In search of a hot convertible to show off
Totalcarmagazine's own Buyer's guide
Dear Friendly Car Dealer,
I am a 39 year-old dad of two and a happy owner of a diesel Octavia estate. Every now and then I get the urge to part with the Skoda, then realize it wouldn’t make any sense; it has a low consumption, you can cram loads of stuff in it, and it never breaks down. When I do need to spend on it, I never fork out more than a couple of thousand forints. So, I’ve come to realize I should buy something hot to go with it. I’ve never had car that was a looker before, but hell, the time has obviously come to get me one.
The car needn’t have many PS, but driving it should be a pleasure, generate a lot of envy, and preferably be a convertible or at least a targa. Browsing through your posts of late a Mazda MX5 would be the answer, but I wouldn’t be able to do the school run in that. I need seats at the back. The E36 popped up in my mind as well, but to be honest, the image of the BMW subculture gives me the creeps. I have no intention whatsoever to become one of the gang. I have a budget of about €6,500 and as I’d buy the car to supplement the Octavia (and the missus has her own Yaris), I couldn’t be bothered less by its consumption and running costs. What do you reckon?
The BMW would be the obvious solution. It even has decent sized back seats. Personally, I dig BMWs, especially the convertibles. I know what you mean by not wanting to be a part of the BMW gang, I wouldn’t want to, either, but if you act like a normal person you can avoid being labelled. Convertibles generally don’t come with back seats of a decent size, as the genre isn’t about driving the kids around but about having a cool shape, which you can only achieve by having two front seats only. For the money you could get yourself a BMW E 46, which is and looks a lot better than the E 36, and provided it has a decent engine, it even runs well.BMWs tend to look good as four-seaters, but if you can’t make peace with the BMW image, you could still go for an Audi, the Peugeot 206 CC, the 307 CC, the Opel Astra Bertone, the VW Golf, the VW Beetle, the Mercedes CLK and SL, the Mitsubishi Colt, the Saab 9.3, the Renault Megane, or the PT Cruiser and the Volvo C 70. Some of these are decidedly girly, some have symbolic space an the back, but to me, most of them lack the wow-factor. This is only my opinion, but an E 46 gives you a lot more than those.
And now for something completely different: how about an Alfa Romeo GTV? OK, it’s no convertible, but it’s gorgeous, has back seats, is not too spacious, but hey, your kids are still little. Regarding the engine, the 2.0 has a balance shaft which could pose problems. The turbo version is better, but nothing beats a good NA engine. I’d go for the 3.0 V6 24 V version; it has the will, it revs well, and is even good to look at. It could just be the most beautiful engine ever made. Nope, no convertible, but the Alfa Spider made of the same body has no back seats whereas the GTV has style.
Friendly Car Dealer
"Dear Friendly Car Dealer" is a regular column in the Hungarian edition of Totalcar Magazine. Our Agony Aunt has been trading cars for over 20 years and knows just about everything there is to know about used cars. Should you have any questions for our expert, please send your email to firstname.lastname@example.org