It may be summer everywhere else, but here in Vermont, spring is finally upon us! That means it’s time to start shopping for convertibles! Since we only get to use them sparingly, it can be hard to justify the cost of a new one or sometimes even moderately priced used ones. What if you just want an inexpensive one? Obviously, a lovely little Mazda Miata is a great option, but, what if you want something else? Are there good convertibles for less than $10,000 that, like the Miata, and unlike the Toyota Solara or the Chrysler 200, aren’t expensive but also offer a pleasurable driving experience? As a matter of fact, there are several options — and here are the five that would be at the top of my shopping list … after the Miata, of course!
Toyota MR2 Spyder
On paper, this should have been a recipe for massive success: a small, midengine, 2-seater car with rear-wheel drive, a manual transmission, and Toyota reliability. In practice, as best I can tell, 27,941 were sold in North America, whereas Mazda sold 79,254 Miata models over the same time period. So, while it wasn’t exactly a failure, it certainly didn’t appeal to as many folks as you would’ve expected. But, if you’re looking for a good alternative with midengine dynamics and low weight, for less than $10,000, an MR2 Spyder like this one could be for you! It’s for sale in St. Louis with less than 100k miles on it — so, like a Miata, it’s only just getting started. Find a Toyota MR2 Spider for sale
While the Ford Mustang may not follow the same rules as the Miata, it can be a solid choice. Mustang models are reliable and powerful, and they have more room for passengers and cargo. So, if your intended purpose is for road trips, the added room and comfort of the larger Mustang may suit your needs better. However, if you’re looking to attack the Tail of the Dragon with guns blazing, it would benefit greatly from a few suspension modifications. There are a few 2010 V6 convertibles for sale on Autotrader for less than $10,000, but none with a manual transmission. However, this 2008 Mustang GT has three pedals and that glorious V8 sound. Find a Ford Mustang for sale
What if you’re looking for a domestic car that can handle the corners well? Are you out of luck? Nope! Here is a 2008 Saturn Sky with only 70,000 miles on it for $9,995! It’s even the 260 horsepower, turbocharged Redline version, making it an even more exciting and enticing option for those seeking a Miata alternative. Find a Saturn Sky for sale
You could also look to the ultimate driving machine for an alternative. Here’s a 2006 BMW Z4 3.0si with 91,000 miles and a manual that you could have from a BMW dealer for $8,995! This 255-hp straight six is plenty fast, and it’ll be fun to drive as well. Obviously, being a premium car means that the repair bills and frequency will likely be more than the Miata — but, if the 6-cylinder’s sound and the more than modest bump in horsepower is appealing enough, a nice, clean Z4 might be for you! Find a BMW Z4 for sale
If you want a BMW, but you need room for a couple more people without legs, or dogs, a BMW 128i might be a better option. For instance, here’s a 2008 one with a manual and 100k miles for only $7,977. Again, that’s cheap money for a 230-hp, 4-seat convertible that will handle the highway as well as the corners. I don’t necessarily agree with the blue interior accents of this particular car, but sometimes beggars can’t be choosers. Keep in mind, though, that it is still a BMW — so, keep a little money set aside for inevitable repairs.
The even more powerful, twin-turbo 135i can also be found for not a whole lot more — and its 300 hp can be even more appealing. However, a well-documented turbo failure issue would keep me on edge every time I drove it, and probably detract from the driving and ownership experience. For that reason, I left it off the list in favor of its less powerful brother. But, if you’re braver than I am, they are wonderful cars while they’re working! Find a BMW 128i for sale
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