I Need an Affordable Convertible With Back Seats! What Car Should I Buy? (2023)

I Need an Affordable Convertible With Back Seats! What Car Should I Buy? (1)

Paul lives in New York state and has dreamed of owning a convertible for a long time. Now that he’s reached 40 years old, it’s time to make a move. The droptop needs seats for two small kids in the back, and only two pedals on the floor. With a $20,000 budget what car should he buy?

Watch

  • Off
  • English

Ride of Your Life Teaser | Dedrick's Grand Slam

01:46Now playingA Long, Boring Road Trip Made Me Fall in Love With MinivansFriday 4:08PM
01:34Now playingHonda Finally Reveals Specs on the New 2023 Civic Type RFriday 1:36PM
(Video) BEST Convertible Cars You Can Buy Right Now 2021-2022

(Welcome back to What Car Should You Buy? Where we give real people real advice about buying cars. )

Here’s the scenario:

I have wanted to own a convertible my whole life. At 40 years old, I seem to have saved up enough money to do so. I have a wife, who supports this purchase but hates convertibles, and two kids (ages 5 and 8). Two-seaters are out because I need to be able to fit both kids at the same time. This will most likely be an extra car, used primarily for evening runs to the ice cream parlor and weekend errands and activities. I commute to NYC by bus, so if this turned into my daily driver I don’t drive that much. I have only ever owned Honda/Acura cars but since they do not make a convertible that meets my needs, its time to take the plunge and try something new. I would prefer something luxury-ish but I’m flexible. My budget is about $20,000 it also needs to be automatic.

Advertisement

Quick Facts:

Budget: up to $20,000

Daily Driver: Not really

Location: Upstate NY

Wants: Droptop, 4 seats, automatic transmission

Doesn’t want: A manual

Expert 1: Tom McParland — A VQ Victory!

I Need an Affordable Convertible With Back Seats! What Car Should I Buy? (4)

G/O Media may get a commission

I Need an Affordable Convertible With Back Seats! What Car Should I Buy? (5)

Up to 60% off

Wayfair Warehouse Clearout

(Video) What you need to know before buying a convertible | Top10s

Affordable home upgrades
Plenty of eclectic and severely discounted picks are available at Wayfair's Warehouse Clearout sale.

Advertisement

Paul, as a fellow 40-ish-year-old dude, I can understand the desire to start checking off your automotive bucket list while you have the right balance of age and income. I’m not a convertible guy, but that doesn’t mean I can’t recognize a good open-air recommendation.

You mentioned something “luxury-ish,” and you have had good experiences with Japanese brands. I would suggest you target the Infiniti G37 convertible. The VQ series motor has a lot of punch, and these cars are pretty reliable as long as they haven’t been abused. The hardtop configuration is probably a bit more ideal for the winter months and the backseats are usable for your kiddos. With a $20,000 budget, you can find a few decent examples as long as you are willing to travel. Here is one in NJ with about 80,000 miles and you don’t have to spend your whole budget.

Advertisement

Expert 2: Bob Sorokanich — We Must ‘Stang

Advertisement

Paul, I know my colleagues are going to be tempted to steer you toward some 10-year-old European drop-top. Avoid this. Embrace America. Get yourself a damn Mustang convertible.

Because even with an automatic and a giant hole where the chassis-stiffening roof should be, a Mustang is just a fun place to be. And for your budget, you can get a ‘Stang that’s about five years newer and 50,000 miles less abused than anything from The Continent. Check this one out: It’s a 2015 with less than 47,000 miles, in Totowa, NJ. A baby!

Advertisement

(Video) The 10 best convertible cars you can buy now

Now, our 2015 example here does have one accident reported, so you might have to call the dealer and see whether it was a biggie or a not-so-biggie. Or you could just peruse the literal hundreds of listings for convertible Mustangs available an hour’s drive from you. If you don’t mind going back to the fifth-gen Mustang, you’ll find lots of examples with reasonable mileage, priced well within your budget. If you’re not hungry for a manual or a big V8, you’ll have no trouble finding a reasonably priced ‘Stang that lived a pampered life as someone’s weekend car. Drop the top, pop on some Beach Boys, and have a great time.

Expert 3: Erin Marquis — You Deserve a High A5

I Need an Affordable Convertible With Back Seats! What Car Should I Buy? (7)

Advertisement


You seem to be thinking, “Oh this is our fun car for ice cream trips and summer cruising, it probably won’t even see a hint of snow.” This is a common reaction to a desire for a drop top, but I’m here to tell you that becoming the top-down-year-round family on your block should be your aim. This Audi A5 2.0T quattro Premium Plus Cabriolet fits the bill, as it is both functional and full of luxuries. It’s for sale in nearby New Jersey and though it’s a smidge above your price point, you may be able to wrangle the dealer down a tad. If not, consider that additional $1,888 as the price for luxury.

Luxury that includes heated seats and all-wheel drive, turning your summer pleasure cruiser into a year round delight. If it’s not actively snowing or raining, you could (and should) have the top down in all seasons. This example comes with the sport package, which gives you 12-way power front seats and drive style selection with a sports drive calibration that lowers the car 20 mm for more engaging handling. All of that is mated to a 211-hp, 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine and a traditional eight-speed automatic transmission (non-quattros come with a meh CTV). Just because it’s automatic doesn’t mean the drive has to be boring, after all.

Advertisement

Despite being nearly a decade old, this A5 comes with all the bells and whistles you’d find on more modern vehicles. You get all the parking sensors, a back-up camera and Bluetooth as well, which are common now but were very big deals way back in 2013. And with only 60,716 miles on the odometer, you could enjoy this Audi for years to come. I ask you, why not drop the top in brisk winter weather? The kids will love it! And if they don’t, just drive fast enough so you can’t hear the complaining from the back seat. Just the winds of freedom and Christmas music in your ears.

Expert 4: Andy Kalmowitz — Aye, Gagootz! Buy a Cadillac

I Need an Affordable Convertible With Back Seats! What Car Should I Buy? (8)

All the cars listed above are good, but none of them are a Cadillac. None of them have V8s the size of small planets and none of them scream “I LOVE NEW YORK AND ITALIANS” quite like it.

Just look at this masterpiece. It’s perfect, and its got plenty of room for your kids in the back. In fact, it’s so big, the Eldorado could probably fit your kids’ friends as well with room to spare.

(Video) Convertible Car Seats - Pediatrician and OBGYN Parents Review Popular Options

Advertisement

This particular Eldo is consigned to a dealer out on Long Island, so it won’t even be a terribly long trip for you to get it (which you will because it’s perfect.) It’s in fairly good shape considering it was made all the way back in 1973 by people who really didn’t care that much. Hell. its got less than 120,000 miles on the clock. That’s really not too shabby.

No, it doesn’t have any of the modern-day convenience the other cars suggested here have, but it doesn’t matter even a little bit. There truly has never been a car better suited for cruising with the roof down with your family next to you than the Eldorado.

Advertisement

If you don’t buy it, I honestly might. That being said, if you do buy it, you’ll have to start going by Big Paulie. Though if Big Paulie is already taken in your friend group, you’ll have to be Little Paulie.

Expert 5: Kyle Hyatt — Geniuses Choose Saab

I Need an Affordable Convertible With Back Seats! What Car Should I Buy? (9)

Advertisement

Now, while my well-meaning coworkers have thrown out some decidedly reasonable options to solve your convertible conundrum, I have to say that they’re all wrong. That’s because none of them picked the Saab 9-3 convertible. It’s the perfect car for you.

Saab introduced the 9-3 ‘vert in 1998 to the delight of college professors, dentists and well-to-do suburban interior designers everywhere. The model continued through two updates and finished up in 2013. The car was generally available with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine which, in typical Saab fashion, punched above its weight class and could be had with a manual or (more relevant to your interests) an automatic. It’s got a typically quirky-but-quality interior with the ignition switch mounted near the shifter and nice comfy front seats with back seats that can hold actual full-grown humans.

Advertisement

It may seem weird or sketchy to buy a car from a dead brand, but there are still tons of Saab specialists all over the country who can help you keep what is ultimately already a well-built and sensibly engineered car on the road.

The best part is that you can probably pick up two really nice examples of the 9-3 convertible in any of the generations for your $20,000 budget, and they’re still common enough to make finding one nice and easy. Or you can just buy this one in glorious beige on beige with just a hair over 31,000 miles and get ready to enjoy being sunburned — a lot.

Advertisement

(Video) Cheapest New Convertible Cars and SUVs (2022 Edition with Pricing)

Do you want us to help you find a car? Submit your story on our form.

FAQs

What is the cheapest convertible that I can buy? ›

Here are the 10 most affordable new convertibles this year.
  • Audi A5: $50,400.
  • BMW Z4: $49,700.
  • BMW 2 Series: $41,850.
  • Ford Mustang: $32,655.
  • Chevrolet Camaro: $32,495.
  • Jeep Wrangler: $28,315.
  • Mini Convertible: $27,400.
  • Mazda MX-5 Miata: $26,830.
19 Jul 2021

Which is the most reliable convertible car? ›

Mazda MX-5 Miata is the most reliable convertible

Consumer Reports rated the 2021 Miata an overall score of 87, which means it is a reliable and fun pick. The Miata is fun to drive and gets pretty good mileage, but the 2021 model will only fit two drivers.

Which 4 seater convertible is best? ›

TOP 10 BEST FOUR SEATER CONVERTIBLES
  1. MERCEDES-BENZ E-CLASS. ...
  2. AUDI A5. ...
  3. ROLLS-ROYCE DAWN. ...
  4. BENTLEY CONTINENTAL GT. ...
  5. MINI CONVERTIBLE. ...
  6. BMW 4 SERIES. ...
  7. FORD MUSTANG. ...
  8. VOLKSWAGEN BEETLE.
1 Feb 2021

Are soft-top convertibles worth it? ›

A key advantage of a soft-top includes lower cost because the fabric is cheaper than metal and the more complex components found in hardtops. If something goes wrong with a soft-top, it's usually easier and cheaper to fix because the mechanical system isn't as intricate.

What are the cons of having a convertible car? ›

Now come the cons of a convertible:
  • Convertibles are pricey. If you don't want a roof over your head, you're going to have to shell out some extra scratch. ...
  • Security is at risk. ...
  • Expect a noisy driving experience. ...
  • The interior ages quickly.
9 May 2019

What is the life expectancy of a convertible top? ›

1. A properly maintained convertible top lasts an average of 5-7 years.

Do convertible cars cost more to insure? ›

Why do convertibles cost more to insure? A convertible may cost more to insure because of the higher purchase price they carry. In general, vehicles with a high price tag will cost more to repair or replace, so insurers charge more to cover the higher cost of a potential physical damage claim.

Are convertibles losing popularity? ›

As a symbol of leisure and fun, some history's iconic models were convertibles, such as the Chevrolet Corvette and the Ford Mustang. However, convertibles have been steadily losing popularity among car buyers and make up only 0.46% of new car sales in 2021.

Which is better hard or soft top convertible? ›

A hardtop convertible is preferable to a soft top convertible in most situations thanks to the roof's robustness, the additional security it offers, and better sound insulation. However, hardtops do tend to cost more than their soft top counterparts.

What is the average price of a convertible? ›

Refine Your Results Display 5 10 15 per page
Make / ModelMSRPFuel
2021 Audi TT Roadster view 1 trims$53,90023/31 mpg
2021 Chevrolet Corvette view 6 trims$58,900 - $77,85015/27 mpg
2021 Porsche 718 Cayman view 5 trims$59,900 - $100,20016/23 mpg
2021 Jaguar F-TYPE view 8 trims$61,600 - $105,90016/24 mpg
8 more rows

What is the best selling convertible of all time? ›

Ranked: the best-selling convertibles ever made
  • Ford Mustang (291,079) ...
  • Triumph Spitfire (309,340) ...
  • VW Golf Cabrio Mk1 (400,871) ...
  • Chevrolet Corvette (465,819) ...
  • MGB Roadster (513,276) ...
  • BMW 3 Series Convertible (523,446) ...
  • Mazda MX-5 (1.05 million) ...
  • Citroën 2CV (3,872,583)
11 Sept 2022

Does Toyota have a convertible? ›

The new Toyota GR 86 will arrive for the 2022 model year and come with a host of improvements over the outgoing model. It gets a larger 2.4-liter naturally aspirated boxer engine that replaces the 2.0-liter one.
...
Gallery: 2022 Toyota GR 86.
CategoryRenderings
Make/ModelToyota GR86
Body StyleCoupe
6 Apr 2021

What state sells the most convertibles? ›

The top three states for convertible sales are Florida, Arizona and California, with 3.6 percent, 2.8 percent, and 2.7 percent of vehicle sales being convertibles in those states, respectively.
...
What state has the most convertibles?
StateConvertible Share
CA2.7%
NV2.3%
2 more rows

What does driving a convertible say about you? ›

So what does driving a convertible say about you? Driving a convertible says you prioritize having fun over practicality on the road. Driving is an experience rather than a chore, and you would rather drive a nice-looking car than one with superior handling.

Is it worth getting a convertible car? ›

Convertibles are worth it for those who want a completely different driving experience, and particularly for those who live in warm and sunny climates. They look sporty, provide a great sense of speed, and allow the driver to soak up the sun whilst on the road.

Can a convertible soft top go through a car wash? ›

The short answer is YES. Most soft-top convertibles can go through a car wash.

Why convertible cars are not popular? ›

Convertibles are the exact opposite of all that," said Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Kevin Tynan. Sure, convertibles aren't very practical. They're usually heavier, more expensive, slower, less agile, and a bit less safe than their hardtop siblings.

When and why should we buy a convertible car? ›

You will have 360 degrees of viewing as you switch lanes and even parallel park your vehicle like a boss. So if you have some money to spare, the desire to feel the winds of freedom or are looking for a snazzy new drive, then a convertible is the way to go.

Does convertible affect insurance? ›

Key Takeaways

Convertible policies will charge higher premiums than traditional term policies, and total premiums will increase again if and when the conversion is carried out.

Can u take a convertible through a carwash? ›

Most convertibles are safe for automated car washes, according to the car wash industry. Millions of convertibles are washed successfully every day, and they are designed to do so without causing damage to the vehicle.

Does sun damage convertible top? ›

The ultraviolet rays of the sun can do damage to any surface on your vehicle, not the least of which is your convertible top. The sun might make for a nice day to get your car cleaned, but it does not aid in the process. A vehicle should never be washed in direct sunlight.

Do convertibles hold their value? ›

They tend to hold their value better than regular vehicles, and they don't seem to age as badly as sedan and coupe versions of the same model do.

Is it better to store a convertible car with the top up or down? ›

Leave the top up, but crack the windows to promote ventilation and prevent moisture from building up in your interior. Storing your convertible with the top down is a bad idea. Your convertible top may stretch, crack, or rip when you put it up after a very long period of time folded.

Are convertibles high maintenance? ›

They Have High Maintenance

Alongside its high price, owners are not too lucky, as convertible cars require high maintenance and repair costs. The major reason for this is because of the design. They have more body parts that require gentle care.

Can a convertible be a daily driver? ›

Don't worry, the new convertibles are definitely worthy of being daily drivers. For a convertible, they are very quiet with the top up.

Why are convertibles going away? ›

That's down from a recent peak of nearly 320,000 vehicles, or 2% of all new U.S. vehicle sales, in 2006, and roughly 144,200, or 0.8%, in 2015. Reasons for the decline of convertibles include practicality, durability, cost increases, and new panoramic sunroofs and glass tops, according to experts.

Are convertibles cheaper to insure? ›

Insurance companies do not penalise soft-top owners specifically, unless a particular model is prone to theft. "In many cases, a convertible car may cost less to insure than a regular vehicle," said a spokesman for Admiral insurance.

Are convertibles more likely to be stolen? ›

Since soft top convertibles are easier to break into, they are more vulnerable to theft.

What should I look for when buying a convertible car seat? ›

What to Look for in a Convertible Car Seat
  1. Installation features. Having a car seat with enhanced installation features can make installing your car seat quicker and easier. ...
  2. Ease of use. ...
  3. Side impact protection. ...
  4. Comfort features. ...
  5. Dimensions. ...
  6. Height/weight requirements. ...
  7. Britax. ...
  8. Graco.
1 Jan 2022

Which car brand has the most comfortable seats? ›

Here are the top cars—both with the most comfortable seats and roomy interiors:
  • 2019 Nissan Altima.
  • 2019 Toyota Avalon.
  • 2018 Chrysler Pacifica.
  • 2018 Kia Cadenza.
  • 2019 Nissan Rogue.
  • 2019 Chrysler 300.
  • 2018 Lincoln Continental.
  • 2019 Buick LaCrosse.
13 Apr 2020

Do all convertibles leak? ›

A convertible with a roof in good condition will not leak under normal circumstances, particularly if it's a modern vehicle. But it can never be completely watertight, and if the rubber seals between the car and the roof have deteriorated there may be some leakage into the cabin.

Can soft top convertibles drive winter? ›

You should also be careful when using a soft top. Cold weather causes the vinyl or fabric to shrink a bit, so if you try to put the top up before letting it defrost, then it will rip. You want to clear off the top of your car as soon as you can, most convertible tops aren't rated to handle a lot of weight.

What is the point of a soft top? ›

Increased trunk space – Soft tops do not take up any trunk space, giving you more room for your groceries and sports gear. Faster operation – Putting the soft top up and down could not be simpler, and soft tops can deploy in less than 20 seconds. That makes it easier to put the roof up quickly in rainy weather.

What car has the most comfortable seats for long trips? ›

Here are the top cars—both with the most comfortable seats and roomy interiors:
  • 2019 Nissan Altima.
  • 2019 Toyota Avalon.
  • 2018 Chrysler Pacifica.
  • 2018 Kia Cadenza.
  • 2019 Nissan Rogue.
  • 2019 Chrysler 300.
  • 2018 Lincoln Continental.
  • 2019 Buick LaCrosse.
13 Apr 2020

Are convertible car seats more comfortable? ›

Convertible car seats usually have more comfort features than infant car seats, as they're intended to be used longer and toddlers are usually pickier about their car seats (and everything else) than they were as babies.

What convertible has the most legroom? ›

Here are the top ten roomiest convertibles, according to my formula, and not accounting for price:
  • Chevrolet Camaro.
  • Ford Mustang.
  • Jaguar F-Type.
  • Mercedes-Benz SL-Class.
  • Chevrolet Corvette.
  • BMW 6 Series.
  • McLaren 650S Spider.
  • Nissan 370Z Roadster.
14 Sept 2016

What does driving a convertible say about you? ›

So what does driving a convertible say about you? Driving a convertible says you prioritize having fun over practicality on the road. Driving is an experience rather than a chore, and you would rather drive a nice-looking car than one with superior handling.

Are convertibles losing popularity? ›

As a symbol of leisure and fun, some history's iconic models were convertibles, such as the Chevrolet Corvette and the Ford Mustang. However, convertibles have been steadily losing popularity among car buyers and make up only 0.46% of new car sales in 2021.

What is the most comfortable car for the elderly? ›

5 Of The Best Cars For Seniors
  1. Honda Jazz. The Honda Jazz is one of the most popular senior cars, with Honda itself revealing that 61 is the average age of Jazz owners. ...
  2. Kia Soul. ...
  3. Toyota Yaris. ...
  4. Lexus UX. ...
  5. Volkswagen Polo.
19 Apr 2022

What car has the smoothest and quietest ride? ›

The vehicle has several features that contribute to its noise reduction and luxury feel, according to WheelScene.
  • 2019 Ram 1500. ...
  • 2020 Lincoln Navigator. ...
  • 2019 Honda Odyssey. ...
  • 2019 Mercedes-Benz S-Class. ...
  • 2020 Chevrolet Traverse. ...
  • 2019 Honda CR-V. ...
  • 2020 Buick Enclave. ...
  • 2019 Mercedes-Benz E-Class.
13 Apr 2020

Which car has a large comfortable and luxurious car? ›

The Best Luxury cars in India include Mercedes-Benz GLA (Rs. 44.90 Lakh), Volvo XC90 (Rs. 93.90 Lakh), BMW X5 (Rs. 79.90 Lakh), Rolls-Royce Ghost (Rs.

What are the disadvantages of convertible cars? ›

Now come the cons of a convertible:
  • Convertibles are pricey. If you don't want a roof over your head, you're going to have to shell out some extra scratch. ...
  • Security is at risk. ...
  • Expect a noisy driving experience. ...
  • The interior ages quickly.
9 May 2019

What should I look for when buying a convertible car seat? ›

What to Look for in a Convertible Car Seat
  1. Installation features. Having a car seat with enhanced installation features can make installing your car seat quicker and easier. ...
  2. Ease of use. ...
  3. Side impact protection. ...
  4. Comfort features. ...
  5. Dimensions. ...
  6. Height/weight requirements. ...
  7. Britax. ...
  8. Graco.
1 Jan 2022

Which convertible car seat is safest? ›

The safest Car Seat in 2022 is:
  • Britax Marathon ClickTight – The Safest Convertible Car Seat.
  • Diono Radian 3RXT – The Safes 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat.
  • Graco Extend2Fit – The Safest 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat.
  • Britax Boulevard – Safest and Best Value Convertible Car Seat.
  • Graco Slimfit – Safest Narrow Convertible Car Seat.

What is the best selling convertible of all time? ›

Ranked: the best-selling convertibles ever made
  • Ford Mustang (291,079) ...
  • Triumph Spitfire (309,340) ...
  • VW Golf Cabrio Mk1 (400,871) ...
  • Chevrolet Corvette (465,819) ...
  • MGB Roadster (513,276) ...
  • BMW 3 Series Convertible (523,446) ...
  • Mazda MX-5 (1.05 million) ...
  • Citroën 2CV (3,872,583)
11 Sept 2022

What is better soft top or hard top convertible? ›

Easier to damage – Soft tops are more prone to damage than hard tops. Their soft nature leaves them open to tears and other problems. Less secure – Soft tops are also more prone to breakins, since they are easier to pry loose than hard tops. More road noise – Soft tops allow more road noise to enter the interior cabin.

Which is better hard or soft top convertible? ›

A hardtop convertible is preferable to a soft top convertible in most situations thanks to the roof's robustness, the additional security it offers, and better sound insulation. However, hardtops do tend to cost more than their soft top counterparts.

Videos

1. Best Convertible Cars To Buy 2021
(Auto Interior Time)
2. We Bought Four Cheap Convertibles To See What’s The Best Budget Sports Car! Stud to Dud Ep. 1
(The Fast Lane Car)
3. Best CONVERTIBLE cars 2022: seven top picks!
(cinch)
4. Do I Need An Infant Car Seat? Are Convertible Car Seats Better?
(Kevin Lu)
5. 2020 Mustang Ecoboost Convertible Back Seat Space | Is There Enough Room For Family?
(Red5oh)
6. Should You Buy a JAGUAR XKR Convertible? (2010 5.0 S/C V8)
(High Peak Autos)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Moshe Kshlerin

Last Updated: 02/22/2023

Views: 5453

Rating: 4.7 / 5 (57 voted)

Reviews: 80% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Moshe Kshlerin

Birthday: 1994-01-25

Address: Suite 609 315 Lupita Unions, Ronnieburgh, MI 62697

Phone: +2424755286529

Job: District Education Designer

Hobby: Yoga, Gunsmithing, Singing, 3D printing, Nordic skating, Soapmaking, Juggling

Introduction: My name is Moshe Kshlerin, I am a gleaming, attractive, outstanding, pleasant, delightful, outstanding, famous person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.