Consumer Reports: Best Used Convertibles under $20,000

by Gabrielle DeSantis

Summer is here, and with it comes long sunny days. What better way to enjoy those sunny days than in a convertible? Lucky for you, Consumer Reports has put together a list of a few vehicles best suited to making the best of the summer months. Even luckier, $20,000 bucks, way less than the average price of a new car, goes a long way in convertible land.

Consumer Reports pick: Mazda Miata

The new Mazda MX-5 | Gerlach Delissen via Getty Images

Maybe Miata really is always the answer. Consumer Reports ranks the Mazda Miata, also known as the MX-5, highly on all fronts. Small and reliable, it’s hard to go wrong with a drop-top Miata. If a cloth roof and the noise that comes with it aren’t your thing, Mazda has you covered.

The new Miata, which debuted in 2015, also comes as a hard-top convertible called the MX-5 RF. It will add some weight to the light, rear-driven roadster, but there are some upsides too. A solid roof means this little roadster can be driven year-round; though a set of winter tires is probably a solid idea. Get it? Solid? Older Miata’s can be dirt cheap, as low as $5,000. A newer one can run up around $18,000 to $26,000 Regardless, any Miata, new or old is a solid candidate for a summer ride.

Infiniti G series

A blue Infiniti G convertible sits on grass photographed from the front 3/4
The 2011 Infiniti G convertible | Infiniti

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Next up on Consumer Report’s list is the Infiniti G37 convertible. Based on the popular G35 and G37 sedans and coupes, this roadster boasts a sizable V6 motor. Among enthusiasts, the VQ motor found in these cars is somewhat controversial. While incredibly reliable, some have called the noise it makes “trumpety”. Regardless, make sure you’re happy with the sounds this convertible makes before buying because that open top will let in all the noise.

The G37 drop-top also has a much nicer interior than Miata’s of this vintage, and a more solid stereo to boot. It’s also the more practical option over the Miata simply given that the G is much larger in every way compared to the Miata. Just like the Miata, the G can be had with either a manual or automatic transmission. A clean G convertible can be had for around $10,000, slightly cheaper than a newer Miata, but more expensive than an old one.

BMW 2 Series

A silver 2 series convertible drives down a road at sunset photographed from the front 3/4
2015 BMW 2 Series convertible | BMW

As ever, the BMW 2 Series is the most expensive of the bunch. It’s a bit of stretch price-wise, and according to Consumer Reports, clean examples of a 2 Series roadster will run anywhere from $16,000 all the way up to almost $40,000. As such, it’s best to stick to some of the older models. Not that you’ll be sacrificing much in older models. Inside and out, the 2 Series screams luxury, and it will certainly have more creature comforts than the Miata and the G37 convertibles.

No matter your choice, everyone should own a convertible for at least a little while. They’re nearly impossible to beat on a warm summer day, and still hold some degree of practicality. Frankly, the Miata offers the most value as far as convertibles go. Clean examples are plentiful if you know where to look; but regardless of which open-air roadster you choose, you’re sure to have a blast.

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