Be ready for summer
Convertible cars you can afford

Affordable convertibles to make you feel good

  • Published 03 April 2020
  • 5 minute read
  • By John Redfern

A British summer might not last forever, but driving a convertible can help you feel like it's summer every day. The wind in your hair, the sun (or the heating) on your skin - driving a drop top is the closest thing to being in a car advert. All you need are the empty roads.

Going topless does not need to be expensive, however, as the list of cars below reveals. From the cheap-and-cheerful Citroen C1 to the racy Audi TT Roadster, leasing one of these will keep your monthly costs low and summertime buzz high. Don’t forget the Factor 50. Or a scarf.

Citroen C1 Airscape

More of a giant sunroof, really - but you'll still feel the breezeThe best convertibles - Citroen C1 Airscape Available to lease Lease Now

With a giant fabric sunroof, the C1 Airscape is one of the most affordable ways to experience open-air driving. Although only the centre section of the roof opens, the feel-good factor of driving a convertible remains.

The roof opens electrically, so there’s no need to undo catches or pull levers. Citroen offers eight different exterior colours for the C1, along with three contrasting roof options. Bright interior trim options are also available, so you can make it your own.

All C1s use a 1.0-litre petrol engine. This is fine around town, but might feel underwhelming on the open road. Still, affordable access to a convertible lifestyle is the biggest selling point here.

Or try: Cars that will make you look good in the city

Fiat 500C

Super small, super stylishThe best convertibles - Fiat 500C Available to leaseLease Now

Cute retro styling and a big convertible roof make the Fiat 500C an attractive choice. And low leasing prices mean driving an Italian drop-top is cheaper than you think.

The fabric roof slides back at the push of a button, gathering just behind the heads of the back-seat passengers. Rearward visibility is compromised with the roof down, so picking a model with reversing sensors might be wise.

Being a diminutive city car means the 500C is, naturally, best suited to urban life. And besides, you want as many people as possible to see you living your best life: roof retracted and sunglasses on.

Read our Fiat 500 review

Mini Convertible

Catch some retro raysThe best convertibles - Mini Convertible Available to lease Lease Now

The Mini Convertible is the cheapest car to lease here that offers fully roofless motoring. Drop the top, roll down the windows and drink in all the vitamin D you could possibly need. There’s also the added bonus of distinctive styling, lots of options, and space for two passengers in the rear. They’ll need to be small children, though.

You can also fit more in the Mini’s boot than you might expect. Its interior has real quality and includes standard features like a multimedia touchscreen and keyless start. Mini also fits reversing sensors and a rear-view camera to help with parking.

Engine choices range from the nippy Cooper to the seriously quick John Cooper Works. All Minis tackle corners with aplomb, adding to the overall sense of fun.

Or try: Luxury cars that don't cost the earth

Mazda MX-5

It's even more fun with the top downThe best convertibles - Mazda MX-5Available to lease Lease Now

If your idea of a convertible is a sports car with a long bonnet and two seats, the Mazda MX-5 could be for you. It’s traditional in other ways, too; you need to open and close the roof by hand if you lease an MX-5.

This takes all of about three sconds, though, and the flyweight MX-5 is a joy to drive on open roads. A low seating position ups the sporty factor, even if the cabin is as compact as the diminutive exterior dimensions suggest. It’s also short on storage space inside, and has a tiny boot. 

Still, the MX-5 is well made and Mazda includes equipment like air conditioning and sports seats as standard. You’ll be too busy enjoying the drive to worry about anything else.

Read our Mazda MX-5 review

BMW 2 Series Convertible

Everything that's great about BMW in a small open-air packageThe best convertibles - BMW 2 Series ConvertibleAvailable to leaseLease Now

BMW’s 2 Series has been around for some time, but offers an upmarket feel and is fun to drive. With four seats and a fabric roof that folds away completely, the 2 Series is a practical convertible choice.

Along with the premium BMW badge, all 2 Series Convertibles benefit from LED headlights, 17-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning and rear parking sensors as standard. The roof folds away electrically, but does eat into luggage space when retracted.

Being an older model means lease prices for the 2 Series Convertible are competitive, so you get plenty of car for your cash. BMW offers a range of petrol and diesel engines, all the way up to the powerful M240i version.

Seven showroom secrets they don't want you to know

Mercedes-Benz C-Class Cabriolet

Proper class from this proper convertibleThe best convertibles - Mercedes-Benz C-Class CabrioletAvailable to leaseLease Now

Jumping up the monthly leasing price ladder leads to options like the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Bigger than the other convertible models here, you can carry children in the rear seats with no worries, although adults may complain on longer journeys. 

Folding down the electric fabric roof will eat into boot space, but can drop the roof while driving at up to 31mph. Sat-nav, parking sensors, heated seats and cruise control all come as part of the deal.

A comprehensive range of petrol and diesel engines deliver performance from tame to terrifying, although ride comfort can suffer on sportier versions. Mercedes also offers four-wheel drive versions, should you want added traction for wet and winter conditions.

Or try: Our Mercedes-Benz A-Class review

Audi TT Roadster

A timeless style iconThe best convertibles - Audi TT Roadster Available to lease Lease Now

Although it's getting on in years, the Audi TT Roadster still manages to look sharp on the street. Clean-cut style never goes out of fashion, and if you opted to lease a TT you’d look pretty fashionable, too.

The TT Roadster is strictly a two-seater, but its folding fabric roof has no impact on boot space. A neat interior design sees the air conditioning controls mounted inside the air vents, while Audi’s digital dashboard looks seriously impressive. Sat nav and heated leather seats are also included as standard.

Audi only sells the TT Roadster with petrol engines. Most come with a seven-speed automatic gearbox, and you can opt for Quattro four-wheel drive. Speed freaks can pick the rapid TTS model – or go all-out with the amazing TT RS.

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