Twisting and turning down a tree-lined, back road with the sun on your face, and the wind in your hair. We’re talking about convertibles, of course. “I can’t afford one,” you say. We respectfully disagree. I asked Jody Victor® to tell us why.
Jody Victor®: Thanks to our recent economic downturn and ever-rising gas prices, the number of relatively affordable convertibles is down. But a number of models are still available for less than $30,000. Here’s the second half of the article by James Tate of msn.com.
Didn’t expect to see this one, did you? What can we say — it’s a convertible, after all, and at $22,045 it’s less than $30 grand. Besides, you can’t have a list of just seven cars. Despite having grown significantly in girth in its 2007 redesign, this old icon continues to be no less appealing. Its 3.6-liter 285-horsepower V6 engine is years ahead of the previous engine, and the interior can even be called livable now. Naturally, the Wrangler comes standard with 4-wheel drive, which can make your convertible adventures considerably more interesting. As you might expect, the gas mileage is horrible, at just 17 mpg city/21 mpg highway.
Chrysler 200 Convertible
This is the where our list starts to get a little questionable. When eight cars in total meet the criteria, the rundown is less a list of “best,” and more one of “in existence.” A disclaimer having duly been dropped, let’s meet the $26,775 Chrysler 200 Convertible. Its double-overhead-cam 2.4-liter inline 4-cylinder engine, which makes 173 horsepower and returns 20 mpg city/31 mpg highway, is a bit weak. There is a more powerful 6-cylinder option, but it costs five grand more. The premium, in our opinion, isn’t worth it.
Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder
The Eclipse Spyder seats four, looks like a flattened jelly bean and, at $27,999, sports a 2.4-liter inline-4 engine with 162 horsepower. (A V6 option is available, but it costs $32,828, so that’s out of the running.) The inline-4 comes with a 4-speed automatic transmission (those are apparently still made) and manages 20 mpg city/27 mpg highway. On the plus side, you get heated leather seats as standard and a 650-watt Rockford Fosgate stereo that’s pretty rockin’. Also a plus: The power top is down in just 19 seconds.
smart passion cabriolet
Sorry for this recommendation, but for $17,690, you get a very, very small car that has a top speed of 90 mph, goes from zero to 60 mph in 12.8 seconds, and has a 1.0-liter 70-horsepower engine and a 5-speed automated manual transmission that will make you wish you were walking. Now, once you’ve stopped worrying about being run over in traffic, there are a couple of pluses. Because it’s just 98.4 inches long, you can park it practically anywhere. You’ll also get 34 mpg city/38 mpg highway.
Thanks, Jody! We’ll be sure to check these vehicles out!!