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The Mazda MX-5 Miata (Credit: Mazda).
It's been a terrific summer in terms of sales throughout the auto industry. Except for sales of the classic summer car.

Convertible sales typically claim about 2 percent of the overall auto market, as they did in 2011. But in 2012, a year in which overall U.S. sales are expected to climb into the neighborhood of 14 or 15 million units, up 22 percent from a year ago, droptop sales have slackened to approximately 1 percent of the market.

Part of the problem: While older Americans have fond memories of convertibles that stood as symbols of their adolescence, younger drivers don't feel the same way. Smart Money reports that drivers 35 years old or younger accounted for less than 5 percent of convertible sales last year.

Another part of the problem: Cost. Convertibles cost about $5,000 more, on average, than comparable coupes. Given the limits of the economy in recent years, it's reasonable to assume droptops are a bit over the top – an indulgence that more frugal consumers may appreciate, but ultimately decline to purchase.

In that spirit, we've gone searching for the most affordable convertibles out there that remain high in quality. Here's a look at the best convertibles that cost less than $25,000 – perhaps a bargain, if you're trying to survive this summer's heatwave.



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  • 96 Comments
      • 2 Years Ago
      Yeah, the problem is-- even having a moonroof-- every girlfriend I've ever had just complained about their hair being blown around. Now a convertible? That's an afro-perm machine on wheels. You start out in 2012, and by the time you get to where you want to go, it's 1975. Plus, myself and all my peers were born long after Nader and the push for seat-belts, and in high school we were inundated with ludicrously violent Driver's Ed flicks. Most of us can't handle a car without a top. That's a good way to lose your head, or have your head crushed, or get hit in the head with debris at high speeds... Mostly I like my head. I'm at the very least-- fond of that body part. It does it's job. I've taken a few hits to the head and haven't ended up a mongoloid. At any rate, I'm ready to trade it in for the status symbol of a bi-gone age.
        • 2 Years Ago
        Got to get one if it will take me back to 1975. LOL
      klavezo
      • 2 Years Ago
      Good times the rag tops are in, bad times the rag tops are out. It's the state of the economy we are in.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Love my Volvo C-70
      • 2 Years Ago
      Typical.. oh, no! We have sold 10% less of this type of car, nevermind that we have sold 30% less vehicles in general.. but let''s tell everyone that since "no one" is buying them we could see the end of the convertable.. or last week it was the mid sized pickup. since of course no one buys the mid sized because it is EASIER to drive around, park and you aren't towing a 5th wheel, it is just because it is cheaper, and they point out the price break is getting smaller.. Sure the cheapest entry level full size, with no options is almost the same price as the well equipped mid size.. go figure..
      millhousepens
      • 2 Years Ago
      when Chrysler brought it back and the Miata came out sales were brisk, and I don't see Jeep going anywhere either.
      almasearch
      • 2 Years Ago
      Hmmmm.... I'm sure seeing a lot of convertibles in my neck of the woods. Not to mention I purchased one last Fall. Don't know if I believe this article...
      askdal
      • 2 Years Ago
      Dealers complain they can't sell convertibles so they don't order them and don't stock them. (Build it and they will come) If Dealers don't convertible inventory to sell they can't sell them. Auto Manufactures should require dealers to take so many convertibles per hundred autos ordered! People want them, Dealers don't stock and don't have them. Same goes with white leather interior, If you don't have it You can't sell it!!!!!!!
        Robin
        • 2 Years Ago
        @askdal
        Inversely, if you can't sell it, you don't stock it.
      tbetenia
      • 2 Years Ago
      I doubt Mercedes, BMW, Audi, or Porsche will ever discontinue convertibles.
      ddll2335
      • 2 Years Ago
      They are nice to look at...but that SUN is blazing hot!!! With the ozone layer like it is, the sun is no where like it was in the seventies. You use to ride with your arm out on the door, and all you get is a golden tan. Try to do that now! you'll get 1degree burns on your arm. No thanks tinted windows, and tinted sunroof is the way.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Rag top cars have been notoriously labor intensive to maintain. The mechanism that opens and lowers the top was unmanageable when the car was caught in a rain storm, the rear glass (plastic) got scratched with reduced visibility, would fog over on cold days, snow/ice would stick to the rear window and scraping was a no no, The latches on the front windshield frame were shoddy, the rag itself (canvas cover) would fade due to sun exposure, stain from bird droppings, would come apart at the seams and expensive to repair, easy to vandalise with a knife and car broken into, in a roll-over the driver and guests were vulnerable to being crushed onto the pavement, truck drivers used convertibles as a moving ash tray by throwing their cigarette butts into the open car, lack of privacy, ad nauseum.. A Hard top convertible? Sacrifice the trunk space and reliability issues. The best trade-off to date? Power sun roof! Never had a problem with my Honda Accords with a sun roof!
      John
      • 2 Years Ago
      Didn't they do this once before?
      rkatk
      • 2 Years Ago
      Its not the first time this has happened. US automakers did away with their convertibles in the mid 70s for all of the same reasons. .
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