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Rob Griffin

Top affordable convertibles for summer


Few things in life can compete with putting your foot down and feeling the wind ruffling your hair – but which convertible will suit you best? Motoring journalist Rob Griffin has some suggestions.

5 of the most affordable summer convertibles

When the sun is shining, thoughts turn to the lure of open-top motoring.

And if you've ever contemplated owning your very own convertible, some models can be more affordable than you might think. 

MGB Roadster

The MGB Roadster

The MGB Roadster (pictured above) is a classic in every sense of the word.

These beautiful machines have graced the roads since the early 1960s and are still as much of a head-turner as they were 50 years ago when they were conceived to replace the MGA.

Although production ceased after 18 years in 1980, there are plenty of these two-door sports cars around thanks to the devotion of an army of dedicated enthusiasts.

Of course, technology and refinement has moved on over the last 30 years but if you’re after a classic take on your sports car experience then the MGB is worth considering.

Expect to pay up to £10,000 for a very good example.

Suits: The older enthusiast – and younger drivers seeking a retro ride.

Mazda MX-5

The Mazda MX-5

The epitome of fun. The cute Mazda MX-5 has actually been around in various forms for the best part of a quarter of a century and every version has been a winner.

Jeremy Clarkson once famously said the only reason he was giving it five stars in a review was “because I can’t give it 14”, insisting that if you were looking for a sports car then the MX-5 was “perfect”.

He certainly had a point as the little car has received lavish praise for its handling and reliability.

Older models can be bought for a few thousand pounds with the latest version setting you back almost £20,000. Whatever you choose it will be money well spent.

Suits: Just about anyone – and any age.

Lotus Elise

The Lotus Elise

It’s certainly not luxurious but the Elise is pure exhilaration.

In fact, this car just screams excitement.

First unveiled in 1995 at the Frankfurt Auto Show and named after the granddaughter of the Lotus chairman, Romano Artioli, the Elise promised 0-60mph in 5.8 seconds - and for less than £20,000.

The latest top-of-the-range Elise with its superb performance, stunning looks and top drawer handling will cost you more than £30,000, although fairly high mileage older models are changing hands for less than £10,000.

Suits: Younger men who love track days.

Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet

The Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet

Okay it might not take your breath away in the same way as the Elise, but Volkswagen’s Golf Cabriolet is worth a look if you’re trying to combine top-down motoring with a dose of practicality as it can comfortably sit four adults.

This will make it particularly appealing to those that want a family car with a bit of a twist.

The fact the roof can be put up inside nine seconds is also a major benefit when you consider how quickly our weather can turn.

You can choose from different versions with the price tags varying from just over £21,000 to almost £28,000.

Suits: Those with families that still crave top-down excitement.

Aston Martin V8 Vantage Roadster

The Aston Martin V8 Vantage Roadster

For those with a bit more cash to spend – and by that we mean at least £100,000 - there’s the stunning Aston Martin V8 Vantage.

This two-seater really is one of the most beautiful cars in the world and it has the performance to match with 0-60mph taking just 4.7 seconds.

It’s sleek, eye-catching and surely one of the best creations to be produced by this marque.

The only thing you can’t do is pack it full of luggage and friends – but why would you want to share the experience?

Suits: The older driver with money to indulge a real passion.


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