Buying a second-hand car can save you a bundle if you are a little savvy when it comes to makes, models and the things you should always look out for. Vehicle depreciation is one aspect of second-hand market you can really capitalise on – on average, 20% of brand new vehicle’s list price automatically drops off when it leaves the showroom, and then for every year after, you can knock a further 15% off. Some cars depreciate more than others i.e. the German Mercedes, VW and BMW hold their value due to build quality, whereas Alfa Romeo not so much. It’s having a little knowledge and the use of some car market search engines that can find you the ultimate convertible summer.
These convertibles are all easily accessible through online car search engines such as the prestigious CarCraft auto company. Go onto their site and use their drop down boxes to locate the perfect convertible for your perfect summer drive.
This is the little Japanese convertible that took inspiration from the classic British 70s MG and Triumph sport cars and made them reliable. The MX-5 has been one of the leading selling 2-seater convertibles for years, so there’s a lot to choose from on the second-hand market. They aren’t supercar fast, but they handle well and insurance premiums are low. Other than the usual full service history and HPI checks, these little cars are ultra-reliable and offer a great open-top driving experience.
Porsche Boxster (S)
German, good-looking, solid and fast – the Porsche Boxster is a few steps up from the MX-5 but you get a few steps up in performance and looks too. You have a choice of either the 2.7-L or the 3.4-L S engine. The latter offers a solid 295-bhp that powers the car to 60-mph in 5.4 seconds. The Porsche badge gives you that ‘serious car’ status, whilst driving with the top down and experiencing its amazing handling will have you making excuses to go out for a drive. Whilst this is a serious bit of kit and reliable enough to be a daily driver, servicing will cost a lot more than the Japanese makes.
The Honda S2000 is known for its superior handling and it’s 2.0-L VTec engine. It produces 240-bhp and is just under a second slower to 60-mph than the Boxster S – not bad for a 2.0-L. The Honda is very stylish and has won awards for the best sports car thanks to its chassis. If you are looking for performance this summer and don’t want to pay Porsche prices, the S2000 is a great option.
BMW 3-Series E46
Convertible doesn’t have to mean sports car. The E46 BMW convertible is a very cheap way of owing a prestigious make with great looks and reliability. The E46 is considered one of BMW’s prettier models, and despite it being around a decade old, they still look modern and sleek. If you do want real performance, there is the M3 model, offering a great 345-bhp and 0-62-mph in 4.8 seconds, but be prepared to pay around £4000 more and a lot more for parts and servicing.
Alfa Romeo Spider 3.2 V6
Easily one of the best sounding and looking out of the bunch is this Italian beauty. The Alfa Romeo was known for terrible reliability and rust, but since 2001, when they bucked their ideas up, they have been nothing but spot on – I have owned one and loved every minute of it. You can pick one up for a great price, and for that price you get Italian style, an amazing interior, and a sound track that will have you right-foot-heavy all day long. The 3.2 V6 engine has been hailed as one of the greatest engines ever built, and if you open the bonnet, you’ll see why – it’s a piece of polished art.