If you're interested in taking advantage of the summer's warm weather without losing four-seat practicality, we've assembled the perfect list for you. We've rounded up some our favorite four-seat convertibles, each of which combines top-down driving enjoyment with room for family and friends. We've also capped our budget at $20,000, ensuring each choice is affordable for many of today's car shoppers. And while our list includes several used models, we've made sure to feature certified pre-owned vehicles so that buyers have a long, manufacturer-backed warranty to go along with their new ragtop.
Priced from around $20,000 including destination, FIAT's compact 500 is among the least-expensive four-seat convertibles on the market. While its small interior can turn carrying passengers into a chore, drivers who only occasionally need extra seats will enjoy a brand new ragtop with a standard factory warranty that includes up to four years and 50,000 miles of coverage. And while buyers might want for more power, they will certainly appreciate the 500's miserly four-cylinder engine at the gas pump, thanks to highway fuel economy ratings of up to 38 miles per gallon with the standard 5-speed manual transmission. Drivers are also likely to be impressed with the 500's standard equipment, which includes Bluetooth, cruise control, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, and remote keyless entry - a generous list for a subcompact car.
2011 Ford Mustang
Certified pre-owned versions of the recently redesigned Ford Mustang are easily available for around $20,000 or less, with more than 80 different 2010 and newer models currently listed on AutoTrader.com. While that figure won't buy shoppers a V8-powered Mustang GT, it's enough for a brawny 305-hp 3.7-liter V6 along with generous standard equipment like remote keyless entry, 17-inch alloy wheels and cruise control. Certified pre-owned models will also include Ford's strong warranty, which counts 24-hour roadside assistance, a 172-point inspection, 12-month/12,000-mile comprehensive coverage and a 7-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty among its many benefits.
2008 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
While buyers interested in a four-seat convertible might not think to add the Wrangler Unlimited to their shopping lists, we submit that the rugged SUV is a fantastic choice as roomy convertibles go. In addition to being the only soft top on today's market to include four full-size doors for easy entry and exit, the Wrangler offers generous legroom for rear seat passengers. It's also easily available with a certified pre-owned warranty for around $20,000 or less, as more than 100 different models are currently listed on AutoTrader.com in that price range. And while some of those are two-door Wranglers, we strongly recommend either choice for buyers interested in an open-air vehicle with ample passenger room.
2008 Toyota Solara
While Toyota's comfortable Solara is out of production, well-priced certified pre-owned models are still available at Toyota dealers nationwide. In fact, more than 50 different certified pre-owned 2007 and 2008 Solara convertibles are currently listed on AutoTrader.com for around $20,000 or less - each of which include the automaker's 7-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty and 12 months/12,000 miles of comprehensive coverage. Many of these are upscale Solara SLE models, which include a high-end JBL sound system, automatic climate control, and - in V6 models - leather upholstery with heated front seats. The Solara also offers a smooth ride that wouldn't feel out of place in a luxury car, providing an upscale experience for drivers and three of their closest friends.
2009 Pontiac G6
Despite Pontiac's departure from the U.S. market, the brand's vehicles are still available with a certified pre-owned warranty at many General Motors dealerships nationwide. And if you can live with an outdated model, the sleek G6 offers several praiseworthy attributes. First up are several engine choices, ranging from a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder capable of up to 33 mpg to a brawny 3.6-liter V6 that produces a whopping 252 hp. Inside, the G6 also includes a long list of available equipment like automatic climate control, heated front seats, leather upholstery, and chrome alloy wheels. Icing on the cake are the G6's four usable seats, which make it a practical choice whether rain or shine.
2008 Volkswagen Eos
Volkswagen's stylish Eos hardtop convertible is a great choice for car shoppers interested in a reasonably priced four-seat drop top. In addition to offering comfortable seats large enough to carry four adults in a pinch, the Eos boasts a long list of equipment that includes remote keyless entry, 16-inch alloy wheels, an iPod hookup, and - most importantly - a power hardtop with a novel built-in sunroof. We especially recommend a mid-level Eos Komfort, which adds heated front seats and dual-zone automatic climate control, or an upscale Eos Lux, which includes leather upholstery, rain-sensing wipers and automatic headlights. And while the 2012 Eos is available with a steep base price of nearly $35,000 including destination, a certified pre-owned 2008 model is easy to find for under $20,000.
What it means to you: A new, affordable convertible can be fun for the whole family.