjoyed with the top-down and for under $30,000! While it is a rather diminutive vehicle and a lot of its cabin interior comprised of low-grade, hard-touch plastics, it is modestly contemporary and undoubtedly one of the most fun-to-drive convertibles around.
3. Chevrolet Camaro Convertible
The latest Chevy Camaro Convertible can be had with either a 275 hp 2.0-liter turbo-four engine, a 335 hp 3.6-liter turbo V6, or a burly 455 hp 6.2-liter V8, either unit comes coupled to a six-speed manual gearbox by default. No other pony car can quite measure up to the Camaro Convertible in terms of its intuitive steering and deftness of feel. Its large size proves to be a bit of an illusion as its cabin, particularly in the back seats, is far from commodious and its 7.3 cubic foot trunk, anything but practical. Nevertheless, the Camaro, when equipped with the V8, is one of the most powerful convertibles available. And though it will carry a sticker price nearing the mid $40k mark, the base model offers all the value at $31,500.
4. Volkswagen Beetle Convertible
Perhaps one of the most recognizable design icons of our time, the Volkswagen Beetle, with its quirky, retro design, and premium luxury ethos, is one of the most famous compact cars ever created. Its front wheels are powered by a peppy 174 hp turbo-four mill that delivers impressive fuel economy figures, too, 26/33/29 mpg on the EPA drive cycles. While the Beetle’s performance capabilities and ride quality can together be best described as only decent, it is arguably one of the most unique looking convertibles around. Its cabin and seats are modern and comfortable as well and considering its starting MSRP of only $25,995, it is well worth the money.
5. Mini Cooper Convertible
It’s all about fun with the Mini Cooper Convertible and its retractable roof only means that fun can be had in the sun and with the wind soaring through your hair. Neither of its twin-turbocharged engines are particularly powerful but they are perfect for boosting this considerably compact and lightweight convertible around town. It is a super playful and personal-packed little cruiser with sharp and responsive steering and exquisitely nimble handling dynamics that together make it incredibly fun-to-drive and easy to drive, too. The base 1.5-liter engine, while peppy, is fuel-efficient, too, delivering 28/36/31 mpg city/highway/combined. At $28,400, it is not one of the most value-rich cars out there, however, it is in a class of its own.
There are some disadvantages to convertibles, however, as with the removal of a fixed roof, the vehicle’s structural rigidity is weakened. This requires that the chassis then receive significant reengineering for added strength which typically results in the vehicle carrying a heavier curb weight. This means no convertible will ever really be as sporty as a coupe or any other sports car with a fixed roof. Cargo capacity is also limited as the vehicle’s trunk room is compromised as a result of the retractable roof. Nevertheless, who buys a convertible only to speed through scenic routes with and carry a lot of things around in?