Seven Stylish Summer Convertibles Under $10k

2003 Audi A4 convertible

Well, it’s about that time of year. The time of year when you look up at that puny sunroof adorning your boring sedan and say, “Man, wouldn’t it be nice to have a real convertible?!” Up here in the Northeast, when the temperature rises, the tops drop like clockwork. While many drivers are still using their seat warmers, convertible owners start braving the elements as long as it’s dry and the temperature is north of 45 degrees. For me, seeing someone enjoying their sporty convertible on a chilly spring day sparks a whirlwind of emotions summed up by one word: Jealousy. Because it’s still only spring, I take a semi-sick pleasure in knowing that the happy-go-lucky guy driving his Porsche in front of me is freezing and hope he’s enjoying every breath of road salt not yet washed down the gutter. But I digress.

Are you, too, feeling “convertible envy” but hesitant to give up your daily driver? You don’t have to. Excuses abound for why not to buy a second car, but when talking about a convertible, all bets are off. For this list, we’re looking at 7 stylish summer convertibles available for less than $10k. Let’s take a look at the countdown:

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Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing Destroyed by Mechanic on Test Drive

Wrecked Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing

I once drove my mom’s 1984 Honda Accord into a pole. I was 17. The bumper crumpled a little, but the damage wasn’t easily spotted. Still, I remember being terrified my dad would see it and, to this day, haven’t admitted to him that I caused the damage. (Sorry, Dad!)

Imagine calling the owner of a rare Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing and informing him you’ve just destroyed it. I wouldn’t want to be on either end of that call!

There are only 1,400 of these in existence (or maybe 1,399), and they can sell for almost $2 million each. Wrecking one, especially one that belongs to someone else, would be an incredible stressor in anyone’s day.

Two mechanics in Stuttgart recently took a customer’s Gullwing on a test drive joyride, ran it off the road, rolled it over, and caused over $830,000 in damage.

Then, perhaps even worse, they had to inform the owner.

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Cars Coming Soon: Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive

Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive

With all the coverage of the New York Auto Show this week, one little car has been mostly ignored. In a sea of exciting new debuts, convincing Cadillacs and luscious Land Rovers, coverage of a small but exciting new electric has mostly fallen through the cracks.

People in the United States are not used to small cars from Mercedes-Benz. The smallest offering here has been the C-Class, but our roads are smothered in M-Class SUVs and large, powerful sedans. We have equated MB with big luxury, so smaller cars with a premium price here may be hard for buyers to accept. But with the new CLA-Class on the way, and the coming B-Class EV, things are about to get small.

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With New Odyssey, Honda’s Idea of Innovation Sucks

2014 Honda Odyssey

Okay, maybe that’s a terribly cliche headline to use when a vacuum is the main subject matter of a story. While it’s certainly not a derogatory comment on Honda’s overall ability to innovate, I do have to wonder what’s going on at Honda when the biggest new feature of the 2014 Odyssey is an in-vehicle vacuum.

Now that Honda has mastered the equation of understated comfort, exceptional reliability and dependable resale values, the only place left to go is… well… vacuums. Okay, in truth, Honda could probably stand to update its powertrains, build even more efficient engines, explore turbocharging or diesel options, upgrade its transmissions or, heck, even invest in some shiny new wheels. Instead of all that, though, Honda went with the vacuum.

The industry’s first built-in vacuum, mind you, but still a vacuum.

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Hyundai Quickly Moves Upmarket, Demands Higher Prices

2014 Hyundai Equus

2014 Hyundai Equus

Aside from the headline giving it away, if I asked which automaker is currently at production capacity, sells every car it builds, gets nearly MSRP on each sale and is bringing a salvo of upmarket new vehicles into showrooms, I doubt Hyundai would be the first carmaker to come to mind.

The Korean automaker, though, is putting on a school on how to build cars and market them to a hungry American audience. The business model has evolved from its cheap-price and long-warranty roots to a more upscale, quality-based model.

Two new vehicles represent the new direction of this company, while used models still represent some of the best values available.

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Maserati Ghibli Caught Testing, Will Take on 5 Series, E-Class

2013 Maserati Ghibli

If you can’t get to a Maserati, maybe a Maserati will come to you.

Maserati has always been an aspirational brand, sitting perhaps just beneath Ferrari but above BMW in the hierarchy of automotive royalty. To buy a new Maserati currently takes at least a hundred grand, and you’d have only a couple of choices. Buyers can choose the sexy and powerful GranTurismo sports car or the family-friendly supersedan known as the Quattroporte.

Even top-tier automakers, though, struggle to find a niche to generate profit. For many, the answer is dipping down to lower markets in an attempt to lure more buyers. The sales ploy is easy and often very convincing: Own an exotic car for nearly the price of a mass-market premium car.

The Maserati Ghibli may be next to test the theory of automakers going cheaper to make more money.

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Supercar or Supertuner: How Would You Spend Your Money?

Ruf CTR3

Any regular old Joe with a hundred thousand dollars or so can buy a Porsche 911. Or a host of other super-capable, fast, fun cars that will provide plenty of thrills and second looks from passers by on the streets.

For some people, though, it’s just not enough to buy a car and keep it in the same form as the day it rolled off the factory assembly line. For them, tuning houses will happily make customizations to improve horsepower, speed and design. Well, maybe I shouldn’t include design in that sentence, as certain body kits and other mods don’t always improve the aesthetics of a car… especially one already as perfect as the 911!

There comes a point, though, where spending ungodly amounts of money on tuning just doesn’t make sense considering the caliber of car that could be purchased with the same money. An article at CNN Money highlights some of the top “supertuner” cars, but I’d like to put in my two cents on a few of them. There are just better ways to spend your money!

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Cars Coming Soon: Jaguar’s 550-HP XJR, and an Entry-Level XS

Jaguar XJR, New York

Jaguar XFR

Jaguar’s comeback story has almost reached its climax.

Not long ago, the leaping cat was nearly written off as a has-been. A relic of old Britain, a victim of stodgy design, a casualty of an American car company whose ownership only pushed the nail in deeper.

Today, though, Jag’s future has never looked brighter, as exciting models fill showrooms and announcements of new models keep filling the pages of car blogs. Today, we report on two cars on opposite sides of the Jaguar spectrum.

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Is There Any Prestige Left in Chevrolet?

2014 Chevrolet Impala

2014 Chevrolet Impala: With the right marketing, it could be huge

Name a Chevrolet car, not called Camaro, that buyers would pay $40,000 for the privilege to take home.

Impala? Nope. Malibu? Nice, but not more-than-$30K nice. So why is it that competitors like Toyota and even Hyundai can sell cars for over 30 grand, or even up to 40, while Chevy is forced to move its metal through the use of heavy discounts?

The answer comes down to one word. You might think that word is “quality,” but you’d be wrong.

The word is “marketing.”

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Will a Corvette Wagon Become Reality?

Callaway Corvette Aerowagon

Holy hot sauce, this is weird:

America’s supercar might go super-wagon. Maybe it’s an effort to emulate the Ferrari FF, or maybe it’s just a hair-brained idea to milk the Corvette marketing machine for everything it’s worth, but sports car tuner Callaway has released a few renderings of a design study for a shooting brake version of the C7 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray.

I admit, the pictures look kind of cool. Alluring, even… but a long-roofed ‘Vette wouldn’t offer the amenities of the FF. So without adding the benefit of all-wheel-drive or a V12 engine, why bother?

Well, maybe Callaway has an answer for that question—an answer that could be more affordable than you think.

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