Convert Your Thinking

24 Apr Convert Your Thinking

The Best Convertibles You Can Buy For Less Than 30 Grand

We are well and truly out of summer now.
The long evenings and smell of BBQ have gone replaced with cold, wet, wintery conditions and sheer darkness by about 5:30pm.
Although it doesn’t seem like it, now is actually the perfect time to buy yourself a convertible if you are in the market for it because people generally give them away cheaper when the thought of dropping the top during the months to come is equivalent to the thought of crossing the Antarctic in boxer shorts.
So we have put together a shortlist of what we think are the best 3 you can buy for less than thirty grand.

NISSAN 350Z

With its bang for your buck performance and fun the Nissan 350Z is much loved and lusted. It’s big 3.5L V6 gets you to 100 in 5.5 seconds and Japanese performance pedigree ensures aggressive yet comfortable ride and handling.

Why we like it:

Performance, performance did we mention performance? The big naturally aspirated engine is the only thing that you think about when driving this car

Common Issues:

  • Dropping small amounts of oil – regularly check your oil level
  • Premature tire wear – a proper alignment, balance and decent set of tires should fix it
  • Synchro issues in the transmission – check for smoothness of gear changes
  • Always check functionality & condition of the folding roof
  • Check for water leaks & stains on the carpets and in the boot – signs of issues with the roof alignment.

Due to its large engine, the practicality and Japanese racing performance the 350Z makes it one of our favourite convertibles you can own for less than thirty grand.

Performance: 4/5
Handling: 4/5
Reliability: 3.5/5
Looks: 2.5/5
Total: 14/20

MINI COOPER CABRIO S CHILLI

The car that showed the world you didn’t have to have a large car to go fast and the original was a great looking car – the cabrio not so much.

Why we like it:

Great power for a small car makes it a hoot to drive and as long as you don’t look anywhere other than the bonnet it’s got the looks to go with it. The pedigree of cooper S from the past 20 years combined with a conventional six speed manual truly makes this car a great convertible for any occasion.

Common Issues:

  • Check the gear lever for vibrations and a rasping noise from the engine – a new heat shield is required
  • Violent pulling to the left under breaking – a correct 4 wheel alignment should fix it
  • Always check functionality & condition of the folding roof
  • Check for water leaks & stains on the carpets and in the boot – signs of a issues with the roof alignment

While the looks and price may let the Mini down, the joy & exhilaration of owning and driving a Mini cooper S still makes it worthwhile.

Performance: 4/5
Handling: 5/5
Reliability: 5/5
Looks: 2/5
Total: 15/20 

MAZDA MX5

The Mazda MX5 may not be the fastest sports car but its rock solid reliability, dynamic handling, affordability and all round fun lands it in our top 3.

Why we like it:

Despite its stereotype as a weekend car for hairdressers the MX5 is one of the greatest sports cars of all time. It’s got the looks, it’s got the handling, a manual gearbox, rear-wheel-drive – it’s simplistic, beautiful driving at is absolute best. A proper driver’s car.

Common Issues:

  • 100,000kms service – timing belt, water & idle pulley are all due around 100,000kms, check the service history and work it into the purchase price
  • Check for small oil leaks – shouldn’t be an issue if the above item have been replaced
  • Always check functionality & condition of the folding roof
  • Check for water leaks & stains on the carpets and in the boot – signs of issues with the roof alignment

The rock solid reliability, simplistic driving combination and go-kart handling make the Mazda MX5 one of the best sports cars you can own for less than thirty grand.

Performance: 5/5
Handling: 5/5
Reliability: 4/5
Looks: 3.5/5
Total: 17.5/20