Roseville, Calif. – In case you hadn’t noticed, there are fewer convertibles on the road these days. Maybe the appeal of driving a car with the top down on a beautiful, sunny day is no longer considered one of life’s most enjoyable guilty pleasures.
The Toyota Solara, Volvo C60 and Chrysler 200 were all once offered as convertibles. The bad news for convertible lovers is all three have been discontinued.
Despite the recent loss of these three, a new one has emerged – and it’s a good one, too. Buick debuts a convertible for the first time in more than two decades. The 2016 Buick Cascada is a stylish, compact soft-top convertible that has many strong qualities.
Although plenty of convertible lovers enjoy models like the two-seat Mazda Miata, the Cascada brings more to the plate. It’s a four-seat convertible that can actually accommodate two people in the back seat. We’re not talking big people, but two kids will enjoy a comfortable fit.
Appearance is important to convertible owners. If it doesn’t look cool, no one is likely to buy. The Cascada coup features a wide, sleek design that possesses definite eye appeal. It has the classic Buick grille, wraparound tail lamps and sculptured sides. The Cascada closely resembles the Opel, a General Motors product in its European division.
Although criticized for its performance by some auto experts, that’s not the case here. The front-wheel drive Cascada performed well during the week of test driving. Its lone engine is a turbocharged 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine that generates 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque.
2016 Buick Cascada
- Performance: turbocharged 1.6-liter, four cylinder, 200 horsepower
- Mileage estimate: 20-27 mpg
- Price estimate: $33,065 to $36,065
- Warranty: 4 years/50,000 miles; drivetrain: 6 years/70,000 miles; roadside assistance: 6 years/70,000; corrosion: 6 years/unlimited
But take note that this is a heavy, 4,000-pound car that has been clocked going 0-60 in 8.6 seconds, which is modest for the class. The gas mileage is a bit underwhelming as well, getting between 20-27 mpg.
Convertible enthusiasts love the fun factor in their driving and the Cascada will deliver. It has a sporty feel and handles curves adroitly. It’s a good highway cruiser and provides a quiet ride, even with the top down. And the top comes down quick – 17 seconds and can be lowered or raised at speeds up to 31 mph.
While overall the Cascada receives high marks, it does come up short concerning interior design and features. The cabin is surprisingly not very progressive. The touchscreen is an old design that won’t appeal to younger drivers who like the latest gadgetry. There are way too many buttons, making it difficult to remember which one does what.
Even though the front seats offer some comfort, on long drives the leather upholstery can eventually feel stiff and the padding is on the thin side. The trunk is better than many convertibles, offering 13.4 cubic feet of space when the top is up and 9.8 cubic feet in convertible mode.
Both the Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang also offer convertibles models and are competition for the Cascada. So are upscale models like the BMW 2 Series and the Audi A3.
Overall, there’s lots of upside with the new Cascada, an attractive, fun-loving convertible that delivers a quality ride.