Top ten: secondhand convertibles for under £5000

Top ten: secondhand convertibles for under £5000
Top ten: secondhand convertibles for under £5000

How to pick up a bargain drop top used cabrio

Despite the frequent rain, wind and general chill of British weather, we still love our convertibles. For years, we’ve snapped them up in greater numbers than most of our European brethren, which means there’s no end of choice on the used market too.

Indeed, some of them are now looking like absolute bargains in the secondhand classifieds – but which are the best places to put your money? We can’t guarantee sunshine but we can offer reassurances that these 10 cars will be great places to put your money.

10. Mercedes-Benz SLK

The second-generation Mercedes-Benz SLK was a machine finally as good to drive as it was to look at. The interior was sophisticated, the clever roof was effective and it would cruise nicely all day long. It still wasn’t an all-out sports car, but even this was in keeping with its character.
We spotted: 2005 Mercedes-Benz SLK200 (74,000 miles): £4995

9. Mini Convertible

If you love how the regular Mini handles, you’ll be thrilled by the Mini Convertible – it drives just as well, and even manages to ride the bumps decently. It looks different to anything else on the road, still has the same high-quality Mini interior and even refinement with the roof up is surprisingly good.
We spotted: 2010 Mini One (66,000 miles): £4795

8. Mercedes-Benz CLK

Another classy Merc that turns heads both roof down and up. This four-seater is a classy cruiser, particularly with the tuneful V6 and potent V8 engines, while ride and handling show fine breeding too. You’ll love how quickly the fabric hood goes down and up, particularly when it rains…
We spotted: 2006 Mercedes-Benz CLK200 (78,000 miles): £5000

7. BMW 3 Series Convertible

Like its Mini brand sibling, the BMW 3 Series Convertible is as good to drive as the coupe – indeed, you might even mistake it for the coupe, thanks to its folding hard-top roof. This does add a bit of weight, but the refinement benefits compensate, and BMW offers some very powerful engines with more than enough grunt to offset the mass.
We spotted: 2005 BMW 325Ci (49,000 miles): £4995

6. Toyota MR2

A bona fide mid-engined two-seat roadster, the Toyota MR2 is a blast to drive. It’s light in weight, so its 1.8-litre engine performs well, and the controls feel tremendous. It’s also very well built and extremely reliable. The downside? You don’t get a boot – but so fun is it to drive, you’ll forgive it even that.
We spotted: 2004 Toyota MR2 (40,000 miles): £4995

5. Honda S2000

A classic Honda in the making, this was the firm’s 50th anniversary birthday present to itself. The bespoke-built rear-wheel drive two-seater had an amazing 237bhp 2.0-litre VTEC engine that revved all day long and delivered an incredible engine note, while handling was exciting yet reliability also guaranteed. Be quick, though: prices are now on the up.
We spotted: 2002 Honda S2000 (98,000 miles): £4995

4. Audi TT

The Audi TT remains a very popular car, which has the effect of keeping secondhand prices high. Still, the first-generation car is a modern classic, and its interior still wows – particularly when you can expose it so easily by dropping the roof. At this price, you’re buying the best: you can spend far less if you’re happy with more miles and less pristine condition.
We spotted: 2006 Audi TT 1.8 (45,000 miles): £5000

3. Porsche Boxster

You need to buy carefully, but you can still get a great open-top Porsche for less than £5000. Even the basic Boxster 2.5 is a joy, with thoroughbred handling and a great engine noise, while the build quality shows plenty Germanic integrity. Be sure to get one with a full history though, so you don’t take on any nasty surprises…
We spotted: 2000 Porsche Boxster 2.5 (69,000 miles): £4995

2. BMW Z4

BMW’s alternative to the Porsche Boxster is more of a classic old-school two-seater, with the engine in the front, driving the rear wheels. Styling remains standout and the interior is well stocked, while it’s a joy to drive and a pleasure to own so long as you make all the requisite checks to get a good one.
We spotted: 2006 BMW Z4 2.0 (44,000 miles): £4995

1. Mazda MX-5

Frankly, you really can’t go wrong, buying a Mazda MX-5 at this level. It’s probably the most reliable two-seat convertible out there, and also one of the most fun to drive, and cheapest to own. It has so much going for it, the only question is which one to go for: We’d advise using our £5k budget to get one of the best Mk3 models.
We spotted: MX-5 1.8 (54,000 miles): £4995

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