Used test – affordable convertibles: Audi A3 vs Peugeot 308 vs Volkswagen Golf

With spring in the air, a used convertible is a tempting prospect, and these three family-friendly four-seaters shouldn’t break the bank

Words By What Car? team

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Used convertible group test

Our Verdict

Each three of these cars has something to recommend it, so the chances are you won’t regret choosing either of them with which to enjoy the long, lazy days of summer.

The Peugeot 308 CC, for example, has the biggest boot, the quietest, smoothest engine, and protects its occupants well against wind buffeting. It’s also by far the cheapest to buy, and should lose you the least cash come resale time; what’s more, it’s the least expensive to service, too, and it enjoys a respectable reputation for reliability.

However, cheapest does not always equal best, and indeed, that’s the case here. The 308 doesn’t drive as well as the opposition and it’s far more cramped in the back. What’s more, its higher tax and running costs make a dent in the financial good sense it seems to offer. As such, while it’s a good bet if you’re buying on a budget, it has to finish a close third in this test.

The Volkswagen Golf and the Audi A3 are very similar cars beneath the skin, which means you’ll enjoy broadly similar benefits from both of them. Both are spacious, cheap to run and comfortable, though the Audi trades some of that comfort for agility. It also boasts the lowest fuel consumption here, not to mention arguably the classiest looks.

However, the Audi’s extra cost is high – too high, realistically, to make it recommendable over the Golf. What’s more, its poor rear visibility and lack of rear parking sensors make parking a bit of a struggle, and that firm ride isn’t entirely becoming of the practical, sensible convertible it's supposed to be.

Which means the Golf takes victory here. Granted, its engine note can get a little rough at times, and isn’t as much fun to drive as the Audi.

But it does at least handle more tidily than the Peugeot; combined with its classier interior, faster roof and better fuel consumption, that makes it worth the price premium over the French car. And while the Golf isn’t quite as rounded a package as the Audi, it is – as you’d expect – incredibly similar. That it’s available for significantly less cash should therefore fill you with the joys of spring.

Read our review of the latest Audi A3 Cabriolet

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Also consider:

1st – Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet

For Comfortable ride; classy, roomy interior; reasonable price

Against Most body roll; rough engine note

Verdict A fine convertible that won’t cost the earth to buy and run

Rated 4 out of 5

Read the full used Volkswagen Golf review

Find a used Volkswagen Golf for sale in the What Car? Classifieds

2nd – Audi A3 Cabriolet

For Agile handling; high fuel economy; fast roof; space for four

Against High price; costly depreciation; no standard parking sensors; firm ride

Verdict Quieter and more nimble than the Golf, but not worth the extra cost

Rated 4 out of 5

Read the full used Audi A3 review

Find a used Audi A3 for sale in the What Car? Classifieds

3rd – Peugeot 308 CC

For Little road or engine noise; unruffled cockpit; biggest boot; low price

Against Slow roof; vague steering; too much body flex with roof down

Verdict The budget option, and a decent one too, but not the best

Rated 3 out of 5

Read the full used Peugeot 308 review

Find a used Peugeot 308 for sale in the What Car? Classifieds

Specifications: Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet 1.6 TDI 105 SE

Engine size 1.6-litre diesel

List price when new Β£23,245

Price today Β£8500

Power 103bhp@4400rpm

Torque 184lb ft@1750rpm

0-60mph 12.4sec

Top speed 113mph

Fuel economy 64.2mpg (Official average)

CO2 emissions 117g/km

Specifications: Audi A3 Cabriolet 1.6 TDI 105 Sport

Engine size 1.6-litre diesel

List price when new Β£24,260

Price today Β£10,000

Power 103bhp

Torque 184lb ft

0-60mph 12.4sec

Top speed 112mph

Fuel economy 65.7mpg (Official average)

CO2 emissions 114g/km

Specifications: Peugeot 308 CC 1.6 e-HDI Active

Engine size 1.6-litre petrol/diesel

List price when new Β£23,565

Price today Β£7000

Power 110bhp

Torque 199lb ft

0-60mph 12.2sec

Top speed 117mph

Fuel economy 57.7mpg (Official average)

CO2 emissions 128g/km

Price today is based on a 2012 model with average mileage and full service history, correct at time of writing

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