Top 10 Affordable Convertibles for 2008

2008 Mazda MX-5 Miata


2008 Mazda MX-5 Miata

What we think
Nearly single-handedly responsible for the resurrection of the cheap, fun-to-drive convertible in America, the Mazda MX-5 Miata is a solid choice in every category. The little roadster has grown up in 2008 with an available retractable hard top to seal out road noise when you aren’t working on your tan. Of course, the two-seater still retains enough of its youthful high jinks to bring out the teenager in anyone.

At a glance
MSRP: $21,285
Engine and Drivetrain: 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with variable valve timing, 166 horsepower, 140 lb-ft of torque; 5-speed manual, 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission; rear-wheel drive
MPG: 22 city/27 highway (5-speed manual), 21 city/28 highway (6-speed manual), 20 city/27 highway (auto)



2008 MINI Cooper Convertible

2008 MINI Cooper Convertible 2
2008 MINI Cooper
Convertible

What we think
The Mini Cooper is a vehicle with a heritage of driving fun to protect. The 2008 convertible version is available in standard or S trim, with the latter toting a giggle-producing supercharger under the hood. The Mini is capable of hauling you and three of your friends around, making it a practical choice over any of the roadsters out there.

At a glance
MSRP: $22,600
Engine and Drivetrain: 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, 115 horsepower, 111 lb-ft of torque or 1.6-liter supercharged four-cylinder engine, 168 horsepower, 162 lb-ft of torque; 5-speed manual or variable automatic transmission; front-wheel drive
MPG: 23 city/32 highway (manual), 22 city/30 highway (auto), 21 city/29 highway (supercharged manual), 19 city/ 29 highway (supercharged auto)



2008 VW Eos Convertible

2008 Volkswagen Eos 3
2008 Volkswagen Eos

What we think
Though it’s the most costly of all of the convertibles on the list, the Eos has a list of standard features that put the other cars to shame. From headlights that turn toward the way you’re steering to heated windshield washer nozzles, the Eos is by far the most comfortable affordable convertible. It even has rain-sensing windshield wipers. We’re not kidding. Bang for your buck, this VW is where it’s at.

At a glance
MSRP: $28,990
Engine and Drivetrain: Turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, 200 horsepower, 207 lb-ft of torque, or naturally aspirated 3.2-liter V-6 engine, 250 horsepower, 236 lb-ft of torque; 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission; front-wheel drive.
MPG: 21 city/29 highway (4-cylinder manual), 21 city/30 highway (4-cylinder auto), 19 city/26 (V-6)

2008 Chrysler PT Convertible

2008 Chrysler PT Cruiser 4
2008 Chrysler PT Cruiser

What we think
This little drop top comes in under $20,000, making it the financially least painful convertible of the group. Though its lackluster fuel economy may offset the initial savings, for die-hard PT fans, the car’s love it or leave it looks can trump any environmental setbacks. Available with a capable 150 horsepower 2.4-liter or a torquey 180 horsepower turbo version, this car’s fun doesn’t stop when the top goes down.

At a glance
MSRP: $19,100
Engine and Drivetrain: 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with 150 horsepower and 165 lb-ft of torque or turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder with 180 horsepower and 210 lb-ft of torque; 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission; front-wheel drive
MPG: 21 city/26 highway (manual), 19 city/24 highway (auto), 18 city/24 highway (turbo auto)

2008 Pontiac Solstice

2008 Pontiac Solstice 5
2008 Pontiac Solstice

What we think
The Solstice represents a new page in domestic engineering. Cheap, fun and stylish, this roadster is as easy on the wallet as it is on the eyes. The car isn’t hurting in the power department either. Available with a naturally aspirated 2.4-liter four cylinder with a respectable 173 horsepower, you can opt for a turbocharged 2.0-liter with a robust 260 ponies if you’re willing to shell out the dough.

At a glance
MSRP: $22,785
Engine and Drivetrain: 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, 173 horsepower, 167 lb-ft of torque, or turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, 260 horsepower, 260 lb-ft of torque; 5-speed manual or 5-speed automatic transmission; rear wheel drive
MPG: 19 city/25 highway (manual), 19 city/24 highway (auto), 19 city/28 highway (turbo manual), 19 city/26 highway (turbo manual)



2008 VW New Beetle

2008 Volkswagen New Beetle Convertible 6
2008 Volkswagen New Beetle
Convertible

What we think
Like the Mini, the New Beetle brings a smile to our faces by cashing in on retro-cool charisma. Aside from all of the fun stuff this car brings to the table, there’s a healthy helping of features that will keep you safe in the event of an accident. Automatic rollover protection and the company’s anti-intrusion side door beams are just part of a package that keeps you looking good and riding safe.

At a glance
MSRP: $23,240
Engine and Drivetrain: 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine, 150 horsepower, 170 lb-ft of torque; 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission; front-wheel drive
MPG: 20 city/28 highway



2008 Mitsubishi Spyder Eclipse

2008 Mitsubishi Eclipse 7
2008 Mitsubishi Eclipse

What we think
With lines that look like they were carved from a drop of water, the 2008 Eclipse looks good. Available in two trims, one sporting a four-cylinder engine and the other, the GT, boasting a more powerful V-6, the car offers potential owners an array of options to personalize the car straight from the factory.

At a glance
MSRP: $25,699
Engine and Drivetrain: 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, 200 horsepower, 207 lb-ft of torque, or 3.8-liter V-6 engine, 260 horsepower, 258 lb-ft of torque; 5-speed manual, 4-speed automatic, 6-speed manual, or 5-speed automatic transmission; front-wheel drive
MPG: 19 city/26 highway (5-speed manual, 4-cylinder), 19 city/26 highway (4-speed auto, 4-cylinder), 16 city/ 25 highway (6-speed, V-6), 16 city/24 highway (5-speed auto, V-6)



2008 Ford Mustang Convertible

2008 Ford Mustang 8
2008 Ford Mustang

What we think
The Mustang’s ancestry is largely responsible for America’s fascination with the convertible. The 2008 model carries the same muscular lines as its coupe counterpart, and the optional 4.6-liter V-8 gives this car the ponies to make it a true muscle car. Be prepared to pay more both in initial cost and fuel economy for those extra cylinders, though.

At a glance
MSRP: $24,475
Engine and Drivetrain: 4.0-liter V-6 engine, 210 horsepower, 240 lb-ft of torque, or 4.6-liter V-8 engine, 300 horsepower, 320 lb-ft of torque; 5-speed manual or 5-speed automatic transmission; rear-wheel drive
MPG:  17 city/26 highway (V-6 manual), 16 city/24 highway (V-6 auto), 15 city/ 23 highway (V-8 manual), 15 city/22 highway (V-8 auto)



2008 Saturn Sky

2008 Saturn Sky 9
2008 Saturn Sky

What we think
If you’re thinking you’ve seen this car before, you’re right.  The Sky share’s most of its skin with the Pontiac Solstice, with the exception of a front fascia that takes the car farther from the Solstice’s bigger brother, the GTO. The Saturn offers a number of customizing options that the Solstice does not, even if their beating hearts are the same.

At a glance
MSRP: $26,145
Engine and Drivetrain: 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, 173 horsepower, 166 lb-ft of torque or turbocharged 2.0-liter, 260 horsepower, 260 lb-ft of torque; 5-speed manual or 5-speed automatic transmission; rear-wheel drive
MPG: 19 city/25 highway (manual), 19 city/24 highway (auto), 19 city/28 highway (turbo manual), 19 city/26 highway (turbo manual)



2008 Chrysler Sebring


2008 Chrysler Sebring
Convertible

What we think
More mature than the other drop top candidates out there, the Chrysler Sebring is the professional’s affordable convertible. The interior is accented with brushed aluminum and wood accents, bringing a little more class to the ride. The trunk is sizeable too, large enough for two golf bags or travel luggage—a rarity in this line of cars.

At a glance
MSRP: $26,530
Engine and Drivetrain: 2.4-liter four-cylinder, 173 horsepower, 166 lb-ft of torque, or 2.7-liter V-6, 189 horsepower, 191 lb-ft of torque, or 3.5-liter V-6, 235 horsepower, 232 lb-ft of torque; 4-speed automatic, 4-speed manual, 6-speed automatic transmission; front-wheel drive
MPG: 20 city/29 highway (four-cylinder), 18 city/26 highway (2.7-liter V-6), 16 city/26 highway (3.5-liter V-6)




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