Best summer cars

We can’t promise sunshine, but we can recommend cars that are perfect for summer and beyond - from convertibles to sports cars and SUVs

Gavin Braithwaite-Smith
Jul 20, 2021

Here comes the sun, doo, doo, doo, doo. Actually, if there’s one thing you can guarantee about the British summer, it’s that you can’t guarantee sunshine. Not that this casts a shadow over our love of summer cars - it’s good to be prepared for when the sun emerges from behind the clouds.

That is why we’ve pulled together a list of the best cars for summer. Whether you’re after a proper convertible or a car with a large sunroof for making the most of the sun - without the compromise of having a convertible at other times of year - these cars won’t put the heat on your household budget. BuyaCar monthly payments start from around £150* per month on PCP finance.

Rain or shine, your next car could be delivered to your door in five to 10 working days through BuyaCar with a 14-day money-back guarantee. Stick on your shades, recline on the sunlounger, and let us do the rest.

Keep reading for our selection of the best summer cars below or if you want to get to grips with the process of buying a used car from home, click on the button below.

Best cars for summer

1. Fiat 500C

Used deals from £6,495
Monthly finance from £144*

The Fiat 500C is the most affordable drop-top on the BuyaCar website. Monthly payments for this chic convertible start from around the same cost as a flight to a sunny destination, but choosing the Fiat doesn’t involve a long wait in a departure lounge or a long bus ride from the airport to the beach.

You get all the benefits of the standard 500 city car, but with the added advantage of a retractable fabric roof. The roof pillars and side windows stay in place, so you’re left with a full length sunroof for some wind-in-your-hair motoring. This gives you the feeling of a full convertible, with the extra safety and security of a metal frame around you.

Fiat updated the 500 in 2015, giving the car a fresh look and an improved interior. The upgraded touchscreen media system will enable you to get the best from your summer playlists, so we'd recommend going for a post-2015 model.

FIAT 500 BUYERS' GUIDE

2. Mini Convertible

Used deals from £9,790
Monthly finance from £188*

If the Fiat 500C is a little too petite for you, why not upsize to a Mini Convertible? It remains small enough to squeeze into the tightest bays at the beach car park, while your rear-seat passengers will appreciate the extra room in the back.

The fabric roof opens or closes in 18 seconds at speeds of up to 20mph, so you won’t have to stop if the weather turns a bit ‘British’. You can even download a ‘rain warner’ app for your smartphone to tell you if it’s likely to rain where you’ve parked it. Very handy.

One of the best things about the Mini Convertible is that you don’t need to splash the cash to feel flash. Even the entry-level versions are great to drive, while the wide range of optional extras available means that most people who bought one new will have ticked a number of options boxes, so you could find many unexpected treats in yours.

MINI CONVERTIBLE BUYERS' GUIDE

3. Mazda MX-5

Used deals from £13,495
Monthly finance from £257*

The Mazda MX-5 is the world’s best affordable sports car. With the roof down, it feels like the kind of two-seater your parents may have driven a number of decades ago, before your arrival prompted the move into something more practical. Now it’s your turn to live the sports car dream.

Even the latest version of the MX-5, launched in 2015, is now available for less than £300* per month, so you get all of the benefits of a significantly more expensive sports car for the kind of monthly payment you'd associate with an ordinary family hatchback.

The MX-5 is brilliant to drive, regardless of the engine, with a fantastic six-speed manual gearbox to make you feel part of the action. You also get a decent level of equipment, even on the entry-level versions, but we think the 1.5 SE-L Nav provides the best balance of performance, equipment and value for money.

MAZDA MX-5 BUYERS' GUIDE

4. Audi TT Roadster

Used deals from £18,465
Monthly finance from £307*

Is there a more desirable summer car than the Audi TT Roadster? Stunning good looks, superb build quality and a great image combine to make this the must-have accessory for a drive along the promenade. You will turn heads.

The really good news is that a used TT Roadster costs about the same as a new Ford Fiesta. That’s for a convertible with a triple-layer fabric roof, a 12.3-inch digital instrument display instead of conventional dials and an interior that has a quality feel throughout.

All versions feel sporty to drive, but you can retain a level of comfort by avoiding the optional S line suspension and larger alloy wheels, as these make things a bit firm over bumpy roads. For some added all-weather reassurance, you could even opt for a four-wheel-drive TT.

AUDI TT BUYERS' GUIDE

5. Volkswagen T-Roc Cabriolet

Used deals from £25,070
Monthly finance from £370*

Yes, it’s a convertible SUV. No, it’s not as daft as it might seem. SUVs are the most fashionable cars on the planet right now, so doesn’t it make sense to lower the roof? You get the same high driving position as a metal-topped SUV, a pair of rear seats for the children and a relatively large boot.

The roof takes nine seconds to lower at speeds of up to 19mph, and there’s little in the way of wind noise once it’s open. Because the T-Roc Cabriolet is available only in higher trim levels, there’s a substantial level of standard equipment across the range.

We’d recommend the entry-level Design model, as the larger wheels and lowered suspension added with R-Line trim can make things a little uncomfortable. You may also want to find a T-Roc Cabriolet with the optional heated seats for just as much comfort in winter as in summer.

VOLKSWAGEN T-ROC BUYERS' GUIDE

6. Range Rover Evoque Convertible

Used deals from £28,480
Monthly finance from £397*

The VW T-Roc Cabriolet wasn’t the first convertible SUV. Land Rover launched the Range Rover Evoque Convertible in 2016, with Bond star Naomie Harris unveiling the car on the sun-drenched beaches of Santa Monica.

A British seaside resort might lack the glamour of LA or a Hollywood actress, but some exclusivity is guaranteed by virtue of the fact that the Evoque Convertible didn’t sell in big numbers when new. That said, there’s usually a dozen or so available on BuyaCar, so you should be able to find one that suits your taste and budget.

It’s not as practical as the regular Evoque SUV, but you get the same feeling of quality and Land Rover’s legendary off-road ability, so this is a very capable winter car, too. This convertible can take you to places other drop-tops cannot reach.

RANGE ROVER EVOQUE CONVERTIBLE BUYERS' GUIDE

7. Citroen Berlingo

Used deals from £14,795
Monthly finance from £251*

A convertible isn’t everybody’s idea of a summer car. To some, it’s all about getting to the destination with the minimal amount of fuss and the maximum amount of practicality. This is where the Citroen Berlingo comes in.

As lifestyle vehicles go, the Berlingo is one of the best of the bunch. Because it’s based on a van, there’s a huge amount of space in the back, plus you can select from five and seven-seat versions. The Berlingo XL is long enough to carry a kayak inside the cabin, so it’s ideal for kayakers, surfers or canoeists.

In early 2021, Citroen launched the Berlingo Rip Curl edition, complete with the brand’s famous logo. The three individual rear seats fold away to free up 3,500 litres of boot space, so it’s ideal for carrying whatever you need for your summer pursuits.

CITROEN BERLINGO BUYERS' GUIDE

8. Audi Q7

Used deals from £23,199
Monthly finance from £470*

Now for something completely different. The Audi Q7 is a big SUV with an equally large sunroof. Fitted as standard to the Vorsprung model, or as an optional extra on others, the panoramic sunroof offers the best of both worlds.

It’s split into two sections, with the front part opening or tilting to provide fresh air to the occupants in the front and middle rows. The rear part is fixed, but it prevents the passengers in the third row from feeling claustrophobic.

At £1,850, it was an expensive upgrade when the Q7 was new, but it shouldn’t add much, if anything to the cost of a used example. Rain or shine, that’s a win-win situation.

AUDI Q7 BUYERS' GUIDE

 

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