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:

7. Volkswagen Cabrio

2002 Volkswagen Cabrio

To be honest, if you’re spending anywhere close to $10k on a Cabrio, it better have 25k original miles, have been driven by a celebrity, and come with free gas for the year. If not, then expect to pay an average price just north of $5,500. At that price, the Cabrio is completely justifiable as a second car. Just look at how much fun the guy in the above picture is having—that could be you!

6. Saab 9-3

2005 Saab Aero Convertible

Okay, let’s not get into personal opinions on cost of ownership, the fact that Saab isn’t Swedish anymore, etc. Regardless of where you fall on the divisive “To Saab or not to Saab” question, one thing’s for sure: These little creatures look best in convertible form. As long as you’re prepared for the maintenance costs, the plethora of features and sporty looks of the 9-3 should leave you a happy camper through the summer.

5. Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class or SLK-Class

2000 Mercedes-Benz SLK230
2000 Mercedes-Benz CLK430

Deciding between a CLK and an SLK is tough, and for that reason I’ve sandwiched them together. If you’re looking for more of a roadster that you plan to parallel park on occasion, then go with the SLK. Live in a rainy climate? Even better: The SLK has a retractable hard top. However, if you’re looking for more of a top-down Sunday driver (I’m picturing Miami Beach here), then you’ll want to check out the CLK. Equipped with a V6 or V8 depending on trim, there’s no shortage of power with a CLK. With that power, though, will come hefty bills at the pump, making this the ideal second car.

4. Audi A4 Convertible

2004 Audi A4

I wouldn’t recommend it depending on your local climate and whether or not you have a garage, but this is the one convertible on the list that could potentially replace your daily driver. With the Quattro system powering all 4 wheels, the A4 can take on virtually anything you throw at it. Be sure to check maintenance records, though, because your sub-$10k purchase could easily eclipse that number with things like a timing-belt replacement, clutch, etc.

3. BMW 3 Series 325Ci Convertible

2003 BMW 325Ci

While finding a nice 325Ci Convertible for under $10k might be tough, it’s definitely doable. With classic BMW E46 styling, the 325Ci Convertible can still hang with its successors given its sleek attributes. If you’re lucky enough to find a nice leather interior color combo (mmm, tan), then jump on it!

2. Ford Mustang Convertible

2004 Ford Mustang convertible

Let’s face it, we’ve all wanted a Mustang at one point in time. I can specifically remember asking my parents to rent a Mustang on every family vacation south of Rhode Island. The one time we did rent one was in Nashville, and the temperature was marginally above freezing. For those 3 days, I was that guy in the Porsche mentioned in the first paragraph. I forgive myself, though, because after all, I was 11, and it was a Mustang!

1. Mazda MX-5 Miata

2002 Mazda MX-5 Miata

The Mazda MX-5 is synonymous with summer, and for that reason it reigns supreme on this list. Because of its cult following, finding an MX-5 Miata in great shape might be tough, however they’re definitely out there. If you have to justify the “investment” to a significant other, you can easily point them to ads for early ’90s Miatas going for $5k in great condition with a, “See, I told you these things hold their value!” Once it’s in your possession, neither you nor your fiscally conscious better half will want to relinquish it!

If you had $10k to spend on a summer convertible, which one of these stylish summer rides would you choose? Do you have any additions to this list?


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  1. saw an SLK 280 parked at the beach the other day and I just stared at it…. it was so sexy. It gets my vote, as long as you don’t need to carry a surfboard.

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