Lots of us love a good convertible car, even though many of us live in places where the weather doesn’t allow us to get the top down anywhere near as often as we’d like. But if a convertible is going to be the only car in your household then two seats are probably not going to be enough. There’s no need to worry though as there have been plenty of convertibles with rear seats over the years, so here’s my list of the 10 best 4-seat convertibles to buy used.
Chrysler Sebring Convertible (1996-2010)
Now I’m not putting the Chrysler Sebring in here because it’s a standout model or because they are necessarily the very best 4 seat convertibles. After all, almost every car on the rest of this list will be a better overall car. However, the Sebring has a special allure for me as it was the first convertible I ever got to drive.
It was our first vacation to Florida more than two decades ago and we hired it from Budget, but I have to admit to a little initial disappointment as I had tried to book a Mustang convertible. I wasn’t aware that you didn’t get to book a specific model, and as there wasn’t a Mustang available we had to have a Sebring instead. Even so, it was a very special event in my life and for that reason, I’ll never forget it.
The first Chrysler Sebring convertible was launched in 1996 and there were three generations that were produced until 2010. A third-generation Chrysler Sebring convertible is still a good-looking car and you will find models with soft tops and retractable hardtops. Most used Sebring convertibles will have the puny 2.0-liter engines as they were favored by the hire companies and a lot of the used models for sale will have started life off as rentals.
You can pick up a used Sebring convertible from the early 2000s for as little as a couple of thousand dollars, so it might be worth picking one up and spending a few more dollars restoring it. These can be cheap convertibles you can have fun with during the summer without worrying too much about where you park them.
Ford Mustang Convertible (1965-Present)
If someone asked you to name a four-seat convertible car the first one that would come to mind would probably be the Ford Mustang Convertible, and rightly so because they are definitely among the best 4 seat convertibles to buy used. Ford has been producing convertible versions of the Mustang since 1964 and there are absolutely loads of them out there for sale used.
One of the great things about the Mustang convertible is there are ones out there to suit every budget. With six Mustang generations covering more than five decades, you can pick up anything from a 1990s junker for less than $2,000 to a collectible classic for a quarter of a million, and everything in between.
Fifth-generation models look like pretty reasonable value and they still look the part, especially in the right color and good condition. Once again, there are a lot of ex-rentals out there that can represent good value, but they can also be costly to run if you don’t buy wisely, to begin with. But because there are so many for sale you can walk away from any you don’t like the look of because there will always be plenty more to choose from.
Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet (2003-2019)
Although I wouldn’t be seen dead driving a Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet, it’s easy to see the appeal of this iconic car, especially as you can pick some models up for very reasonable money. Of course, early models in good condition will go for very strong money.
You should be able to find models from the mid-2000s for between $1,800 and $4,000 with reasonable miles, but spending just over $4,000 should get you a pretty decent one if you’re prepared to shop around.
The performance isn’t anything to write home about, but that’s not the point of the Beetle. I’m going to be completely sexist here and suggest it’s probably one for the ladies, but is that a controversial thing to say about a car with a vase on the dash for a flower?
Saab 9-3 Convertible (2000-2012)
This is a particular favorite of mine and it’s one I’ve owned before. I could have included the 900 that came before the 9-3, but I think that are a little too dated to consider among the best 4 seat convertibles today while the 9-3 still looks the part, especially with the roof down.
You’ll find plenty of four and six-cylinder models for sale and you can still pay quite strong money for models with relatively low miles that were produced towards the end of the 9-3’s production run in 2012.
I’d say the best value is to be had with models between the 2004 and 2007 model years. You can get earlier models from around $2,500, but in my experience, you should be looking to pay between $4,500 and $10,000 for a used Saab 9-3 convertible that will last you for many years.
It’s still a great-looking car with the roof down, and you can’t say that for too many cars that have been out of production since 2012. Compare a 2010 Chrysler Sebring convertible against a 2010 Saab 9-3 convertible and I’m confident you’ll agree the Saab is a clear winner.
Audi A5 Cabriolet (2010-Present)
The Audi A5 Cabriolet picks up pretty much where the Saab 9-3 left off, although they were both on sale new for a couple of years before the Saab was discontinued. Because the 2010 model year is as early as these go you’re not going to get a decent model for much less than $7,000.
This is an attractive car that’s aged very well and even an early model can look much younger than it really is if it’s been kept in good condition. The electronics and mechanicals are what you’d expect from a German luxury brand, so pay more today and pay less as you go along because it won’t go wrong anywhere near as often as some of the cheaper ones I’ve covered here so far.
I will still maintain that Audi isn’t quite as prestigious as Mercedes-Benz and BMW, so these Audi A5 convertibles are a better used buy as they won’t cost as much as their BMW and Mercedes equivalents that I’m coming to in a moment.
BMW 3 Series / 4 Series Convertible (1978-Present)
I could write an entire website about the BMW 3 Series convertible that was then rebadged as the 4 Series from 2013 as they’ve been around nearly as long as I have. The 1970s and 1980s models are now becoming seriously collectible, so for a relatively bargain used BMW 3 Series convertible you’ll need to be looking at somewhere between 1998 and about 2004.
Up until then, the BMW 3 Series convertible had always been a soft top, but around 2007 the company went down the folding hardtop route for the 3 Series convertible. These are relatively rare compared to the soft tops and it wasn’t too long before BMW decided to go back to the simpler, lighter and more affordable material roof and ditched the folding hardtops.
Unless you have deep pockets and want a vintage first or second-generation 3 Series convertible, I’d start with the fourth-generation E46 models and newer as the third-generation is a little dated these days. The third-gen models may come into their own and become collectible at some point in the future, but for the time being, I think it’s worth going fourth-generation or newer.
You can find early fourth-gen models for less than $5,000, but you’d probably be safer looking at examples costing at least $6,500 to get something that won’t come back to bite you in the wallet. High-mileage models are not to be completely discounted but insist on an extensive service history if you are going to risk anything with more than 150,000 miles.
Mercedes-Benz C Class Cabriolet (2017-Present)
Even though the Mercedes-Benz C Class has been around since as long ago as 1993, you’ll only find them in cabriolet form from 2014 onwards when the fourth generation was introduced. Even then, cabriolets didn’t make it to the United States until the 2017 model year. Inevitably, this means cheap ones are going to be impossible to find so this is probably in a slightly different price bracket to most of the models mentioned here so far.
Also, the much more affordable versions with smaller engines that Europe gets to buy relatively cheaply have never been offered for sale in America. In Europe, a lot of C Class convertibles will be C200 and C220d models, but the smallest version offered for sale in the US was the C300.
There are plenty of 2017 and 2018 models around for sale from just a touch under $30,000, so a C Class cabriolet bargain isn’t going to be on the agenda for quite some while yet. What I will tell you is that I had a 2018 C Class convertible for a couple of years and it was an absolutely stunning car. I can’t think of anything that I didn’t like about it, but I leased it brand new because there’s no way I could afford to buy a used one!
Mini Cooper Convertible (2005-Present)
If you don’t mind the rear seats being pretty small and you’re also not bothered by how difficult it is for whoever is going back there to get in and out, how about a Mini Cooper convertible for a bit of drop-top summer fun?
Personally, I’ve never been much of a fan, but what you can say about these (relatively) small convertibles is they are seriously reliable and pretty good value for money in the used market.
This has always been one of those cars that gets very expensive very quickly when you start adding the options when they’re new, but it just means the used ones can be great value if you drop on a good one at the right price.
You could pick up a 2005-2007 model from as little as $4,800 to $5,950, but it looks as though the majority of the good ones start from between $7,000 and $8,000. Obviously, you can pay nearly $50k for a late-model John Cooper Works with all the bells and whistles, but I think this is one of those cars you might buy as a second car for a bit of open-top fun rather than as your only car in a household.
Jeep Wrangler (1986-Present)
No matter what your budget is, there’s probably going to be a Jeep Wrangler out there for you someone at the price you can afford. The Wrangler isn’t what you classify as a regular convertible, but how many regular convertibles can be as open to the elements as the Jeep?
The exterior styling is absolutely iconic and you’d have to be a proper Jeep enthusiast to date a Wrangler that’s more than a few years old without looking up the VIN. On top of that, a used Jeep Wrangler is as much fun for its four-wheel-drive off-road capability as it is for its wind-in-the-hair driving experience.
The fact it’s also available in compact two-door and midsize four-door body styles also adds to its appeal and affordability in some cases. If you can think of a vehicle that can offer so much fun for so little money it would be good to know what it is.
Prices start from around $2,400 for something like a 1994 two-door, but the sky really is the limit as far as how high you can go for a high-spec late model. Another part of the appeal of a used Wrangler is the absolute mountain of accessories there are available to make yours your own by customizing it the way you see fit.
Chevrolet Camaro Convertible (1987-Present)
I’m not going to go back to the 1960s with the Camaro convertible as they are now ludicrously expensive collector’s cars these days. After all, if money was no object I’d have included models like the Bentley Continental GT Cabriolet here, but this is a list of the best used models and people who buy used are usually looking to save a few dollars.
You’re going to have to allow at least $6,000 for even a respectable mid-1990s Camaro convertible, and something like a 1992 Camaro RS is going to cost you at least $20k.
There are gems to be had out there, and one that caught my eye when researching this article was a 1997 Camaro Z28 convertible up for sale at just $5, 950. For me, I’d start from the fourth generation from 1993 and go from there. The fourth-generation might not be to everyone’s taste but you can probably say the same about the current model too.
I personally like the current look from the 2011 model year onwards, and you can pick one of these up in reasonable condition from as little as $12,000. However, for that money you’ll be having to put up with a car with around 150k miles on it, so you might want to set your budget a little higher if you’re not on first name terms with your local technician!
Convertible buying advice
If you’re thinking of buying any used 4 seat convertible, whether it’s as your main car or as a second or even third car for a bit of fun, if you want to get it for the best possible price then buy it in the fall or winter. When the weather is bad, dealers will inevitably find it easier to sell AWD SUVs than drop-top coupes and you should be able to drive a harder deal. But when the sun comes up and the days get longer, more and more people will be starting to like the idea of a convertible and you’re not going to get as good a deal when demand is at its highest.
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