Nowadays, the selection of affordable convertibles that comfortably fit four people is scarce — which makes the Buick Cascada a great find indeed.
Imported from Europe by way of Buick’s Opel brand, the new 2018 model is a well made, good-looking car that is fun to drive, and comes fully loaded. The Cascada is Buick’s first drop top since the Reatta, which was produced from 1988 to 1991.
Driving around town, I got the distinct feeling that this midsize luxury convertible is truly designed for cruising — and a real treat for those who love an open-air experience.
For 2018, the Buick Cascada carries over largely unchanged, receiving some new paint and convertible-top colors. It is offered in three trim levels: Base, Premium, and Sport Touring, the latter of which I got to test drive. All trims come with largely the same equipment, with the Premium receiving a handful of upgrades, and the Sport Touring primarily being an appearance package.
Standard equipment for base models includes adaptive xenon headlights, foglights, rear-parking sensors, remote ignition, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, heated steering wheel, power-adjustable front seats, 50/50 split-folding rear seats, a seven-inch infotainment touchscreen, voice controls, rearview camera, OnStar, navigation, seven speakers, CD player, USB port, satellite radio, and an auxiliary audio input jack.
The range-topping Sport Touring trim level delivers a flat-bottom sport steering wheel and sport pedals that complement the black trim components. A black cloth top and five-spoke, 20-inch wheels finish off the exterior look. Opt for the Dark Effects package for the Sport Touring Cascada, and Summit White and Ebony Twilight Metallic are added to the mix of paint options.
Under the hood, the Cascada is a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, with a standard six-speed automatic transmission sending a good amount of power to the front wheels.
With regard to interior style and features, buyers can opt for an all-black interior, or go with a two-tone layout. And while the car may not be at the peak of perfection with regard to electronics, it offers an excellent sound.
The high front seats are a promising start for easy entry and exit. When it comes to comfort, the front seats are great for shorter trips, yet the rear seats could be a tad more ample for most adults. But if you don’t care too much about those points, it is a great option.
I certainly do like Cascada’s low levels of interior noise thanks to a well insulated soft top — and it is really easy to work, only requiring the touch of a button. It can be raised or lowered at 31 mph or slower, taking only 17 seconds. Trunk space is actually decent at 13.4 cubic feet with the top up, 9.8 cubic feet with it down.
The firm and responsive brake pedal offers a good amount of feedback — undoubtedly the Cascada’s strongest dynamic feature. And the car remains stable, even during panic stops. Steering is precise and its controls are easy to learn.
The government rated the Cascada five stars overall. With an EPA fuel economy rating of 21 city/29 highway, my test vehicle came in at $38,115, destination charge included.
The Buick Cascada is designed and engineered in Germany, which is easy to see, given its relatively conservative style. But the Cascada is neat and tidy, a well-proportioned convertible that manages to look as good with its top down as it does up.
Grant Miller is the publisher of Miami’s Community Newspapers. He may be contacted by calling 305-662-2277 or via email at Grant@CommunityNewspapers.com.