Five of the best
Here's a fun fact for you: Britain is one of the top consumers of convertible cars in Europe. That's right, despite the questionable weather we have in old Blighty, we just can't seem to get enough of cars that can directly expose us to the elements.
We're not entirely sure what the reasoning behind that is, but we're willing to wager that the majority of motorists have fantasised about driving over the horizon with the roof down at one point or another.
Then again, cars have come on leaps and bounds over the past decade or so. As a result, modern convertible cars now offer excellent levels of refinement and insulation, making them realistic prospects for use all-year-round.
Because of their popularity, it's now possible to pick up a cracking convertible car for a very reasonable outlay. With a budget of £15,000, you'd be amazed by the cars available, as we shall now prove.
If you're the sort of person who places value on the way a car drives, then you'll likely be a fan of the Mazda MX-5 you see here. Despite being in its fourth generation, the core recipe has remained from the original: lightweight, two seats, rear-wheel drive, and bags of character.
The MX-5 has never been about out-and-out speed, but more the amount of speed you can carry into the corners. Having said that, the 2.0-litre SkyActiv-G engine with 158bhp feels spritely enough and is good for 0 to 62mph in 7.3 seconds.
With 130bhp, the smaller 1.5-litre petrol engine needs working harder to gather momentum, but it feels eager and rewarding to use. Plus, up to 44.8mpg is achievable on a combined cycle.
Practicality isn't the best in the world, with two seats and a 130-litre boot. Although you'll soon forget this once you're in the cockpit, where you're surrounded by quality materials and an intuitive infotainment system.
Audi TT Roadster
Audi are immensely popular cars in the UK. It doesn't taken an Einstein to see why; they boast elegant exterior designs; they offer a whisper-quiet driving experience; and they feature opulent cabins with a relaxing ambiance.
The Audi TT reflects all of those traits and is arguably one of the prettiest cars to come from the German manufacturer. Removing the roof from the TT merely adds to the sense of occasion, which is enhanced by their raft of efficient and punchy engine choices.
A diesel engine is available, and will return close to 60mpg on a combined cycle. However, our pick of the range is the 2.0-litre TFSI unit with 230bhp. The 0 to 62mph sprint takes just 6.2 seconds, with acceleration feeling effortless thanks to the engine's seamless power delivery.
The uncluttered and minimal dashboard layout feels timeless in its design, although tech-lovers will appreciate the vibrant 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit that features on all models. The idea is that everything you need is directly in front of you such as the infotainment system, satellite navigation, and driving data; it's an innovative feature that we're big fans of.
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If British motorists love anything more than a convertible, then surely MINI has to be high on the list. As a brand, MINI has been at the core of British heritage for some time. And even though they're owned by parent group, BMW, the current models have retained the styling cues that made the original so popular.
The MINI Hatch is already an exceptional car to drive, so it should come as no surprise to learn that the MINI Convertible isn't short of thrills, either. The 1.5-litre 3-cylinder petrol engine with 134bhp is a little gem that offers a good blend of performance and economy (with up to 52.3mpg possible).
If you want a bit of spice, then Cooper S models get a 189bhp 2.0-litre engine that does the 0 to 62mph sprint in just 7.2 seconds. Go for the excellent automatic gearbox and this drops to 7.1 seconds.
Practicality isn't the best being a MINI, but the 215-litre boot (160 litres with roof down) can at least accommodate the weekly food shop. Typical of MINI, the interior is beautifully well-made, with premium materials featuring on all the right surfaces.
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Fiat 124 Spider
Many people don't know this, but Fiat have a rich history of creating handsome and fun sports cars. Because of this, few were surprised when Fiat released the 124 Spider, which is a 2-seater convertible that places an emphasis on style and thrills.
The 124 Spider shares the same platform as the Mazda MX-5 that was mentioned earlier on this list. As a result, it carries a lot of composure when the going gets twisty. There is a crucial difference, and it comes in the form of a turbocharged 1.4-litre petrol engine that produces 138bhp.
Whereas you need to really work the MX-5 to get going, the 124 Spider leans on the turbocharged engine to make effortless progress. If anything, it's a fitting choice that complements the convertible driving experience quite nicely.
There's plenty of models to choose from, depending on your budget. Entry-level 'Classica' cars get Bluetooth, air-conditioning and keyless go, although we'd recommend looking for a 'Lusso', which comes with a 7-inch infotainment touchscreen system, climate control, rear parking sensors and a rear camera.
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smart Fortwo Cabrio
Just because you live and work in the big city doesn't mean you can't enjoy roof-down action. The smart ForTwo Cabrio features an electric folding roof, meaning you don't have to compromise on refinement during rainy days.
You can choose between a 1.0-litre or turbocharged 0.9-litre petrol engine. They feel punchy enough in the big city, and will reward you with excellent fuel economy; with up to 74.3mpg achievable from the smaller unit.
It's worth noting that you can go for an all-electric ForTwo Cabrio. They can travel up to 96 miles on a "full battery", and can charge to 80 percent battery capacity in just 40 minutes when using a rapid charger.
The interior isn't the most sophisticated on this list, but everything feels well-made and the infotainment system is easy to navigate. However, the ForTwo Cabrio can be forgiven for this because of the endless skies it can provide access to. Plus, this car is ULEZ exempt, making it ideal for city dwellers.
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Get the roof down with Evans Halshaw
Looking at the cars on this list for under £15,000, it's not actually too difficult to see why us Brits love a convertible car. Stylish, refined and fun to drive: it seems you really can't go wrong if you want to feel the wind in your hair when driving.
If you like the look of these motors, then why not take a look at our other available cars. From hot hatchbacks to affordable electric cars, we're bound to have you covered. Alternatively, have a look at our blog section for more car buying advice and other motoring tips.