Buick Cascada Test Drive
It has been about 3 years since we have seen the first pictures of the Cascada. As an Opel.
I remember thinking it was a great looking car. And that GM should bring it over as a Buick.
Well, it took a while for them to do it. (3 years is quite a long time.)
So now we have this “new” Buick that is actually a 3 year old model.
But. It still looks great. (Almost futuristic from some angles) I think it is one of the best looking convertible out there. New design or not.
(A couple of people have actually asked me what it was. And I got a few thumbs up while driving!)
I only wish the translation into a Buick had come with a new, more expressive grille.
As it is, the front end is the most boring part of the car.
Also, the US version only comes with giant 20 inch wheels. Even though I am always for “big wheels”, 20 inches seems a bit much on this car.
I really think 19 would have been plenty…
Inside, everything looks fine and feels very solid and well but together.
I also really like the fact that the edge of the windshield is pretty far from your face. So you can really enjoy the car as a convertible.
And the integrated sun shade is a really nice touch. They usually stick out.
The back seat is surprisingly roomy. I am about 5 feet 11 inches and like driving far from the wheel, yet there was enough space for another adult behind me.
Something that is much harder to find in a Mustang or Camaro.
The new Audi A3 Convertible is also much smaller than this.
Another nice touch is the fully automatic power top switch. One for the top and one (one touch) for all 4 windows.
Now for the stuff that looks a bit “old”…
The center part of the dash is very similar to the one in the Verano and Regal. Which makes sense since the Cascada is based on the previous generation Opel Astra (Just like the Verano).
But newer Buicks and Opels now have a very different, simpler and more elegant design.
That sea of button is very “5 years ago”.
But in reality, everything does work fine and is pretty easy to get used to. So it’s no big deal.
The screen is also buried in there. Like in a cave. And its interface is also “older GM” stuff.
Again, it works fine. But it’s no “Apple CarPlay”.
The seats are very comfortable. Even in the back. Where the angle is just fine. Unlike other convertibles where the back part is almost vertical.
The “premium” stereo sounds just fine. Although calling it “premium” might be a bit of a stretch.
(A Bose option would be nice)
The dials themselves are nice. But these rather cheap looking plasti-chrome surrounds are, again, also a bit old looking. ( Pontiac Vibe ?)
And that little red screen feels like an older German car too.
The fold out key is also another old timey detail. No push button here. (More like a 2006 VW.)
The Cascada is very quiet. All the time. Idle is almost silent. And the engine always feels super smooth.
The 6 speed auto is very quick to react. And also very smooth and unobtrusive .
I had read some other reviewers complaining about the lack of power.
As far as I am concerned, there is plenty of power.
I had up to 3 people on board, and the car never felt slow. Ever.
The ride is fine for about 90% of the time.
But when the road gets rough, these 20 inch tires can be pretty tough. (And noisy .)
Which is too bad. I don’t think anyone will see this as a sports car, so I’m not sure why they decided on such huge wheels and sporty tires.
The Cascada is rated at 20/27MPG.
I got about 21/22 in the city. And had no problem getting 30 on the freeway.
These are pretty good numbers, but nothing earth shattering.
Especially considering it uses a small 1.6 Liter engine.
(The much more powerful 2.0 Liter Mustang and Camaro are rated at 22/31.)
Buick lists the Audi A3 convertible as the Cascada’s main competition.
But the Cascada is actually a much larger car. By 10 inches.
(It is even longer than the A5 convertible, by 3 inches.)
I think GM only compares them because of price. (And there aren’t many 4 seater convertibles around anymore…)
The Buick being about $2500 cheaper.
For a larger car with more power.
I haven’t driven the A3. But the design is so generic and boring it makes me sad when I see one.
I sat in a couple of them and don’t really like the interior either. Nothing feels really “premium”. (Same thing with the Mercedes CLA)
Everything in the Buick feels very solid. The heavy doors almost have a Mercedes feel to them.
The A3 is much more a VW than an Audi.
And that 1.8 Liter VW engine isn’t as smooth and quiet as the Cascada’s 1.6 Liter.
As I don’t really care about brands, my choice would definitely be the Cascada.
Here is all you need to know about the car I drove for a week.
Just click on it. ( I dare you)