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If you’re interested in buying a convertible, winter is the best season to find deals on new and used models. That’s because most drivers aren’t thinking about dropping the top in freezing temperatures. Even with the unpredictability of used car prices, you can find an excellent older convertible for under $15,000. We recommend a used Nissan 370Z Roadster for its engaging performance and reliability. Here are two of the best model years.

The 2010 Nissan 370Z Roadster is a steal for under $15K

Used Nissan 370Z convertible: 2010 Nissan 370Z Roadster
2010 Nissan 370Z Roadster | Nissan Motor Corporation

The 2010 Nissan 370Z was the first of its generation to offer a convertible body style. Both the convertible (aka roadster) and coupe pack the same engine, a V6 making 332 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque. This engine can harness 350 hp with NISMO tuning, an upgrade exclusively reserved for coupe models.

A six-speed manual transmission was standard, though some used models might have the available seven-speed automatic instead. The 2010 370Z could also be optioned with a sport suspension and a rev-matching system for smoother downshifts. The latter upgrade was a part of the Sport package, which also included sport-specced brakes and a limited-slip differential. 

Some test drivers didn’t appreciate the rigidity of the optional suspension. However, the 2010 Nissan 370Z still garnered high praise for its handling and acceleration. The two seats in the base model are reportedly short on support, so you might want to find a Touring convertible instead.

The 2010 Nissan 370Z Touring Roadster has leather-trimmed seats with standard heating and ventilation and an upgraded Bose sound system. Used models also might have the Navigation package, adding a GPS with optional voice commands and an iPod interface.

In addition, the 370Z Roadster features a power-folding soft top and a cover for the cargo area. Convertible models have the smallest trunk capacity, barely over 4 cubic feet. Regardless of the trim selection, expect plenty of hard plastic inside.

Also, the 2010 Nissan 370Z convertible has no advanced safety features, though traction and stability control are standard. The average base model costs around $12,059, and the Touring trim trends toward $13,194.

On top of all its other perks, the 2010 370Z boasts a perfect five-out-of-five reliability rating from J.D. Power.

The 2011 Nissan 370Z Roadster is another excellent convertible

For the 2011 model year, Nissan added a Gun Metallic exterior paint color and a backup camera for 370Z trims with the Navigation package. Nothing else changed, including the 370Z’s superb reliability score.

However, 2011 Nissan 370Z convertibles are typically more expensive than 2010 models. U.S. News says you could pay $18,358 for a fully loaded trim. Fortunately, it’s still possible to find modestly appointed roadsters for around $12,500.

Other excellent used convertibles under $15,000

If you can’t find a 2010 or 2011 Nissan 370Z Roadster in your area, U.S. News recommends a 2012 Chevy Camaro convertible. The base model costs only around $13,747 used on average and has a 323-hp V6.

Critics praised the 2012 Camaro’s handling and noted it offers more safety features than the most reliable Nissan 370Z models. The convertible Camaro has over 10 cubic feet of cargo space and full-leather seats in higher trims. 

The 2012 and 2013 Mazda MX-5 Miata are also worth considering, though J.D. Power gave them slightly lower reliability ratings than the 370Z and Camaro. Still, the Miata’s four-cylinder engine is peppy enough to provide zippy acceleration, and it earns better fuel economy than its V6 rivals.

Both the 2010 and 2011 Nissan 370Z prove you can have a blast without paying big bucks. With outstanding reliability ratings and only one minor recall to the 2011 model’s name, expect many more miles of fun from either roadster.