With summer fast approaching, many of you may be considering a convertible to make the most of the British sunshine. And with the UK buying more drop-tops than any other European country, there's certainly plenty to choose from. The best of the current bunch – and the winner of the 2013 CarBuyer Best Convertible – is easily the Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet.
Based on the already-brilliant previous generation Golf MkVI, the cabriolet version is stylish, refined, reliable and good to drive. All of this, added to low running costs and strong resale values, makes it a car that can rule both head and heart. The neat fabric roof folds neatly in only 9.5 seconds and at speeds of up to 18mph. It looks great and, unlike many hardtop rivals, still offers a 250-litre boot with the lid safely stowed.
All the normal VW Group traits can be found inside. A beautifully finished interior and logically laid-out dashboard are the first things you notice, while a decent driving position and supportive seats make getting comfortable very easy indeed. Refinement is top-notch, too – with roof-down conversation possible even at motorway speeds.
The best all-round engine is the smooth and powerful 1.4-litre TSI petrol SE. It's surprisingly economical, and thanks to a turbocharger, feels adequately fast, too. There's a smaller 1.2-litre turbo petrol and a range of frugal diesels – with the 1.6-litre TDI diesel offering remarkable 64.2mpg fuel economy and CO2 emissions of just 117g/km. Mid-spec SE cars feature cruise control, climate control and parking sensors as standard, while a three-year service plan can be included for just £299.
Safety and reliability are all of typically high Volkswagen standards – the Golf Cabriolet gets electronic stability and anti-skid control, as well a host of airbags and special anti-roll bars. What's more, its hatchback sibling performs consistently well in the Auto Express Driver Power survey, proving owners are a happy and well-satisfied bunch – further cementing the Golf Cabriolet's position at the top of the drop-top tree.