Buy/Drive/Burn: The Cheapest Convertibles in America for 2021

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis

Buy/Drive/Burn continues its cheapest of series today, as convertibles follow up the vans, trucks, and sedans we’ve covered already.

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 Cooper

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.

Chevrolet Camaro

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]

Corey Lewis
Corey Lewis

Interested in lots of cars and their various historical contexts. Started writing articles for TTAC in late 2016, when my first posts were QOTDs. From there I started a few new series like Rare Rides, Buy/Drive/Burn, Abandoned History, and most recently Rare Rides Icons. Operating from a home base in Cincinnati, Ohio, a relative auto journalist dead zone. Many of my articles are prompted by something I'll see on social media that sparks my interest and causes me to research. Finding articles and information from the early days of the internet and beyond that covers the little details lost to time: trim packages, color and wheel choices, interior fabrics. Beyond those, I'm fascinated by automotive industry experiments, both failures and successes. Lately I've taken an interest in AI, and generating "what if" type images for car models long dead. Reincarnating a modern Toyota Paseo, Lincoln Mark IX, or Isuzu Trooper through a text prompt is fun. Fun to post them on Twitter too, and watch people overreact. To that end, the social media I use most is Twitter, @CoreyLewis86. I also contribute pieces for Forbes Wheels and Forbes Home.

More by Corey Lewis

Join the conversation
2 of 50 comments
  • Mopar4wd Mopar4wd on Mar 11, 2021

    Buy Camaro yeah gin slit windows are annoying but they really are great driving cars. Drive Mini I guess Burn Miata over hyped and very uncomfortable for taller people like me. But the real answer here is a base wrangler

  • Zerog Zerog on Mar 11, 2021


  • Blueice Patient 28, sorry, but it is Oktoberfest. Bring a kegof Kraut beer and we will 50% you.
  • Bd2 Probably Toyota, Hyundai is killing them these days.
  • Bd2 Japan is evil, stop buying their vehicles. I hope TTAC has a holiday for PEARL HARBOR.
  • Wolfwagen If Isuzu could update this truck and keep the cost between $25K - $30K they would sell like ice pops on dollar day in a heat wave.
  • 3SpeedAutomatic I'm at that the inflection point of do I continue to putting money in a 12 yr old SUV entering a heavy maintenance cycle or start shopping.I have noticed comparable new SUVs with $2.5k knocked off the sticker price, but still with the shenanigans of $300 for nitrogen in the tires. However, I have noticed the same 2 yr old SUV which are only $4.5K less than the original sticker price. Usually the used cars price should be 35% to 40% less. This tells me there's a stronger market for used as opposed to new. Part of this is to handle the monthly note. Considering installments of 72 months, you'll never pay the beast off. Just wait till the end of the model year which is just two months away, and I think the comparable new SUV will come with larger markdowns. May not be the color you want, but there are deals to be made. 🚗🚗🚗