Your top 10 hardtop convertibles
Tuesday 10 May 2011
With the help of your Owner Reviews, we’ve compiled this top 10 list of your favourites, as voted for by those who have lived with them on a day-to-day basis.
1. Mazda MX-5 Roadster Coupe (2006 – )
£8,000 – £23,000
Owner Rating: 4.7/5
The evergreen Mazda MX-5 has been a top seller since the first version was introduced in 1989. A clever Roadster Coupe folding hardtop version was introduced alongside the standard soft-top in 2006, adding the security and refinement of a coupe without eating into luggage space or adding weight. It’s the highest rated in our Owner Review section.
This means the core appeal of the MX-5 remains – brilliant handling, top-down fun and everyday practicality. The choice of 1.8- and 2-litre engines offer decent performance mixed with good fuel economy, making it as easy and affordable to live with as a small hatchback.
“Overall, a great car that everyone can – and should – enjoy at some point in their life!” John, Leeds
Read all Mazda MX-5 Roadster Coupe Owner Reviews
2 . Mercedes SLK (2004 – 2011)
The second generation Mercedes SLK attracts one of the highest Owner Review ratings of any hardtop convertible in its class. It’s easy to see why, with an elegant, yet compact body, snug, two-seat cockpit and much sharper handling than its predecessor.
The engine range starts with the reasonably brisk, if slightly rough, supercharged SLK200K, through the V6-powered SLK280 and 350, topping off with the mighty, 355bhp SLK55 AMG.
Most are fitted with an excellent 7-speed automatic gearbox, which is preferable to the manual option.
“The power roof is a work of art and impresses me every time I see it in operation.” Andrew, Bromsgrove
Read all Mercedes SLK Owner Reviews
3. Volkswagen Eos (2006 – )
£8,500 – £32,000
Owner Rating: 4.5/5
Introduced as a more upmarket replacement for the Golf Cabriolet, the Eos is perhaps the most elegant four-seat folding hardtop available. It’s a convincing coupe with the roof in place and features an opening sunroof in its centre panel.
Like all folding hardtops of this size, the Eos is on the heavy side and it’s not quite as sharp to drive as a regular Golf, but the excellent range of engines, including high-tech TSI petrols and TDI diesels as well as a musical but thirsty 3.2-litre V6 make light work of its heft.
And being a Volkswagen, there’s a real sense of quality to its construction.
“A lovely car to drive, smooth, responsive, handles well and most of all is economical.” Alison, Chipping Campden
Read all Volkswagen Eos Owner Reviews
4. Vauxhall Tigra (2004 – 2009)
£4,000 – £11,000
Owner Rating: 4.4/5
Despite being based on the humble Corsa, the Vauxhall Tigra does a decent impression of a sports car, if only in looks. Its styling is sharp-edged yet cute enough to not appear too aggressive, while the optional contrasting roof colour breaks up its bulk.
Inside, it’s rather more mundane, with its dashboard lifted straight out of the 2000 model year Corsa. But, while it might not feel as special as a ‘proper’ sports car, it is well-built and easy to use.
The same goes for the electric roof, which can be raised or lowered in 20 seconds – although one downside is that the boot is also electrically powered and is frustratingly slow. Luggage capacity is huge with the roof up and still useful with it down.
It’s no sports car to drive, with adequate, rather than thrilling performance from its choice of 1.4- or 1.8-litre petrol engines or the rather underpowered 1.3-litre diesel. Fuel economy is excellent though.
“The roof is so quick and easy to put up and down, you can even do it a the traffic lights!” Emily Stroud
Read all Vauxhall Tigra Owner Reviews
5. Vauxhall Astra TwinTop (2006 – 2011)
£5,000 – £14,500
Owner Rating: 4.4/5
The Vauxhall Astra TwinTop mixes good looks with four-seat practicality and family hatchback running costs. As a painless first step into the world of convertibles, it’s ideal.
The TwinTop drives like any other Astra of this era, with a good ride, decent handling and a great range of engines. We’d pick the 1.9 CDTI diesel for its mix of strong performance and 47mpg fuel economy.
There’s enough room for four inside and plenty of room in the boot, even with the bulky roof stowed.
“Love my car, especially in summer when I can put the roof down.” Emma, Southampton
Read all Vauxhall Astra TwinTop Owner Reviews
6. BMW 3 Series Convertibe (2007 – )
£14,000 – £45,000
Owner Rating: 4.3/5
There’s a reason the BMW 3 Series is so popular despite its premium price – it’s a great car. With the roof up it’s difficult to tell the convertible apart from the coupe thanks to its neat design.
Like all 3 Series models, it’s class-leading to drive although the extra weight of the complex roof and reduction of strength caused by taking the lid off means it’s not as sharp to drive as other bodytypes.
Its engine range is as broad as its range of talents, starting off with 320i petrol and 320d diesels leading up to the twin-turbo 335i. All mix strong performance with great fuel economy.
“The third 3 series convertible I have owned and I must say they just seem to get better and better.” Gary, Pinner
Read all BMW 3 Series Convertible Owner Reviews
7. Mercedes SLK (1996 – 2004)
£2,500 – £12,000
Owner Rating: 4.0/5
The car that started it all with its innovative two-piece folding hardtop. The Mercedes SLK still attracts admiring gazes thanks to its classy, understated looks and that dramatic roof.
It’s from a time when Mercedes were famous for making cars with unrivalled solidity, meaning even though the first cars are now 15 years old, they don’t feel it.
Initially only offered with a slightly rough but strong 2.3-litre, supercharged engine with an automatic gearbox, later cars were offered with the option of a manual gearbox and a wider choice of engines, including the rare, 348bhp SLK32 AMG version.
The SLK is sure to become a classic in the not-too-distant future.
“I’ve now owned this car for over 6 years and it has provided me with lots of reliable, fun and enjoyable driving experienecs.” Ian, Derby
Read all Mercedes SLK Owner Reviews
8. Peugeot 207 CC (2007 – )
With its handy size and low running costs, mixed with its sophistication, it’s easy to see why the 207 CC is so popular. Add a stylish interior and good road manners, plus its much-improved reliability, and it’s a big leap forward over the 206.
The only real downside is the lack of space – those rear seats are just for show, although they’re useful for shopping.
“I love my car, good engine, handling, interior and gorgeous enough for a good posing session in the sun.” Daniel, Preston
Read all Peugeot 207 CC Owner Reviews
9. Ford Focus CC (2006 – 2011)
£5,000 – £20,500
Owner Rating: 3.9/5
Ford turned to Italian styling house, Pininfarina to design the folding hardtop version of the Focus. Despite this, it two-piece roof creates a slightly awkward-looking rear due to its size. It also eats into boot space.
Roof aside, the Focus is good to drive, economical and reliable. It’s also big enough for four people. Cars built after 2008 are more desirable as they feature a much improved interior.
All models are well equipped, while the engines, especially the 2-litre diesel are smooth and economical.
“I loved this car from the first time I set eyes on it. I use it every day for work and pleasure at the weekends.” Martin, Mansfield
Read all Ford Focus CC Owner Reviews
10. Mercedes SL (2002 – )
£10,000 – £120,000
Owner Rating: 3.9/5
The Mercedes SL is part of a rich history of elegant, luxurious sports cars from Benz. The SL is the archetypal grand tourer, with plenty of space for two, effortless cruising ability and enough style to park it outside the finest of hotels.
Back in the real world, the big Merc is beautifully built but be warned that running costs are high, especially if you choose one of the larger engines. The payoff is amazing performance, particularly from the supercar-like SL55 AMG. Stick to the SL350 to avoid stratospheric fuel bills.
Post-2008 cars have a redesigned, and far less elegant, front end.
“A wonderful car that gives great driving pleasure and is a joy to look at.” Chris, Stockport
Read all Mercedes SL Owner Reviews