Three of the best - convertibles

We British have an odd relationship with convertibles. On one hand we see them as too smug and shouty, but on the other hand, we have the highest rate of ownership in Europe, despite a completely inappropriate climate. Still, on days like these, who wouldn't want one as a runabout? Here's three that hit the mark for fun and style, and still squeeze into the (vaguely) affordable bracket.

Mercedes Benz SLK (above)
The SLK kicked off the trend for folding metal hardtops. Launching this summer, the new version features what it calls Magic Sky Control – a glass paneled roof that goes from see-through to dark at the touch of a button by applying an electric current to the tint. It’s a great gimmick but the real pull is its ability to double as a fun runaround and a solid motorway cruiser when the sun doesn’t shine. And over here, that’s kind of important. All this at an entry-level price. £31K

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Fiat 500C (above)
More a full-length sunroof than a bona fide convertible and the effect can feel more like an open tin can, in a good way. It might not seem the most masculine, but this car has charm by the bucket load and it’s hard not to feel like an extra from a Mastroianni film, even when stuck on the A40. When the rain comes, the pattering on the canvas roof merely adds to the atmosphere. £13K


Mazda MX-5 (above)
Already a modern classic, now 20 years old and into its third incarnation, the MX-5 still wins on driving pleasure. It’s not the quickest but when the roof is down its rear-wheel drive capabilities and agile handling are more than enough to evoke the spirit of English country-lane driving in a Japanese chassis. £18K