With spring just around the corner, the national interest level in convertible vehicles is sure to rise. Consumers in the market for a moderately priced used convertible in New Jersey may want to take a look at the Volkswagen New Beetle, the Mazda Miata and the Ford Mustang Convertible, three of the most affordable drop top cars manufactured in 2003.
The Volkswagen Beetle is the most moderately priced car in its class. The long-awaited convertible version reappeared on the scene in 2003 after a 6-year hiatus. It features a power-folding cloth top, a rollover protection system and a six-speed automatic transmission, the first of its kind in convertibles costing less than $30,000, according to Edmunds.com.
The New Beetle is more of a cruising vehicle. With a standard 115-horsepower, ULEV-certified 2.0-liter V4 engine, it goes from 0-60 miles per hour in about 11 seconds, Inside Line reports.
For car buyers looking for a bit more power, the convertible can be purchased as a performance-oriented 180-horsepower Turbo S, which is available as a five-speed manual or a six-speed automatic.
“The Beetle offers a unique combination of safety, fun and upscale features for its price range,” reports the news source. In 2003, a brand new Beetle convertible was priced at $21,025, making it the least expensive drop top on the market.
The 2003 Mazda Miata is a 2-seat sports car that comes standard with a manual folding soft top, although a removable hard top is available.
Introduced in the late spring of ’03 were three new versions of the Miata. The Club Sport, which is designed for racing enthusiasts, has no power steering or air conditioning. Mazda also rolled out the Shinsen version and the LS – two higher end models with unique trim.
All three Miatas come with a 142-horsepower 4-cylinder engine with a 5-speed manual transmission or an optional 4-speed automatic.
“It is more fun to drive a slow car fast than a fast car slow,” says Edmunds. “The Miata defines the spirit of the modern roadster.” In 2003, a new Mazda Miata cost $22,363.
Falling just behind the Miata in terms of price is the 2003 Ford Mustang Convertible, which is “an absolute hoot to drive,” says Automotive.com. “The Mustang is fun to drive, fun to be seen in, quick, fast, and pretty loud, with excellent handling.”
The base Mustang comes with a 190-horsepower 3.8-liter V6, but the higher end GT model is available with a 260-horsepower 4.6-liter V8, making it one of the most powerful convertibles in its class. Car buyers can choose from a five-speed manual transmission or a 4-speed automatic.
The 2003 Ford Mustang Convertible is a bit dated in the interior and isn’t as easy on the eyes as the Miata or Beetle, but it offers a stronger on-road performance. Brand new Mustangs in 2003 cost just over $24,000.