Unsurprisingly, sales of convertibles rocket over the summer, when the temperatures are high and owners have the most chance to drop the roof and soak up the sun.
However, buy a convertible now and there should be fewer people queuing up to get their hands on each car – and you get the whole of spring and summer to enjoy folding the roof down.
We’ve rounded up a range of appealing drop tops that can easily be found for under £10,000, which all offer sharp styling and should prove comfortable and enjoyable to drive.
Whether you’re after a practical, relatively family-friendly four-seater, a refined hard top model, a luxurious cruiser or a more sporty two-seater, there are plenty of appealing options in budget.
BMW may have a name for creating sporty machines, but the 3 Series Convertible also proves a sensible option for families, with an adequate amount of room in the cabin and the boot for smaller families. Plus a folding hard top for high refinement levels when the weather isn't playing ball.
With the option of frugal 2.0-litre petrol and diesel motors along with more powerful engines, there are a number of appealing versions to choose from. Opt for the petrol 320i model and you get a good compromise of performance and fuel economy, with this model chalking up 42.8mpg claimed economy, yet being able to sprint to 62mpg in a reasonable 9.1 seconds.
If running costs are more important to you, the Mini Convertible could prove a cheaper choice. This cabriolet packs plenty of retro charm, with its pram-style folding fabric roof, but is also peppy and fun to drive around town.
A mid-spec Cooper model, which has covered less than 40,000 miles, could be yours for safely under £10,000 and returns 49.6mpg – meaning low fuel bills – along with annual road tax of just £130. With this 1.6-litre petrol model under the bonnet, the Mini Cabriolet can accelerate to 62mph in 9.8 seconds.
Those who like the idea of a folding roof, but don’t want the pram-style arrangement of traditional convertibles like the Mini, where the fabric roof piles up at the back of the car and offers less sound and heat insulation than a metal roof when in place, the DS3 Cabrio could be the answer.
With the roof up the DS3 Cabrio offers good visibility and a refined driving experience. However, roll the fabric roof all the way back and you get the wind-in-the-hair feeling – all without the typical expense and extra weight associated with complicated convertible roof mechanisms, as the windows and metal roof edges stay in place.
The smart choice for technophiles – Mercedes SL
If the cost of keeping your car on the road is not a worry for you and you’re after a more upmarket badge, the Mercedes SL is a good value option. For just under £10,000 you could get yourself an SL350 which has covered less than 60,000 miles and feels like a much more expensive machine.
Despite the affordable price tag, this Mercedes boasts a slick folding hard top, a luxurious two-seater cabin and plenty of in-car tech to keep you entertained. Running costs are likely to be substantially higher than the other models in our line up with steep servicing costs and fuel economy of just 24.1mpg, but this powerful machine can waft you up to 62mph in a rapid 7.2 seconds.
The smart choice for sporty handling – Toyota MR2
The MR2 may do without the power of the Mercedes above, but this machine is so lightweight that even its 1.8-litre motor – which puts out a meagre-for-a-sports-car 138bhp – has more than enough muscle to make it a real driver’s car.
The MR2 also does without a proper boot too – the only space on offer is a tiny cubby hold under the bonnet and a little storage behind the seats. However, the reason for this, is that the engine is located behind the driver, to provide a real sports car feel. With the power being sent to the rear wheels and the cabin offering a low-slung driving position, keen drivers should revel in the exhilarating driving experience that the MR2 offers.