I’m looking for a four-seater convertible and have £20,000 to spend. I want something different to the run-of-the-mill options. What do you suggest?
Gabriel Turner, E-mail
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For: Rare sight in the UK, strong engine
Against: High prices, low-quality cabin
While Infiniti is popular in the US, it’s still a relatively unknown brand name in the UK. This means the G37 Convertible offers real exclusivity. The rear seats are a little cramped, but there’s room for smaller children.
You’ll have to stretch your budget a little, though: a 2010 car with 13,000 miles will cost around £21,000.
But that money gives you plenty of performance – the 3.7-litre V6 engine produces 315bhp and 0-60mph takes only 6.4 seconds. As well as offering impressive straight-line speed, the G35 is a fine choice if you want decent handling, too.
That impressive engine does mean running costs are rather high, however. You’ll be lucky to get close to the claimed 24mpg, while road tax will cost you £475 per year. This makes it the costliest choice of the three.
For: Decent rear space, reliability record
Against: Poor economy, dull styling
The Lexus is well equipped and very comfortable, making it an excellent motorway cruiser. It also offers the best rear seats of the three here: unlike in the Infiniti and Fiat, there’s enough space in the back of the IS 250 for adults, not just small children.
There are plenty around at this price: a 59-plate model with 24,000 miles on the clock will leave around £1,000 change from your budget. Higher-mileage cars can be snapped up for less than £17,000.
There’s not much variety, with just the one engine available. The 2.5-litre V6 petrol produces 205bhp, but feels a little lacklustre. And like the Infiniti, fuel economy will be quite poor.
For: Distinctive looks, fun to drive
Against: Hard ride, not a full soft-top
Its 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine makes 135bhp. This performance comes at a cost, though, as the ride is very firm. The automatic gearbox is also best avoided, as it’s jerky in both full auto and manual mode.
What the Abarth does have in its favour is cost. It’s the cheapest to buy out of the three cars here, with list prices starting at £16,861. Claimed fuel economy of 43.5mpg is far superior to the Lexus and Infiniti, while annual road tax comes in at only £155.
As in the standard 500, space in the back is limited, so you’ll have to choose your passengers carefully – although there’s at least as much room as in the G37.