The best convertibles

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6 of the best convertibles to buy for around £2,000

Just because you’re on a small budget, it doesn’t mean you have to choose a dull and sensible car. Stephen Errity from Auto Express magazine shows how sporty, top-down motoring fun can be yours for very little money with his choice of six convertibles for around £2,000.

Of course, if you've a bit more cash to splash, check out our guide on buying a prestige convertible.
Mazda MX-5 (1998–2005 model)
Mazda MX-5 (1998–2005 model)
eBay loves: Fun rear-drive handling
Watch out for: Leaky or damaged roofs

The Mazda MX-5 is beloved by hundreds of thousands of owners worldwide for its great combination of solid Japanese build-quality and an entertaining driving experience inspired by the British roadsters of the 1960s. About the only major thing that goes wrong with these cars is that the convertible roof can become damaged or holed, letting water in if it rains. Replacement roofs are expensive, but servicing, insurance and any necessary spare parts should all be cheap, allowing you to experience proper sports-car thrills without the big bills.
Citroen C3 Pluriel (2003–2010 model)
Citroen C3 Pluriel (2003–2010 model)
eBay loves: Chic styling, room for four
Watch out for: Roof rails have to be stored somewhere when removed

It’s not one for keen drivers, but the Citroen C3 Pluriel brings its own brand of quirky French charm to the affordable convertible class. With the roof in place, you can slide the top back for a panoramic sunroof effect, or you can remove the roof entirely for a total top-down experience. The problem is there’s nowhere to store the removed roof pieces on board, so you have to take the chance you won’t get caught in a shower. On the plus side, the C3 gets Citroen’s usual line-up of sprightly petrol and efficient diesel engines, and unlike the two-seaters mentioned here, will carry four adults in comfort.
Peugeot 206 CC (2001–2007 model)
Peugeot 206 CC (2001–2007 model)
eBay loves: Eager engines make it good to drive
Watch out for: Build quality not great

Peugeot’s 206 hatchback was one of the most popular superminis of the late 90s and early 2000s, and the convertible version was a strong seller, too. It boasts a folding metal roof, so it feels much more like a conventional car when the weather gets bad and you have to put the top up. It was also available with a 2.0-litre petrol engine, giving hot-hatch performance to go with the typically nippy French handling.
Despite being a four-seater, it feels pretty cramped inside and the interior plastics don’t wear their age well. Take the time to look for a cared-for low-mileage car — there are lots available on the second-hand market, so prices are very affordable.
Ford StreetKa (2003–2006 model)
Ford StreetKa (2003–2006 model)
eBay loves: Funky styling and image
Watch out for: Not that fast, only two seats

The standard Ka was already a stylish and fun car that was popular with younger drivers before Ford introduced the shapely drop-top StreetKa in 2003. It gets a 1.6-litre engine that’s more powerful than the regular car’s 1.3-litre and has the same fun handling as the original model, too. It is just a two-seater, though, so school runs are out and the cabin quality is not the best. This car was a big seller nonetheless, so there are lots of great low-mileage examples available for good prices.
Vauxhall Astra Convertible (2001–2005 model)
Vauxhall Astra Convertible ('01–'05)
eBay loves: Well-built and reliable car
Watch out for: Not very sexy or desirable

The Vauxhall Astra Mk4 was one of Britain’s best-selling cars, but it was never known for excitement or desirability. The convertible version, designed by Italian styling house Bertone, goes some way towards rectifying that, although it still looks a little plain next to more eye-catching rivals. It shouldn’t be overlooked, though, as it offers great refinement for a soft-top car and engaging handling. The 1.8-litre petrol was by far the most popular engine option, but you can also get a powerful 2.2-litre if you want more pace.
Renault Megane Convertible (2003–2005 model)
Renault Megane Convertible ('03–'05)
eBay loves: French flair and an all-glass roof
Watch out for: Cramped cabin, electrical problems

Like the Peugeot 206 CC, the convertible Renault Megane features a folding hardtop, although this one is glass, so you get a bright and airy feeling even when it’s too cold to have the roof down. The heavy roof mechanism means the Megane isn’t very light on its feet, but it’s a good cruiser thanks to Renault’s strong 2.0-litre VVT petrol and 1.9-litre dCi diesel engines. This is a four-seater like the Astra, but space is limited inside and you need to watch out for the electrical niggles that can affect all Meganes of this era.
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