Buy/Drive/Burn: Affordable Convertibles From 2005

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
buy drive burn affordable convertibles from 2005

This edition of Buy/Drive/Burn was inspired by the comments some of you left on the recent QOTD Crapwagon Garage post on coupes. Though roadsters and convertibles were off limits there, the conversation turned to them wistfully. Don’t worry, convertible week is coming.

In the meantime, we’ve got a ragtop from 2005 to burn. Which one will it be?

About a decade ago, consumers had more choice for fun and affordable ragtop rides than they do today. Even with a strict price limit at $25,000, fun in the sun was yours for the taking. One of today’s contenders even has the engine in the middle.

Mazda Miata LS

It’s the one you knew would be here for sure. 2005 was the final model year for the second generation (NB) Miata, as the simple roadster was replaced by the larger and more rounded NC generation. Always a value leader, both the base and up-level LS trims came with a 1.8-liter inline-four producing 142 horsepower. All those horses go to the rear wheels via the five-speed manual. The LS trim netted buyers a six speaker Bose stereo, cruise control, and leather seats. Yours for $24,903.

Ford Mustang V6 Premium

The odd man out in our affordable trio, the Ford Mustang gives much more size and power than the other entrants, at the expense of fuel economy and additional weight. The fifth generation Mustang was brand new for the 2005 model year, and one can easily recall how the chunky, retro styling was all the rage. The Premium trim was one level up from basic Deluxe, but had the same 4.0 Cologne V6 and five-speed manual transmission. 210 horsepower was found underfoot, and Premium trims gained a power driver seat and upgraded stereo. This pony car asked just $24,815.

Toyota MR2

The roadster generation everyone forgets, the final MR2 showed up for the last time at North American Toyota dealers in 2005. Two different trims were differentiated by the manual transmission offered: standard five-speed on the lower end, or a premium priced six-speed auto-manual. The 1.8-liter engine produced 138 horsepower in the lightweight cabriolet. The five-speed version (today’s choice) did without cruise control, metal trim on the shift knob, or satellite controls on the steering wheel. This last chance MR2-nity (ugh) asked $25,145.

Which one gets the Buy and which one Burns?

[Images: Mazda, Ford, Toyota]

Join the conversation
2 of 54 comments
  • Dantes_inferno Dantes_inferno on Jun 18, 2018

    Buy the Miata & MR-2 Drive the Miata & MR-2 Crash test the Mustang. Then burn it to the ground.

  • Arach Arach on Jun 18, 2018

    This one is too easy. I'm jumping on everyone else's bandwagon: Buy the MR-2 Drive the Miata Burn the Mustang, but only because you have to burn one. there's no real hatred, anger, or dislike towards the mustang, but rather compared to the three... it is still depreciating, its "fine", but you know its not the V8 version, the engine was really oudated and it doesn't drive all that well, but its fine for the price.

  • Lou_BC I'm not too picky about gloves. If I'm concerned about heavy oil or grease contamination, I'll donn nitrile gloves. Heavier work and I'll use "old school" leather gloves, fake leather, synthetic or whatever is available.
  • Dusterdude Getting the popcorn ready . May be a good plan for strikers to make sure they own good winter jackets for future pickets .
  • MRF 95 T-Bird The term fastback is more applicable. Take the 67 full sized Chevrolet lineup. Impala hardtop coupe as well as the fastback coupe.
  • Jeff GM currently holds 16% market share in the US with GM's peak market share in 1962 of 50.7%. Current market share for Stellantis in the US is 12% and Ford is 13.4%.
  • Chiefmonkey Honda just cuts too many corners. There's no reason why the base Accord should have a 4 speaker stereo lol. It's a $28,000 midsize sedan, not a Mitsubishi Mirage! Not to diss the Mirage it's a great car for what it is. And what's up with Honda's obsession with the dullest most spartan looking black cloth or leather interiors? Literally every other automaker I can think of offers two, three, four possibilities. If I order even the top trim accord in the blue paint, I am limited to a black interior...why???? Strangely, if I order the white paint, the possibilities expand overwhelmingly to two: black, or dentist's office gray (which clashes with white.) There's zero rhyme or reason to it. Just a cheap, corner cutting company.