Top 5 affordable summer cars

Summer is upon us and the best way to spend it is cruising around in one of these legendary affordable cars.

BMW Z3 roadster

The BMW Z3 roadster was a bold car when it launched in 1995 and it even appeared in the Bond-movie Golden Eye. Among car enthusiasts everyone has an opinion about the Z3, some love it and some hate it. Nevertheless it’s an affordable two-seater convertible that will be an icon, engines ranges from 1.8L to 3.0L where the 2.8L is reportedly the most fun. The Z3 was discontinued in 2002, and replaced by the Z4.

BMW Z3 summer car

BMW Z3 marketing photo from the 90:s (hence the hair cut and colors), photo by BMW.

Jaguar XK8

There are few cars I LOVE so much like the Jaguar XK8. When it was originally launched in 1996 it was intended for rich people driving to their summer house in… Nice.. But there is more to the Jaguar XK8, the lines are timeless and the XK8 looks like a piece of art, twenty years after it was released. The engine is a powerful V8 and the car was practically made for the autobahn, the difference from its German competitors is that it has a British grace to it. Older Jaguar XK8s are also quite cheap (yes there is a reason, it’s spelled maintenance), and there is even a convertible version. Go get one now!

Mazda MX5 roadster

The Mazda MX5 (or Miata if you are from the US) is one of the most iconic roadsters out there, it was launched in 1989 but have been updated continuously ever since. Today you can get an affordable MX 5 from the year 2000 for less than a Segway, and it’s only in one of them you look like a dork.

Mazda Miata summer car

Mazda Miata, MX-5 Mk1, Photo by Wil Stewart, Unsplash

Saab 9-3 convertible

For me growing up in Sweden Saab cars was as common as snow and IKEA, but there is a specific coolness about the 9-3 convertible from the 00: s. The design is still pretty strong and one thing that I always liked about Saab is that they never skimped on the engines, try getting an Aero version if you can and you will see what I mean.

VW Type 2 (Surf bus)

The VW Type 2 has a bit of a weird history. It was designed as a practical German car that could be a camper, transport van or family hauler. It was produced between 1949 and 2013 (VW kept a production plant in Brazil for quite some time). The irony of it all was that the practical German car was adopted by the surfers and hippie communities in the 70: s, and gained its legendary status. Although the credentials for being a summer car is sketchy, the engine is air cooled (prone to overheat) and the VW Type 2 does not offer any AC, but it looks cool!

VW type 2 surf bus, summer car

VW type 2 surf bus, photo by Mroux Bulikowska, Unsplash

I’m pretty sure someone will write me and ask why I didn’t include the Ford Mustang as an affordable summer car, it’s easy, they are not that affordable any more since prices have been going up.

Some cars that almost made this list were Fiat 500 and the Toyota FJ Cruiser. Both are cool summer rides, but compared to the above they simple came further down in terms of affordability. Share your favourite summer rides in the comments.

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