It may seem strange to talk about convertible cars as the summer draws to a close but if you are seriously considering a drop top family drive then now is a brilliant time to source your dream car. Many dealers and private owners will be keener to do a deal this time of year making your hearts desire that little bit more affordable. Remember modern convertibles are less of a compromise then in times gone by so forget whistling roofs, soggy seats and foggy windows, £10,000 should buy you a cracker that you can use throughout the year and take the kids with you.

We have been taking a closer look at used cars that offer choice, style and relative practicality for the fresh-air loving family on the move…

Audi A3

Audi have been producing 4 seat convertibles since 1994 so know a thing or two about open-air family comfort with style. Central to this familiar design is the trusty old fabric roof which when electronically folded won’t gobble up too much boot space. Try and get leather interior, heated seats and the excellent Bose sound system as when the kids outgrow the rear you should find it much easier to sell and free up some cash for their University fees!

Audi A3Photo Source

Which one to buy?
The 2007 petrol TFSi offers an intriguing balance of performance and economy well within the £10,000 budget making this our choice. As with all the cars on this list be prepared to walk away from dream cars with poor service history; a well-pampered car however should give you the confidence to say, “I do”!

Mercedes-Benz CLK320

Here’s another prestigious German entry to our top 10 in the shape of the elegant CLK. Your budget may only find you a slightly older example then other cars on this list but great design endures and as long as the service history is up to scratch then these 4 seat convertibles should clock up the miles with hushed vigour. Available in 4 trim levels (Classic, Sport, Elegance and Avantgarde) and a number of engine options the choice can be a little bewildering so take your time to check the specifications carefully.

Mercedes-Benz CLKPhoto Source

Which one to buy?
For the budget we think the 2008 CLK320 in Elegance trim affords that special Mercedes Benz refinement what will get your heart flapping in sync with the neighbours curtains. Keep it auto as manuals are just not desirable and diesels won’t be an option in this price range. Remember that you may find all the toys you desire in a Classic or Sport model for less so shop around.

Mini Cooper

Ok so the Mini is small but if your kids are young then these little iconic cars do offer rear seats with proper 3 point harnessing for safety; you will even find ‘isofix’ seat anchoring for the tiniest of fresh air fanatics. Trim levels are numerous and there’s a nice selection of Petrol and Diesel engines to choose from, not to mention the endless combination of colours, trims and materials to make your job of finding the right one an adventure to savour.

Mini CooperPhoto Source

Which one to buy?
The Cooper has the better specification as standard so find a 2009 model in either Petrol or Diesel and you won’t be disappointed. The Cooper S offers the same package but with a much firmer ride. Get leather seats, navigation and bluetooth connectivity if you can, parking sensors are desirable as rear vision is limited with the roof down.

Fiat 500

A tribute to Fiat 500 of the 1950’s, these little cars exude a charm that is hard to resist. Available in a dizzying range of specifications and colours including numerous special editions. It is hard to find a pair that match; a determining factor in the model’s huge success. The convertible sports a folding central roof panel as opposed to a complete folding top which saves space, weight and also preserves the excellent handling attributed to these award winning little cars.

Fiat 500Photo Source

Which one to buy?
The Abarth being the top performance model carries some appeal but for us the 2011 model with the celebrated “Twin Air’ engines are the pick of the bunch. Aim for leather, parking sensors and the excellent “Blue & Me’ Bluetooth system and you will have the perfect little car come rain or shine.

Volkswagen Eos

The VW Eos boasts a rather ingenious 3 piece folding metal roof design that allows for just the forward section to slide creating a huge sunroof area. This car is also a genuine 4-seater convertible so if the children are getting big (or your friends for that matter) this is the kind of car you will be looking at. These cars carried a premium when new so represent a real bargain and at this time of year seller’s could be keen to do a deal.

VW EosPhoto Source

Which one to buy?
Your money should bag you a nice 2010 2.0 Diesel in ‘Exclusive’ trim boasting heated leather and if you’re lucky; navigation. The DSG automatic gearbox is clever but needs to have regular oil changes; you will need to factor this into your running costs. The manual gearbox is excellent also so well worth considering.

Citroen DS3

The Citroen DS3 offers open-air fun with a roll back roof section as opposed to a fully convertible top. Once again credit to Citroen for creating such a good-looking little car with engines and build quality to match. Space is a compromise with a car of this size but you do get 5 seatbelts making this little icon more practical than you would think.

DS3Photo Source

Which one to buy?
You will get an awful lot of kit for your money. If you are looking to spend the whole of your budget then a peachy 2013 1.6 VTi Style Plus with low miles can be yours. With summer passed you will find dealers are bristling with stock so drive a hard bargain and secure yourself a smile for years to come.

Saab 9-3

This may on the surface seem like a bit of a wild card but you owe it to yourself to take a good look at these Swedish stunners before ruling them out. OK the Saab 9-3 so as it stands the company no longer exists but these cars were built under the careful watch of General Motors so enjoyed steadfast build quality. Good looking, spacious and comfortable the Saab 9-3 is the last chapter in a long line of iconic convertibles and a worthy addition to our list.

SaabPhoto Source

Which one to buy?
All will have a pretty decent specification and as with a lot of cars in this class you will need to check each car individually to assure yourself of its merits. The Aero model has just about every gadget that one could desire and a straight-line performance that will make you whoop. Your budget could see you driving away in a 2011 model with low miles.

Peugeot 308cc

The little Peugeot 308cc has a spectacular gadget list for the price range and an almost blemish free NCAP safety rating making this an appealing choice. Boasting some high-end finishing touches including the Mercedes Benz inspired ‘Airwave’ seat heating system that blows warm air on the back of the neck you can be sure to feel pretty special whatever the weather. Again space in the rear is limited so take the kids along for the test drive before deciding if you want to keep them!

Peugeot 308ccPhoto Source

Which one to buy?
£10,000 should afford you a 2010 1.6 THP GT that enjoys a sharper look, better performance, great specification and nigh on 40 mpg. The cake you can eat and drive!

Volvo C70

With ingenious design touches, comfortable interiors and an exterior part sculptured by legendary Italian design house Pininfarina one can easily fall for the charms of the C70. A genuine 4-seat convertible by design there’s plenty of clever storage making this one of the most practical convertibles on our list. The folding hard top looks great when up and preserves those handsome lines; however when folded but will hamper your picnic space in the boot!

VolvoPhoto Source

Which one to buy?
For your budget you will be looking at a high specification, second-generation D5 SE Lux model with navigation, leather, bluetooth and heated seats. Find a well cared for example with the desirable Geartronic option and customer opinion suggests you will have a friend for life.

Renault Megane

These talented little French fancies enjoy elegant styling, robust engineering and an excellent NCAP safety score making them a big hit with British customers. The Renault Megane was the first to offer folding panoramic glass roofs as standard which lends a wonderful ambient light to the cabin to accompany a comfortably quiet ride when the roof is up.

MeganePhoto Source

Which one to buy?
Your budget will secure you a 2010 1.9 Dci Dynamique offering the best economy, specification and everyday performance attributes to warrant your investment. Expect leather, navigation, bluetooth and an overwhelming sense of wellbeing as standard!

Written by Russell Knight

So there it is! Our top family convertibles for under £10K, what did you think? Have we missed any out? If you think we have why not connect with us on our Facebook & Twitter pages, and let us know!