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Thursday 29 September 2016
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Test Drive: 2016 Buick Cascada Review

Test Drive: 2016 Buick Cascada Review

Today I bring you the brand new 2016 Buick Cascada convertible. 

The only thing is, it’s not really new, it is an Opel that General Motors introduced in Europe in 2013.  It is also called the Cascada there, and the word itself means waterfall in Spanish.

As you can see, it is an outwardly pretty car with modern, sleek lines, a beautiful set of 20” wheels, and honestly the car looks good with the top up or down, which is pretty rare.  It has been 25 years since Buick offered a roadster, and this is truly a global car.  The engine was produced in Hungary, the transmission in Mexico, and the final assembly point was in Poland.  This is, in fact, the first car ever imported to the U.S. from Poland.


Under the hood, you’ll find a 1.6-liter 4 cylinder turbo engine that is putting out 200-horses and is hooked to a 6-speed automatic transmission.  That’s not a lot of horsepower for an almost 4000-pound car, so don’t expect rapid acceleration, it’s a little sluggish until you get up to driving speed.  The Cascada is front-wheel drive with no options for different engines or all-wheel drive.

As you move to the interior, the leather seats are different from anything I’ve seen before.  They are not ugly by any stretch, in fact, I kind of like them, although they are not as soft as some I’ve driven.  The rest of the interior features mostly soft materials, and an abundance of stitching.  All in all, the interior works for me.

At first glance of the controls, I thought WOW, that is busy.  If I counted correctly, there were 46 controls to push or turn.  Everything runs from a 7” color touchscreen that features Buick Intellilink.  You get apps to give you real-time info including weather, gas stations, movie times, etc.  It also gives you Bluetooth, a Wifi hotspot, and this is where you activate the navigation system.

The Cascada has more of a back seat than most convertibles.  It’s not huge, but two average sized adults could ride reasonably comfortable.  I love that the front seats electronically move out of the way to help with rear passenger ingress and egress, that makes it much easier.  I also like that the front seat belts do not interfere getting in the back seat.  Once people are seated in front, electronic seatbelt presenters make it easy to buckle up.  One complaint on the interior is the cupholders are very hard to reach and are virtually worthless, as is the console.

My Deep Sky Blue review car is the Premium series, which is the top of the line of only two choices.  The only option on this car is the color, which is $395.  Everything else is standard equipment, including rear view camera, front and rear parking alerts, forward collision alert, and lane departure warning.

Also free is remote start, power seats, heated front seats and steering wheel, a premium sound system, HID headlights, and fog lights.

Let’s talk about the cloth convertible top, it’s one of the real bright spots of the car.  There are no handles to latch or unlatch, the top does everything for you from a switch on the center console.  The top is heavily insulated and with the top up, Cascada is unusually quiet for a convertible.  The top goes up or down in just 17 seconds and can be opened or closed at speeds up to 31 miles per hour.  A hard shell cover leaves no gaps at all when the top is down and makes for a really sleek side view of the car.

As is always the case with retractable convertible tops, you lose some of the trunk space, but this car has divider of sorts that allows you to put things under it, and you can fold the back seat down from the trunk to slide things through.  All in all, for a ragtop, the trunk is fairly usable.

Cascada rides and drives well with minimal torque-steer.  In my view, this is not a sports car, it is a cruiser, and it makes a really nice one.  This car has a more solid feel than most convertibles I have driven, including some that cost twice as much.

One major concern is that the back window is incredibly small and hard to see out of.  To make it worse, you cannot get blind spot monitoring on this car, which is sorely needed.

Fuel economy is just OK at 20 in town, 27 on the highway, and Buick priced this car right.  MSRP on this loaded version is just over $37,000. I expected it to be higher.

If you watch my reviews often, I always tell you how a vehicle stacks up against the competition.  One interesting thing here is this car has no competitors.  Audi A3 and the BMW 2 series convertibles are smaller and more expensive, so that’s not a good comparison.  The Chrysler 200 and Volvo C70 stacked up best, but both those have gone to the great junkyard in the sky.  The Buick Cascada is in a class all by itself, at least for now.

I love the looks of the car, it’s a head turner, but it is a bit of a mixed bag for me.  I wish it had more horsepower, the rear window and lack of blind spot warning is a concern, and I was surprised there was no push-button start, but if you want a ragtop with a decent back seat for under $40,000, check the Cascada out at your nearest Buick dealer.

  • What I liked most:  Exterior looks, and the convertible top.  
  • What I would change: Make blind spot monitoring standard equipment.
  • MSRP: Base price $36,065, as equipped $37,385.
  • Fuel Economy: 20 City/27 Highway, 23 Combined.
  • Fuel Tank: 14.3 Gallons
  • Dimensions:  185” long/72.4” wide/56.8” high.
  • Weight: 3979 Pounds.
  • Trailer Towing:  N/A
  • Miles When Tested:  330 miles.
  • Final Assembly Point:  Gliwice, Poland.
  • 2016 Cascada in a Few Words:  A bit quirky in many ways, but a great value and a pretty convertible. 
  • Warranty:  4-year/50,000 mile bumper-to-bumper, 5-year/70,000 mile powertrain coverage, with roadside assistance, two free maintenance visits.
  • Manufacturers website: Buick