Convertibles under $20K? Here's 10 of NZ's best summer cruiser bargains
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Summer’s here and the time is right for driving in the street, with the top down. With sincere apologies for butchering Lionel Ritchie’s song lyrics, there’s no better time to buy and drive a convertible than summer. Actually, come to think of it, with 30 degree temperatures and a light spread of ozone, maybe spring and autumn are the best times.
So perfect, then, to start saving the cents and putting some savings into a mid, early or even late-life crisis and by that convertible you always wanted, grew up with or just plainly need some time to connect with the sky, a baseball cap or sunscreen on a bald spot. Here’s Driven’s guide to our pick of convertibles on a budget that are available for sale right now at driven.co.nz.
To kick off the bunch, we've got a drop-top Mini Cooper S that not look like your standard racy convertible, but packs a punch. This is thanks to the supercharged 1.6-litre engine connected to an old fashion six-speed manual transmission.
As it sits, this bad boy pumps out a respectable 125kW and 220Nm of torque. This is sent through the front wheels, and allows the quirky little convertible to hit 100km/h in 7.1 seconds.
This example currently has 118K kilometres on the clock, and can be had for a touch under $11,000, click here to check it out.
Continuing on the quirky theme, this modern Volkswagen Beetle has been modified with chrome bumpers and vintage wheels to look like a classic Beetle. This might not be everyone's cup of tea, but is certainly a head-turner.
To accompany the bold exterior, the leather upholstery inside is finished in a deep red, which matches the soft top.
As with most modern Beetles, this example has an automatic transmission, which is connected to the 2.0-litre engine up front. Thanks to the 75kW power figure, you won't be winning any races in it, but can cruise all day long.
Listed on Driven currently, this Beetle has 51K kilometres on the clock, and has an $18,490 price tag. Click here to take a look.
Compact, fast, and pricey are the three words that come to mind when Mercedes-Benz's SLK comes up in conversion.
AMG variants of the German-built such as the SLK55s with the 5.4-litre V8 are the most sought after among speed lovers, but come with a hefty price tag.
The example listed on Driven right now is a 2012 SLK 200 with a 1.8-litre turbo, a seven-speed automatic transmission and is priced at $21,495. Click here to view the listing.
Following in the footsteps of the disappointing Z3, the Z4 didn't exactly have big boots to fill, but had to live up to big BMW expectations. It turns out that the Z4 is everything that the Z3 should've been, so everyone was happy.
Offered with a range of engines, the Z4 looks like a traditional roadster, and this one possesses the power to back up those looks. The 3.0-litre six-cylinder upfront pumps out a healthy 194Kw, or enough to hit 100km/h in 5.6 seconds with the six-speed automatic transmission doing its thing.
This example has clocked up 85,000 kilometres over the past eleven years, and can be had for $14,950. Click here to check it out.
Born and bred for California, it even had the orange colour named after a west-coast California Sunset Orange, the 2004 350Z coupe paved the way for the convertible a year later and it’s a looker.
Alongside the looks, the humble 350Z comes with a hefty serving of power from the 3.5-litre V6, which is more than enough to propel you through the turns with the wind in your hair.
In 2005, the Roadster received an engine update which bumped that power figure up to 229kW and 363Nm of torque. Ideally, you'd go for an HR model (2007-2008), but this black example that's listed on our site looks like a good deal with only 37K on the clock for a touch under $20K.
In terms of powerful convertibles within the budget, it's hard to find better bang for your buck than BMW's twin-turbo E93 3 Series.
For a little under $15K, this 2009 335i pairs powerful drop-top motoring with an extremely luxurious interior courtesy of the cream-coloured leather seats and modern entertainment system.
BMW's 3.0-litre twin-turbo N54 is good for around 223kW and 400Nm, which some say is understated thanks to the 5 second 0-100km/h time that can be achieved.
With 94,000 kilometres on the clock, this example looks to be a decent example at $15K, but it'd be worth taking a look at the N54's condition before purchase. Take a look at the listing here.
Admittedly, this particular car is a little over the budget, but we figured that we needed at least one grunty V8-powered convertible in the mix.
This particular car has been imported from the States, is still left-hand drive, and sports a 4.6-litre V8 engine with 223kW and 423Nm of torque.
While it might be tempting to put your foot down with all this power on hand the internet has seen enough Mustang memes to make you have second thoughts.
This bad boy will set you back around $28K, which is still a decent price to pay for a modern shape Mustang. Click here to take a look.
At the other end of the power scale comes Mazda's iconic MX-5 with its small frame, small power figure, and incredible driving dynamics.
After production of the iconic NA ended, Mazda ditched the pop-up lights, and stepped into the new millennium with the same driver-focused philosophy.
While more power was pumped in the 1.8-litre engine, Mazda stayed true to the MX-5's mantra of having "just enough" power without overdoing things.
This 1.6-litre manual-equipped example looks reasonably tidy with 117K on the clock. It's also the cheapest on our list for just under $9K, click here for the listing.
Next up is the third-generation MX-5, that Mazda brought out with a more rounded body, and another boost in power thanks to the 2.0-litre engine.
As you want with any driver-focused car, this NC model comes with a six-speed manual transmission, and a retracting hardtop roof as opposed to the soft-top.
With 119K on the clock, this MX-5 falls well within the $20K budget at just $13,980, which comes with a 3-month warranty. Click here to take a look.
While it's not a traditional convertible, Jeep's iconic Wrangler has a removable roof and makes for an extremely quirky summer cruiser.
The 3.9-litre straight-six engines in these old wagons are known to drink a fair bit, but are extremely robust engines that are known to last.
With only 121K kilometres on the clock, this 21-year-old Wrangler still has a fair bit of life left in it, and will be cruising for years to come.
It fits comfortably within the budget at just $12,000, click here to view it.