You asked for it – so here it is; the Autobytel list of the ten cheapest convertibles for 2015. However, before we get into it, here’s a word of advice. If you’re in the witness protection program, or you’re a—shall we say—less than popular political leader, avoiding convertibles might well be in your best interests. But for the rest of us, few motoring experiences top gliding along your favorite road in mild temperatures with the roof of your car open to the heavens. Driving offers up a whole new set of pleasures when you can both see and smell everywhere you go. OK, we’ll grant you that one stretch of road past the sewage treatment facility might be something of an olfactory challenge. But rolling pretty much anywhere else in one of 2015’s ten cheapest convertibles is almost guaranteed to put a different kind of expression on your face.
10 Cheapest Convertibles for 2015
Smart ForTwo Passion Cabriolet
The least expensive new convertible available in America, the spunky little smart fortwo Passion Cabriolet is also the smallest convertible you’ll find offered for sale in the states these days. We’re told an all-new model is on the horizon, but until it gets here, you’re looking at a 1.0-liter rear mounted three-cylinder engine producing 70 horsepower and 68 ft-lbs of torque; feeding the rear wheels through a five-speed automated manual transmission. With a roof capable of opening only halfway like a sunroof, or completely; the Smart car offers flexibility to go with its park anywhere size, keyless entry, automatic headlights, automatic climate control, heated exterior mirrors, and full power accessories. Options include leather upholstery, heated seats, a surround audio system, navigation, foglights, and daytime running lights. Pricing starts at $17,930.
The next model on our list of the 10 cheapest convertibles for the 2015 model year is the FIAT 500C. Another sexy European at a remarkably low price, the cute little Fiat 500c’s power comes from a 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine with 101 horsepower and 97 ft-lbs of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard, a six-speed automatic is optional. The 500c uses front-wheel drive. Standard features include heated mirrors, air conditioning, full power accessories, Bluetooth handsfree telephony and audio streaming, along with cruise control. Options include alloy wheels, automatic climate control, and satellite radio. Fiat also offers the 500c Abarth with a 160-horsepower turbocharged version of the 1.4 with a five-speed manual transmission. With the automatic, the engine makes 157 horsepower and 183 ft-lbs of torque. Pricing starts at $20,145.
Mazda MX-5 Miata
The world’s best selling roadster is one of the cheapest convertibles you can buy, and has also successfully captured the hearts and minds of driving enthusiasts all over the world. With an all-new Miata coming for the 2016 model year, you could potentially find some even better deals as we go into fall. Power comes from a 167-horsepower 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine with 140 ft-lbs of torque. The rear-wheel drive powertrain uses a five-speed manual transmission as standard equipment. A six-speed automatic is an option, but horsepower output drops to 158. Other standard features include a cloth folding top with a glass roof (a folding hardtop is offered as an option), foglights, air conditioning, full power accessories, and a six-speaker audio system with a CD player. Pricing starts at $23,970.
Volkswagen Beetle Convertible
For many years, the original VW Beetle was the world’s best-selling car; largely because it was both practical and fun to drive. Today, few driving experiences are more enjoyable than tooling along in an open Beetle Convertible on a temperate day. The contemporary version of the Beetle is still rather practical too, boasting a considerably more spacious interior than you might imagine. Standard features include automatic air conditioning, full power accessories, plus Bluetooth handsfree telephony and audio streaming. Power comes from a choice of three turbocharged engines—a 170-horsepower 1.8-liter four, a 210-horsepower 2.0-liter four, or a 150-horsepower 2.0-liter diesel with 236 ft-lbs of torque. The 1.8T gets a five-speed manual or a six-speed automatic; the other two get a six-speed manual or a six-speed automated manual. Pricing starts at $25,595.
MINI Cooper Convertible
Though based on the previous generation of MINI’s Hardtop, the 2015 MINI Cooper Convertible still delivers outstanding driving fun. You’ll also find an eclectic interior treatment with premium materials and the most playful attitude of the cheap convertibless. Standard features include automatic headlights, full power accessories, automatic climate control, and Bluetooth handsfree telephony and audio streaming. The convertible roof can be opened partially like a sunroof, or completely like a full convertible. Power comes from a choice of three engines; starting with a 121-horsepower 1.6-liter four. There is also a turbocharged version of the 1.6 making 181 horsepower and a higher performing version of the engine good for 208 horsepower. The front drive powertrain offers a choice of a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission. Pricing starts at $25,700.
MINI Cooper Roadster
Now in its last year of production, the sporty two-seat MINI Cooper Roadster is easily one of the most personable models among the ten cheapest convertibles. Sharp handling, telepathic steering, and quick acceleration are among its most desirable characteristics. Standard features include automatic headlights, full power accessories, automatic climate control, and Bluetooth handsfree telephony and audio streaming. Nicely bridging the gap between sports car and economy car, power for the MINI Cooper Roadster comes from a choice of three engines – starting with a 121-horsepower 1.6-liter four. There is a turbocharged version of the 1.6 making 181 horsepower; and a higher performing version of the turbocharged engine good for 208 horsepower. The front drive powertrain offers a choice of a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission. Pricing starts at $26,100.
Ford Mustang Convertible
Celebrating its 50th anniversary with an all-new model for 2015; even with all of its mechanical improvements; Ford’s Mustang Convertible still manages to make our list of the ten cheapest convertibles you can buy. Perhaps this is also why it is a favorite of rental car fleets everywhere. We’re talking engines with output ranging from 300 horsepower to 435, including a new turbocharged 2.3-liter inline four-cylinder with 310-horsepower. There’s also an all-new independent rear suspension system fitted for the first time ever to a mainstream production Mustang. The rear drive powertrain is offered with a choice of a six-speed manual, or a six-speed automatic transmission. Standard features include xenon headlights, LED taillights, a limited slip rear differential, keyless entry and ignition, cruise control, and air conditioning. Pricing starts at $29,300.
Chevrolet Camaro Convertible
This alliterative American automobile offering dates back to the 1960s, albeit with a bit of a hiatus between 2002 and 2010. Happily Chevrolet’s engineering department remade the Camaro in its own image (more or less). In fact, the current iteration of the “small, vicious animal that eats Mustangs” is the best Camaro Chevy’s ever offered. Engines for the convertible version of the Camaro range in power from 323 horsepower to 580. For the base model a six-speed manual transmission is standard, while a six-speed automatic can be had as an option. All versions of the car use rear-wheel drive. Standard features include 18-inch wheels, automatic headlights, keyless entry, air conditioning, cruise control, Bluetooth connectivity for handsfree telephony and audio streaming, and GM’s OnStar telematics system. Pricing starts at $32,200.
Audi A3 Cabriolet
Solidly representing the new breed of compact premium cars, the Audi A3 Convertible’s high style positions it as one of the best small convertible cars currently available. You’ll also find a delectable interior treatment along with delightful road manners and a wealth of available luxury features. Audi is known for such matters and the A3 solidly lives up to the reputation of its builder. Standard equipment includes automatic xenon headlights, leather upholstery, automatic wipers and Bluetooth. Power comes from a choice of two turbocharged four-cylinder engines; the 1.8-liter produces 170 horsepower and 200 ft-lbs of torque, while the 2.0-liter makes 220 horsepower and 258 ft-lbs. A six-speed automated manual transmission routes power to the front wheels from the 1.8, and all four wheels with the 2.0. Pricing starts at $35,600.
One of the most innovative convertibles ever, if you’ve meant to go take a look at the Volkswagen Eos but never got around to it, your last opportunity to do so is coming up very rapidly. Currently in its last year of production, the underappreciated Volkswagen Eos is the only one of the ten cheapest convertibles for 2015 to offer a folding hardtop with a sunroof. Further, lest the VW badge adorning the prow and stern of the Eos fools you, be apprised the distinctive four-seater is one generously equipped automobile. The luxurious convertible offers dual-zone climate control with Bluetooth audio streaming and handsfree telephony, as well as navigation, a touchscreen interface, a rear wind blocker, plus heated mirrors and foglights – all as standard equipment. Power comes from a 200-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, while a six-speed automated manual transmission feeds the front wheels. Pricing starts at $36,145.