The forever churning stock of the used car market makes it almost impossible for the average dealership to entirely avoid a situation where supply outweighs demand.
Sometimes this could be due to Government policy (the current downturn in demand for diesel being a prime example), while at others it might be the simple result of newer, fresher models being launched, leaving their predecessors fighting for attention. Or, as is the case today, the unintended oversupply of a particular type of car might come down to something as simple as the changing of the seasons. That’s right folks, it’s time to don those bobble hats and go in search of a convertible.
If you’re sitting there thinking ‘why would anybody buy a convertible in the winter?’, the answer is simple: you’ll save money. This is the time of year, after all, when buyers are on the lookout for cars built to cope with the winter weather, and for most people that definition doesn’t generally include models where the main attraction is the ability to expose yourself to the elements at 70mph.
Don’t, however, think that driving a convertible in winter will involve soggy carpets and even soggier handling. Fact is, drop-tops have improved enormously in the past 20 years, so you can be almost certain of a warm and watertight roof, and a level of performance, ride and handling that is very close to what you’d experience in a fixed-roof car.
With that in mind, here are five great convertibles to snap up during the cold snap, plus don’t forget to read our guide about what to look for when buying a convertible.
Price range: £1,000 to £26,000
When Mazda introduced the little MX-5 back in 1989 it was essentially the Japanese firm reimagining the classic two-seat British roadster. That is a car that is simple, light and fast enough to be fun – only this time without the propensity to go wrong.
Thirty years and four generations of MX-5 later Mazda is yet to put a wheel wrong. So no matter if you spend £500 or £25,000 on a used example, at the core of your purchase will be the same intoxicating blend of sublime rear-wheel-drive handling, peppy engine and rock-solid reliability.
See Mazda MX-5s listed for sale on CarGurus
Price range: £4,000 to £50,000
We were torn here whether to include the Boxster over Porsche’s technically superior 911 Cabriolet. Indeed, we still are. But the fact you can buy a Boxster for less than £5,000 (yes, that’s your very own mid-engine Porsche convertible for LESS THAN THE PRICE OF A DACIA SANDERO) is simply too difficult to ignore.
What a great car the Boxster is too, what with that flat-six engine revving away behind you, the pin-sharp steering feeding messages to the palms of your hands, and a sense of balance to the chassis that is truly first class. You’ll need to do your homework to ensure you buy a good one, but goodness it would be worth it.
See Porsche Boxsters listed for sale on CarGurus
Price range: £14,000-£53,000
Where the MX-5 and Boxster are at the sportier end of the soft-top spectrum, this Jaguar is very much a car built for grand touring. So throw a couple of bags in the boot, sink into those heated leather seats and point the long nose towards the coast.
Not that the XK isn’t fast, mind. Even the base model has a 4.2-litre V8 that’ll whisk you from 0-62mph in just 5.5 seconds, while the later 5.0-litre supercharged XKR-S can do the same in a toupee-troubling 4.2 seconds. What’s more, with the roof down you can enjoy the sound of that glorious engine even more.
See Jaguar XKs listed for sale on CarGurus
Price range: £1,700-£31,000
While the modern-day MINI has been a huge success, it’s easy to overlook this little gem when discussing convertibles. That, however, would be a big mistake, because what this tiny soft-top does is take all that’s great about a MINI (the styling, the personalisation, the handling and more) and throw in a whole heap more glamour courtesy of a folding fabric roof.
This is a proper convertible too, rather than an extended canvas sunroof like with so many other supermini-based soft-tops, plus it retains four seats and a small boot to ensure a moderate level of practicality.
See MINI Convertibles listed for sale on CarGurus
Audi A3 Cabriolet
Price range: £5,000 to £32,000
Think Audi cabriolet and it’s probably the German firm’s TT or R8 that come to mind. However, if you need the extra practicality that comes with having four seats the A3 is hard to beat.
Our price range covers two generations of this impressive car, both of which come with a folding fabric roof. However, it’s the second-generation model, built from 2014 onwards, that is the real star, offering enough space for four to travel in comfort, excellent ride quality, tidy handling and an extremely high quality interior. If you want a convertible without compromises, this is the one to buy.
See Audi A3 Cabriolets listed for sale on CarGurus
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