5 Cool Convertibles for a Hot Summer

Last Updated Jun 10, 2011 8:39 AM EDT

A little warm weather and the sight of other people whizzing by with the top down may just spark that old convertible craving. If you've decided this is your year for a droptop, there are great choices out there.

Unlike small, high-mileage cars now in short supply in the aftermath of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, you will find a good selection of these stylish convertibles, sometimes selling below the factory invoice price. If you are hearing that convertible calling, get out there and make the best deal that you can. Four of these five are selling for less than $30,000-some much less.

Here are five great convertibles that I like and which have been praised by other reviewers as well:

Chevrolet Camaro
Chevrolet's revival of its Camaro muscle car has been a big hit, outselling rivals from Ford and Dodge. New this year, the sleek convertible version offers the same power and sharp handling as the coupe.

The top, which raises or lowers in 20 seconds, comes in comely contrasting colors (tan over black, for instance). If you choose the 312 horsepower V-6 engine, even fuel economy is decent, rated at 17 mpg in the city and 28 on the highway. (The 426-horsepower optional V-8 is rated at 16 city, 24 highway.) The V-6 1LT version of the convertible is selling as low as $28,915, according to pricing service TrueCar.com. That is $625 below the dealer's invoice price.

Next: Ford Mustang

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    Jerry Edgerton, author of Car Shopping Made Easy, has been covering the car beat since Detroit companies dominated the U.S. market. The former car columnist for Money magazine and Washington correspondent for Business Week, Edgerton specializes in finding the best deals on wheels and offering advice on making your car last.