convertible-crossroads

7 of the coolest convertibles to drive on your staycation

Stylish rides for under £35,000

Gareth Herincx

Despite the UK's unpredictable weather, we can't get enough of wind-in-your hair motoring and are the second biggest buyers of convertible cars in Europe. Soft-tops may not be as practical as more popular hatchbacks and SUVs, but they offer a liberating and fun driving experience - especially for a staycation. Most convertibles are refined too, with electric roof mechanisms that open and close at the touch of the button - so there's no need to worry about getting caught out by the weather all year round. If you're looking to treat yourself this summer before embarking on a British road trip, we've found seven of the most stylish and affordable convertibles for less than £35,000.

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1. Citroen C1 Airscape

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Strictly speaking, the C1 Airscape isn't a true convertible, but its full-length power-sliding fabric roof is a great way to experience open-air driving on a budget. Ideal for nipping around town, the cute C1 will also put a smile on your face because it's fun to drive and cheap to run with low tax and insurance. Powered by a thrummy little 1.0-litre engine, the C1 can return up to 60mpg.

2. Fiat 500C

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With its retro looks and funky design touches, the evergreen Fiat 500 is still a great small car package. The soft-top version adds fresh air thrills with a fabric roof that folds back electronically at speeds of up to 37mph. Fun to drive and now available with a 1.0-litre mild hybrid engine for extra economy and lower emissions, rear seat space and luggage capacity are modest like most cars on our list. From £15,420.

3. MINI Convertible

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Not only is the MINI the most affordable 'true' convertible on the market, it's also a four-seater meaning more people can enjoy the fun in the sun. With an electric roof that folds down in 18 seconds at speeds of up to 18mph and excellent build quality, the MINI also retains all the qualities of its hatchback sibling, offering driving engagement and quirky design. The entry-level model comes with a smooth 1.5-litre engine which can complete the 0-62mph dash in 8.8 seconds. From £20,630.

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4. Mazda MX-5

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With its winning combination of excellent handling, good looks and value for money, the world's most popular roadster needs no introduction. For the price of a family hatchback you could be experiencing top-down exhilaration and manageable performance courtesy of the MX-5's surprisingly economical 1.5-litre engine which is capable of 0.62mph in 8.3 seconds. It's a strict two-seater though, so interior space is tight, and you'll have to pack sensibly for a weekend away. If you prefer more refinement than a ragtop, then go for the RF, or Retractable Fastback, version (pictured) which features an electrically folding roof. From £23,800.

5. Volkswagen T-Roc Cabriolet

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Billed as "the first crossover cabriolet in the compact class", this soft-top version of the enjoyable T-Roc SUV effectively replaces Volkswagen's Beetle and Golf Cabriolet models. The all-new T-Roc's roof fully opens in just nine seconds, and if it starts to rain, it takes only 11 seconds to get the roof back over your head. The rear seats, which can also fold down for those IKEA shopping trips, are suitable for children and overall refinement is good. The basic 1.0-litre turbo engine is frugal and fine for town, though the more powerful 1.5-litre might be more relaxed on longer journeys. From £27,410.

6. BMW 2 Series Convertible

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If you're looking for the combination of driver engagement, refinement, build quality and prestige, then the BMW 2 Series Convertible should be towards the top of your list. Boasting good looks, superb handling and generous equipment levels, its electric roof can be operated automatically at speeds of up to 30mph. The 2 Series convertible range kicks off with a 1.5-litre (badged 218i SE), but we'd suggested spending a little extra and go for the more powerful 2.0-litre (220i Sport) which can sprint to 62mph in 7.7 seconds. As ever with soft-tops, space is limited in the rear and boot capacity is modest. From £30,220.

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7. Audi TT Roadster

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If it's badge appeal you're looking for, then look no further than the TT Roadster. Offering a winning blend of design, quality, technology and performance, it's one of the classiest convertibles in this price bracket. Beautifully built and boasting Audi’s trademark plush interior, the entry-level model is powered by a 2.0-litre engine mated to a seven-speed S tronic automatic gearbox. Agile and quick, it can sprint to 62mph in just 5.5 seconds, while just 10 seconds are needed to fold the TT's fabric roof into the boot. Fom £34,245.

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