Awards

Convertible of the Year 2021: MINI Convertible

The MINI Convertible is the 2021 Auto Express Convertible of the Year, with the Audi A5 Cabriolet and Mazda MX-5 commended

Another year and it’s another win for the fun-loving MINI Convertible. It’s the fourth victory in a row for the brilliant British drop-top, which continues to provide a compelling blend of fun, value for money and wind-in-the-hair thrills.

With a fabric roof that can be lowered in just 18 seconds and at speeds of up to 19mph, the MINI allows you to make the most of any bursts of sunshine, and with the hood in place the Convertible is almost as snug and refined as the MINI hatch.

Better still, a recent update has sharpened the MINI’s lines, with new bumpers front and rear giving the car an even more purposeful stance. Inside, the rear seats are still cramped, but quality has been improved and the eight-inch touchscreen gets enhanced connectivity and crisper graphics. There’s also a digital instrument pack that helps bring the Brit baby up to date.

What remains unchanged is the model’s huge appetite for fun. Its quick steering and acrobatic agility will leave you grinning from ear to ear when tackling a favourite back road. Yes, the ride is a little firm, but it’s a small price to pay for the MINI’s fun-loving driving dynamics.

For ultimate high-octane thrills there’s either the 228bhp MINI JCW flagship or 175bhp Cooper S, but for most the 134bhp 1.5-litre Cooper delivers the best blend of performance and economy. However, all versions are affordable to run, with decent fuel economy and low emissions, plus the availability of great-value MINI service packs.

On this evidence the MINI is going to take some beating in this category. Best Convertible again in 2022? Don’t bet against it.

Best deal

MINI Convertible Cooper Sport (£26,005)

In hatchback form we’d strongly recommend one of the sportier options, but the standard Cooper model offers more than enough fun with the roof down. Sport trim adds an eye-catching bodykit and uprated dampers; expect to pay £340 per month on a three-year PCP deal with £2,600 put down up front.

Commended

Audi A5 Cabriolet

Audi A5 Cabriolet

If you want to bring the family along for some fresh-air thrills, then the A5 is a great choice. There’s room for four in its beautifully finished and well equipped interior, while refinement is almost coupé-like with the roof up. There’s also a great range of engines and Audi’s latest infotainment boasts excellent connectivity.

Mazda MX-5

Mazda MX-5

The world’s best-selling roadster remains as brilliantly appealing as ever. The purity of its front-engined, rear-wheel-drive layout means it’s hugely involving to drive, while its rorty naturally aspirated engines serve up a fine blend of performance and economy. It also looks great and is packed with kit.

New Car Awards 2021: the winners

Special edition of Auto Express

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