The used car-buying conundrum I was set the other day is more interesting than it first appeared: a four-year-old, four-seat, sporty convertible for £15k. It sounded like a tall order, not least the ‘four-seat open-top’ part. You usually have to compromise when it comes to carrying rear-seat passengers in a cabriolet, but the great news is that the car makers’ dash to fill every conceivable niche is starting to pay off in the used market.
The obvious choice is a BMW 1 Series Convertible. For £15k, you can get a fairly new (2013) example that’ll be fun to drive, and a 120d will also provide impressive fuel economy, with a claimed 60mpg combined. It’ll be a main agent example, too, so there shouldn’t be much to worry about.
Although there are plenty of 1 Series options, an Audi A3 2.0 TDI Cabriolet is equally good to have. A 2012 example with S line goodies and 50,000 miles is a fine option, or alternatively, a 1.6 TDI delivers even better economy and £30 VED. These soft-tops keep on getting better, although not much bigger.
Well, the BMW 3 Series Convertible is bigger than the 1 Series, and with a big 100,000-plus mileage you could be looking at a 320d M Sport. Or if those miles are scary, here’s a wild card: the Vauxhall Cascada 2.0 CDTi SE. It will be a 2014 example and barely run in with less than 7000 miles on the clock.
A Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet also makes sense — specifically a 2014 example with a 1.4 petrol engine and in TS trim. You wouldn’t go wrong with one of those. Again, the mileage will be relatively low and there seems to be a few in circulation at the moment.