Summer's here and the sun is out in full force, leaving everyone hot and sticky. While the average Joe is melting to the vinyl seats of his '82 Corolla, wouldn't you love to whizz by in a red-hot convertible? Believe it or not, you can afford it. Check out these drop-tops that will help beat the heat, but -- thankfully -- not your budget.
Since its debut in 1964, the Mustang has been an American icon. With retro muscle-car styling and a mean snarl, the '09 pony is sure to turn heads. Combined with the 300-horspower V8 engine of the GT, the Mustang is one capable street machine. It even seats four and has a fair amount of trunk room -- perfect for road trips or weekends at the beach.
Interested? Act fast, as Ford is currently offering amazing deals on the new Mustang GT -- $3,500 cash back and zero interest for 60 months. Buy a 2008 model and save even more. (MSRP: $20,995 - $35,995)
The MINI Cooper's one-of-a-kind design garners plenty of attention and praise -- especially the convertible model, which allows drivers to drop the top with the simple push of a button on its key fob. What's more, the Cooper's top can be folded midway to create a sunroof. Add to that its zippy performance, cutting-edge audio options and EPA-estimated 28/37 mpg fuel economy, and the Cooper's ideal for those hot summer nights when all you want to do is cruise the strip.
At 1.9 percent APR financing for 36 months, MINI doesn't offer the best promotional discounts -- but at a base price that starts below $25K, the Cooper is still a great overall value. (MSRP: $18,550 - $28,550)
Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder
Despite its aggressive sports car design, the Eclipse Spyder is actually quite tame -- providing sufficient power for daily jaunts to the pool and, unlike a lot of sports cars, comfortable handling dynamics. Plus, its cool interior gizmos, impressive fit and finish, and easy-to-operate drop top make it a joy to drive.
Like the Mustang, this hot convertible can be financed for zero-percent interest for 60 months -- a definite steal. (MSRP: $20,249 - $30,149)
Originally designed for WWII combat, the Wrangler has since become a rugged all-American classic. While it's unlikely to command as much attention as the Solstice, it's sure to leave summertime adventure seekers envious of its off-road prowess and convertible soft or hard tops -- which allow for drivers to choose between different levels of sun exposure.
Though Chrysler -- Jeep's parent company -- has recently filed for bankruptcy and has announced plans to merge with Italian automaker Fiat, no plans have been made to drop the Jeep brand. In fact, the ailing auto market may actually provide an opportunity to land a great deal on a 2009 Wrangler. (MSRP: $20,710 - $32,090)
Sharing its platform with the costlier Saturn Sky, the Solstice combines entertaining performance with jaw-dropping style. And when buyers splurge for the performance-tuned GXP trim, it's sporty too. Best of all, the Solstice is available in two convertible body styles: a manual-folding soft top and a removable targa hard top, dubbed the Solstice coupe. Both are perfect for attracting attention at the beach (or in beach traffic).
Act fast...Pontiac is closing up shop -- which might not be such a bad thing. After all, GM still has to honor new warranties and you can negotiate a pretty substantial discount. (MSRP: $24,275 - $30,375)