Recommended USED 4 seat convertibles

I’m looking for recommendations on good, used 4 seat convertibles. Reliability is priority as anything we might buy will have to be an older, used model due to financial contraints. We currently have a 1990 Mazda Miata that we’ve owned a few years and absolutely love to drive. However, our youngest son is disabled and will probably never leave home. He really enjoys rides in the Miata (he loves to ride in any vehicle, but the convertible really puts a smile on his face). Unfortunatlely whenever we’d like to take a drive together as a family on those clear summer days, the Miata forces one of us to stay behind.

Any experiences, suggestions, or advice would be appreciated. My wife likes the Toyota Camry Solara, but even the used ones are a bit beyond our price range. Maybe this isn’t feasable, but it can’t hurt to gather some ideas!

Thanks for your help!


Well, I can tell you what NOT to buy, if that helps. Chrysler has sold a significant number of Sebring convertibles over the years, but if you are used to the reliability of a Miata you would be sorely disappointed by the lack of reliability of a Chrysler Sebring.

A quick check of Consumer Reports: Ford Mustang V6 1999-2003 are rated decently. Mini Cooper Convertible S isn’t bad either but used prices may be not what you’re looking for, since it’s been around since only 2005. You could try for a nice oldie, such as a 1992-1994 Nissan 240. They are still out there.
You didn’t mention where you live (are you somewhere that topless cars are readily available?) but I’d think you’d have a better chance of finding an older Mustang at a good price.

I would love to recommend a street legal dune buggy. You can find them at

You might also look at a VW Cabrio. If you can’t afford about $8500 for a 2000 Camry Solara SE, your choices will be slim. A 2000 Cabrio will be arount $6000. You could find a 1990s car for less, but it’s 10 years old or more. Age affects reliability, too.

We’re in Wisconsin, so it would be a summer car. The Miata is garaged for the winter.

Looks like fun, but I don’t think my wife would approve!

The idea of replacing the Miata just came up within the past couple of days, so I haven’t done any serious shopping/research. A quick internet search came up with Solaras in the $10k range, which would be pushing the budget. $8500 sounds more reasonable. I’m just trying to get a few possible models to keep an eye out for, keeping in mind that it’s not a neccessity, so the search could continue for a number of years and ultimately may not pan out.

But keep the opinions, recommendations and/or experiences coming!

The Solara top has more than one layer. You can use it during the winter, too, without getting too cold. As a replacement car, you might go a bit higher in price.

One car I would avoid - a '90s Saab convertible. The only two I know of had to be repurchased by the dealers under the lemon laws.

Other possibilities are a Firebird or Camaro, and they will be priced about $1000 - $2000 less than the Solara. A bonus is that they should be less expensive than the Toyota to fix if something goes wrong. BTW, the price is for a 6-cyl with an automatic; they come standard with a 5-spd manual. They could be a lot of fun, and you could still drive it all year if you wanted to.

Anyone have any experience with older Toyota Celica convertibles?

I would avoid them. These were originally coupes that were converted by an after-market company.

I always found the best time to purchase a convertible in the upper Mid-West[Wisc, Mi, Mn] is the Nov through Feb time period. Dealer suspects not going to move one unless they get very lucky, and are very willing to negotiate till march.

We have a '98 Mustang V6 Convertible and it’s been dead realiable except for maintenance items (battery, hoses, belts, oil, brakes) and it has 120K miles, still looks good and my kid drives it 60 miles RT to school everyday. Also, we have a Jeep Wrangler, another car you can get at varying prices. Wranglers just have the fun factor that puts a smile on your face when you take the top down, doors off and you are there flapping in the wind. They are not fuel effecient, they do not handle well but they are blast, get the 6 cylinder motor. It’s also been dead reliable but because of it’s 4wd complexity it requires more maintenance than the Mustang. These are fun convertibles. There are luxury convertibles that can be had at decent prices if old enough, like an old Mercedes convertible (they made an E500 convertible a bunch of years ago) or Saab and Volvo convertibles. if you are into classics, consider the boats of yesteryear, the Lincoln and Caddy convertibles from the 60’s and early 70’s. I would recomend a Malibu, Mustang or Camaro convertible but their prices are way too high for your budget.

Cars I would avoid, the Camaro/Firebird convertibles, not too reliable, the Sebring convertible, boring and not well made.

You best bet is to go to and do an advanced search in your area for a convertible in your price range and leave brand and model set to ANY.

“Cars I would avoid, the Camaro/Firebird convertibles, not too reliable…”

GM guys say the same thing about Fords…

Any thoughts on a used VW “new” Beetle convertible?

My opinion is they are ugly, also it’s a VW and that seems to mean electrical issues in recent years, but I don’t know how bad and if it would be worth the bother.

I like the new beetles but they have 2 negatives, because the top stacks pretty high, visibility may be poor with the top down (you may have to try it and see if it bothers you) and it’s perceived by many as a girly car. The industry calls it a “chick car” but I feel that’s not fair to chickens. Friend had the first year the new beetle came out and had it for about 4 years and it was problem free. Also, I believe the convertible came out in 2003 so don’t know if you were looking for something that new. If you do get one, consider the turbo as the standard motor is pretty slow.

When it comes to 4 seat convertibles there is a very small crop of cars to choose from, and of that crop there are only a few I feel are reliable enough to recommend. First is the Toyota Solara which is the most reliable of course. Next would be the Ford Mustang-which is simple, fairly reliable, and plentiful. Less reliable, but also available to you is the Volvo C70 convertible as well. BMW makes some beautiful 4 seat convertibles, but I’m afraid the costs would be out of your range, and the maintenance and reliabilty are not what you’re looking for.

Cars to avoid like the plague include any Saab convertible, VW Cabrio/New Beetle, or Chrysler Sebring, as the reliability is just awful. Someone mentioned the Camaro and Firebird, but honestly if you’re over 30 you’ll probably feel silly in one of these-not to mention the rear seats are too small for passengers unless they’re about the size of watermelons.

Good luck.