Perhaps it might be too early to start thinking of going topless.

Then again, maybe not.

Dreaming about the days when we don’t need to crank the heat to full blast in the house, or bundle up to go outside to shovel snow are warming thoughts. And so is the thought of open air driving. Here are five convertibles under $30K that might help beat the winter blahs and get you thinking about the sun.

Fiat 500C – $16,495

As if the Fiat 500 wasn’t cute enough, there’s also a drop top version to give it even more character. The Pop trim has a starting price of $16,495, whereas the Lounge trim is still starts under $20K at $19,895. Both come with a 1.4L, 4-cylinder MultiAir engine, which produces 101 horsepower and 98 lb-ft of torque. Okay, I know that’s not an incredible amount of ponies but, hey, we’re all equal is stop-and-go traffic, right?

To catch the attention of fellow commuters, the 500C comes with the option of 3 canvas top colours and 14 different exterior hues.

You can even retract the roof while driving. Push the power-operated canvas roof button once and it will open the top to the midway position at speeds up to 96 km/hr. Push it again, and it retracts behind the rear head restraints at speeds up to 80 km/hr.

AS Fiat 500C

VW Beetle Convertible – $29,075

One of the most recognizable vehicles on the road is the VW Beetle. And its convertible version offers a very similar silhouette as its coupe sibling, thus helping it easily be spotted.

The latest generation of German convertible is better than ever. Boasting more trunk room (now rated at 201L as opposed to 141L) than the previous two generations, a more “masculine” look and better driving dynamics.

There are two engines to choose from: a 1.8L, 4-cylidner that produces 170 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque, and a 2.0L, 4-cylinder turbocharged (TSI) model with 200 horsepower with the manual transmission (but 210hp with the optional automatic DSG) and 207 lb-ft of torque.

AS VW Beetle

Mazda MX-5 – $29,250

Given the title of the world’s most popular 2-seat sports car, it’s not hard to see why. The front engine, rear-wheel drive Mazda MX-5 is a blast to drive. Ask anyone who has captained it.

Whether taking it out for a spin on the road or the track, this tiny two-door has nothing but good times woven into its sheet metal.

The Mazda MX-5’s manual vinyl top takes only a few seconds to drop down, allowing its driver and passenger to experience a completely new world of topless driving.

Under its pint-size hood is a 2.0L, 4-cylinder engine with an output of 167 horsepower and 140 lb-ft of torque.

There’s also the option to outfit the MX-5 with various transmissions: a 5-speed manual, a 6-speed manual, a 6-speed automatic or a 6-speed automatic with paddle shifters, there’s fun to be had by all.

AS MX-5

Mustang Convertible – $29,499

Under the hood of this American muscle car, the Ford Mustang’s 3.7L, V6 engine will give you the grunt and glory of 305 horsepower. You’ll also be able to fit four people inside along with 272L of cargo around back.

Despite the healthy dose of ponies under the hood, wrangling this convertible is anything but a chore. With either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission, you’d be pleasantly surprised as to how gracious this ‘Stang can be to drive. Then again, if you want to fire this rear-wheel drive vehicle up, you might just giggle in the process.

2014 Ford Mustang

MINI Convertible – $29,500

There’s something to be said about driving a MINI. It’s unlike any other experience out there. It feels like driving a street-legal go-kart, but without the abrasiveness that go-karts can have. Its pristine handling and fabulous gearbox only enhance the experience. Granted, visibility out the rear with the top up isn’t fabulous, and there isn’t a lot of trunk space (but there still is room for four!), those are secondary details. Take the 121 horsepower MINI Convertible for a spin and fall in love with things that come in small packages.

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Contact: alexandra [dot] straub [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

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