When it’s time for ragtop fun on the lowest possible budget, which of these three gets the Buy?
Mazda MX-5 Miata
Our cheapest of the trio today was a toss-up with its twin, the Fiat 124. We chose the Mazda version because it had a $10 lower base price than the Fiat this year, and is the car more people actually purchase. Prices range from $26,830 for the Sport, step to $30,290 for the Club, and $31,770 for the Grand Touring. The base Sport has no hard top option, but shares the same 2.0-liter inline-four as the other trims, good for 181 horsepower. A six-speed manual is included at no additional charge. No-cost colors include white or black, and a black cloth interior is mandatory. Final cost after the $995 destination fee is $27,825.
MINI still makes a Cooper cabriolet, which your author had forgotten entirely. If you’d asked, I’d have said it faded away circa 2016. But no! It’s available as a 2021 in three trim levels, from base Cooper at $27,400, S at $31,900, and tops out at John Cooper Works for $38,400. There are sub-trims within the trims, and the base convertible includes Classic, Signature, and Iconic. MINI does not believe in convertible power equality, and horsepower varies by model trim at 134, 189, and 229, respectively. A six-speed manual is the standard transmission here, and those 134 horses are generated by a 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine. Free paint colors are limited to red or silver, and interiors are made of black faux leather. Final cost is $28,250, but the terrible MINI website won’t break that down without contacting a dealer. Said website also thinks you’re using a phone if you resize the window on your PC, and greys out all information until you expand it back. Boo.
For true American Freedom Convertible action, today’s most expensive offering is the Camaro. Available in a dizzying seven trim levels (which seems like too many), prices range from $32,495 for the base 1LT, through $69,995 for the top-tier ZL1. For our Ace of Base money, power on offer arrives via 2.0-liter turbocharged four. It produces a respectable 275 horses, routed through the standard six-speed manual. Chevy offers six paint colors at no additional charge, which include red and blue, among grays and white. You get to pick the color of your top as well, and can choose black, blue, or mocha-y (shown). Interiors at this level are black, and cloth. After a $995 destination fee, the Camaro asks $32,490.
These convertibles are as cheap as they come in 2021. Which one do you purchase with your own bitcoins?
[Images: GM, MINI, Mazda]