A convertible for your budget
A convertible for your budget

There’s something special about driving down the road when you can feel the breeze ruffling your hair and hear the distinct hum of your car’s engine. If you and your family are cruising down a pretty road with beautiful scenery, it makes it all the better. But even if you are just running errands around town and driving by a freshly cut lawn, being behind the wheel of a convertible is different from driving a regular car.

While it’s true that convertibles do come with a higher price tag than their hardtop counterparts, driving a sporty convertible doesn’t have to be expensive, even if it’s brand-new. Bankrate assessed the convertible-car models currently on sale and chose eight in varying price ranges that will make you smile when you get behind the wheel.

Less than $20,000

2013 Fiat 500c

  • Model: 2013 Fiat 500c
  • Price: $19,500

The 2013 Fiat 500c is one of the most affordable new convertibles on the market. Long popular overseas, the diminutive convertible comes in two models — the Pop and Lounge cabrios. Both are powered by a 101-horsepower 1.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine that gets 31 miles per gallon city and 40 mpg highway.

Both models come standard with air conditioning, power windows, mirrors and locks, remote keyless entry, hands-free mobile device capability, USB/MP3 interface, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls as well as seven air bags, electronic stability control, hill start assist and rear park assist.

Additional features on the 2013 Fiat 500c Lounge, which starts at $22,500, include fog lamps, security alarm system, satellite radio, automatic temperature control and a choice of three colors on the cabrio top.

$20,000 to $25,000

2013 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible

  • Model: 2013 Volkswagen Beetle convertible
  • Price: $24,995

With its recent redesign, the “new” in “New Beetle” has been dropped and a sleeker, more aggressive look has been added.

The 2013 Volkswagen Beetle convertible offers drop-top excitement with a 170-horsepower 2.5-liter engine that gets 21 mpg city and 27 mpg highway. There are five models that come with the 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine, including a ’50s edition that sports classic wheels and harkens back to the iconic car loved by so many more than a half-century ago.

VW Beetle Turbo convertible models start at $28,470 and feature a 200-horsepower 2-liter engine that gets 21 mpg city and 30 mpg highway, while the TDI Clean Diesel models, starting at $27,895, are powered by a 140-horsepower 2-liter diesel engine that gets 28 mpg city and 41 mpg highway. All models come with a power-folding soft top with one-step operation, leatherette seats with heated front seats, air bags, and a 50-50 split-folding rear seat.

$25,000 to $30,000

2013 Ford Mustang V6 Convertible

  • Model: 2013 Ford Mustang V6 convertible
  • Price: $27,200

The iconic muscle car that has been beloved for nearly a half-century is currently available in a whopping 10 models, five of which are convertibles. The most reasonably priced is equipped with a 305-horsepower 3.7-liter V-6 engine that gets 19 mpg city and 29 mpg highway with the six-speed manual transmission and 19 mpg city and 31 mpg highway with the six-speed automatic transmission.

For those who want more power, there’s the Mustang GT convertible, which starts at $35,900 and features a 420-horsepower 5-liter V-8 that gets 15 mpg city and 26 mpg highway with the six-speed manual transmission and 18 mpg city and 25 mpg highway with the six-speed automatic.

To really feel the wind in your hair, opt for the screaming-fast 2013 Ford Shelby GT500, starting at $59,800, which is powered by a 662-horsepower 5.8-liter supercharged V-8 paired with a six-speed manual that gets 15 mpg city and 24 mpg highway.

Standard features on all Mustang convertible models include a tilt steering wheel with speed controls, air conditioning, covered cup holders, locking console with full armrest and storage, air bags, and AdvanceTrac with electronic stability control.

$30,000 to $35,000

2013 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible

  • Model: 2013 Chevrolet Camaro convertible
  • Price: $30,660

After a hiatus, the Chevrolet Camaro convertible returned to cheers from American muscle-car enthusiasts. The convertible version comes in four model options — 1LT, 1SS, 2SS and, ZL1 — and a choice of four powertrains.

The base model features a 323-horsepower 3.6-liter V-6 paired with a six-speed manual transmission that gets 17 mpg city and 28 mpg highway.

There are two SS models. The base SS model, which starts at $38,685, features a 400-horsepower 6.2-liter V-8 with Active Fuel Management and a six-speed automatic transmission that gives it an estimated 16 mpg city and 24 mpg highway. The 2SS model’s 6.2-liter V-8 produces 426 horsepower and still gets the same fuel economy, thanks to the use of a six-speed manual transmission.

Those interested in a high-performance convertible will want to check out the 2013 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 convertible at a $59,545 starting price. It is powered by a 580-horsepower 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 rated at 14 mpg city and 19 mpg highway. All Camaro convertibles are rear-wheel drive with a power folding top and feature a heads-up display, rear park assist, air bags and stability control.

$35,000 to $40,000

2013 BMW 1 Series 128i Convertible

  • Model: 2013 BMW 1 Series 128i convertible
  • Price: $36,900

While it may be the entry-level model in the BMW fleet, the 2013 BMW 1 Series is still loaded with plenty of luxury features.

The BMW 128i convertible is powered by a 230-horsepower 3-liter six-cylinder engine that gets 19 mpg city and 28 mpg highway when equipped with the manual transmission and 18 mpg city and 28 mpg highway with the automatic transmission.

The BMW 135i convertible model, which starts at $44,100, gets its power from a 300-horsepower 3-liter six-cylinder with the M Sport package, while the top-of-the-line BMW 135is, which starts at $47,950, features a 320-horsepower 3-liter six-cylinder with twin turbochargers.

Standard features on all 1 Series convertibles include a fully lined, power-folding automatic soft top with a heated glass rear window and electric defroster, heated dual-power mirrors and windshield washer jets, power front windows with one-touch up/down function, eight-way manual adjustable front seats, cruise control, air bags, and dynamic stability control.

$40,000 to $45,000

2013 Lexus IS C

  • Model: 2013 Lexus IS C
  • Price: $42,610

Lexus and luxury go hand in hand and if you want to add a drop-top to the mix, the 2013 Lexus IS C should be your pick.

The IS C comes in four models and two sizes of engines. The base model, the IS 250 C, is powered by a 204-horsepower 2.5-liter V-6 that gets 21 mpg city and 30 mpg highway, while IS 350 C models, starting at $46,890, get their power from a 306-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6 that gets 19 mpg city and 27 mpg highway.

Both IS 250 C and IS 350 C models come in a base model as well as an F Sport model, which features a sport-tuned suspension, a unique front grille, 18-inch wheels in an exclusive pattern and exclusive body colors.

All 2013 Lexus IS C models come with leather interior including steering wheel and shift knob, 10-way power front seats, remote foldable rear headrests, center console with storage bin, USB, minijack input and accessory power, power door locks, power windows with one-touch open/close, power-adjustable exterior mirrors with defoggers and puddle lamps, dual-zone climate control, six air bags, enhanced driver control in adverse conditions, and stability control.

$45,000 to $50,000

2013 Infiniti G

  • Model: 2013 Infiniti G
  • Price: $47,900

The sporty Infiniti G comes with a long list of standard luxury features. Both models are powered by a 325-horsepower 3.7-liter V-6. The base model G37 convertible pairs the engine with a seven-speed automatic transmission and gets 17 mpg city and 25 mpg highway.

The G37 convertible sport, which starts at $52,750, swaps the automatic transmission for a six-speed manual transmission, which changes the estimated fuel economy to 16 mpg city and 24 mpg highway. The sport model also features sport-tuned steering, sport brakes and 19-inch alloy wheels.

All 2013 Infiniti G convertible models feature a three-piece retractable hardtop, leather seating, aluminum interior trim (except on wheat-colored interior), heated front seats, dual-zone automatic temperature control, an audio system with speed-sensitive volume control, a rearview monitor, air bags, pop-up roll bars if a collision is eminent, vehicle dynamic control and traction control.

$50,000 to $55,000

2013 Chevrolet Corvette

  • Model: 2013 Chevrolet Corvette
  • Price: $54,600

The iconic Corvette is available in five models, each with a wide range of options to suit every taste and budget.

The entry-level model, called simply the Corvette Convertible, is powered by a 430-horsepower 6.2-liter V-8 engine with a short-throw six-speed manual transmission that gets 16 mpg city and 26 mpg highway.

The Corvette Grand Sport convertible, which starts at $59,600, is powered by the same engine with the same fuel economy, while the Z06 at a starting price of $75,600 is powered by a 505-horsepower 7-liter V-8 engine with a short-throw six-speed manual transmission that gets 15 mpg city and 24 mpg highway.

Auto enthusiasts may want to consider the Corvette 427 convertible collector edition, which starts at $75,925 and combines the technology found in the Z06 and ZR1 models in a fully loaded package with features unique to this model, including 19-inch lightweight aluminum wheels and carbon fiber body components.

If money is no object, consider the Corvette ZR1, which starts at $112,600 and is the fastest, most powerful car Chevrolet has ever produced. All Corvette models feature dual-zone climate control, power-heated auto-dimming mirrors, xenon high-intensity discharge headlights, active handling and traction control.

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