Spring has arrived and summer is very much upon us, which means convertibles are back on the agenda.
It’s a well known fact that convertible prices rise when the sunnier seasons come around, but savvy buyers can still get their hands on a quality drop-top for a modest budget.
Here are our top five used convertibles for less than £10,000.
The cars you’ll find here have been chosen on their merits achieved in our thorough Which? Car tests and the Which? Car Survey – the biggest of its kind in the UK.
Top five used convertibles
Mazda MX-5, April 1998 – October 2005
Price range: £2,000 – £9,000
It’s no surprise the second generation Mazda MX-5 appears here – it’s widely recognised as the iconic value-for-money drivers’ sports car. It gets an almost universal thumbs up for owner satisfaction in the Which? Car Survey. This is understandable thanks to a strong reliability record, which helps make the MX-5 relatively cheap to run, too. Like all soft-top convertibles, the MX-5 does get marked down for noise inside, and be aware that cars of this generation lack multiple airbags and stability control.
Honda S2000, May 1999 – December 2008
Price range: £5,000 – £23,000
Like the Mazda MX-5, the Honda S2000 receives a glowing reference from owners, thanks to a potent, rev-happy engine, a great drive and excellent reliability. In fact, the Which? Car Survey found the S2000 to be almost bullet-proof, scoring top marks for (its lack of) niggles and faults. Prices are holding quite firm as the discontinuation of the S2000 has made this a potential modern classic. Downsides? Running costs aren’t cheap, and visibility is poor when the roof it up. Also, pre-2006 models didn’t get stability control (VSA in Honda-speak) to help rein in the tail-happy handling.
BMW Z4, June 2003 – May 2009
Price range: £7,000 – £21,000
The BMW Z4 is the choice for many, thanks to great rear-wheel-drive handling and a proper sports car feel. The manual gearbox is heavily praised and build quality and reliability is strong. Stability control comes as standard on all models, and we’d suggest the 2.0-litre petrol is the engine choice to look for. It’s not the ideal car if you have a bad back though – the ride is unrelentingly hard, especially with larger alloy wheels fitted.
Porsche Boxster, November 1996 – November 2004
Price range: £5,500 – £22,000
The Porsche badge is recognised as a mark of exotic, high-priced sports cars and supercars. However, the Boxster breaks this rule, offering the same quality driving experience but at a fraction of the cost. Solid build quality and strong resale values means they’re a great second-hand purchase, but the real reason you’d buy one is the way it drives – and the first generation Boxster ticks all the right boxes with an almost perfect chassis. Just make sure you’re prepared for costly spare parts and insurance…
Audi TT, February 1999 – August 2006
Price range: £3,600 – £14,000
The first generation Audi TT receives mixed reviews in terms of looks and personality. Some glorify its concept-car looks while others now see it as rather passé. The fact is, it isn’t as good to drive as the current Audi TT, but it still has a lot going in its favour. A high-quality interior, strong resale values, loads of equipment, Quattro four-wheel-drive and the DSG semi-automatic gearbox are all available on the original TT. Opt for a higher-powered version if you can afford to, and again, expect high insurance and service costs.
Get more from Which? Car
Magazine: Which? Car magazine is the UK’s only independent car guide (we don’t take ads, so our reviews are totally impartial). The Winter 2011 issue is the first of the new look Which? Car, packed with more new and used car reviews than ever before. We’ve dedicated more pages to in-depth reviews of all the major cars on sale today, helping you to make the most educated decision about buying a new or used car. It’s on sale now, priced at £4.99, available from Sainsbury’s, Tesco, WH Smith, Martin McColl and good independent newsagents.
Email: Stay in touch with all the up-to-date car news, hot deals, latest first drives and reviews posted on our website each week. Sign up to the Which? weekly email to receive our free Friday bulletin.