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Best used convertible cars: Affordable, open-air cruisers

By: · July 16, 2010

It’s summer and the perfect time of year for an road trip or just a cruise around town. For many motorists, the summer driving is best done with the top down and the wind in your hair.

A convertible may be on many wish lists, but because they are not necessarily practical or wallet-friendly, it may be hard to justify. However, a used convertible can provide all the same virtues at a more attainable price—even affordable enough to be just a seasonal or weekend car.

To help you on the road to open-air driving, below is a list of Consumer Reports recommended used convertibles. These sporty cars have performed well in our road tests, have average or better reliability, and have performed adequately if included in crash tests.

Recommended convertibles
Ranked by reliability

2006-2008 Mazda MX-5 Miata (after 2006 had standard ABS) $14,000-$18,000
2000-2007 Honda S2000 $8,000-$24,000
2003-2007-Lexus SC $20,000-over $30,000
2000-2007 Toyota Camry Solara $4,000-$14,000
2000-2006 BMW Z3, Z4 $8,000-$20,000
2004, 2006, 2008 Nissan 350Z $12,000-$30,000
2000-2002, 2007-2008 Ford Mustang (V6) $4,000-$6,000, $14,000-$16,000
2001, 2005 Porsche 911 $20,000-$24,000, $30,000 and up

If you are looking to buy a used convertible, keep these buying tips in mind.

  • Research features before you buy. Later model year convertibles are more likely to have the latest and greatest safety features, such as stability control and side air bags, and convenience technology such as Bluetooth connectivity.
  • Know how much you can spend and stick to your budget.
  • Test drive and practice putting the top up and down.
  • Shop around dealerships, as well as online sites for private sellers to get the best price.
  • Have a mechanic inspect before you buy.
  • Check your insurance. A convertible can be more expensive to insure, so find out the rates before you fall in love with a sexy drop top.

For Ratings and recommendations on convertible models, see our convertible buying guide.


Next Steps

All Convertible Ratings

Subscribers can view and compare all Convertible Ratings.

Recommended Convertibles

Look at the ones that we chose as the best of the best.

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