The Buick Cascada: Going Topless in 2016
Not only will it be Buick’s first convertible in 25 years, the Cascada will also be the first coupe in the brand’s lineup since the eighth-generation Riviera production ended in 1999. Those who closely follow the European market will probably recognize Buick’s new cabriolet as a rebadged Opel Cascada built on GM’s Delta 2 platform, and while it may be considered old news across the Atlantic, the Cascada’s welcomed arrival stateside is long overdue.
Buick is hoping the sporty convertible will appeal to the younger demographic and help aid its changing image. Though it’s far from a sports car, the turbocharged 1.6 liter four-cylinder packs plenty of pep with 200 horsepower and 206 pound-feet of torque. If that’s not enough low-end grunt to satisfy your needs, the engine’s overboost feature briefly pushes torque to 221 pound-feet for quick passing maneuvers. Thanks, Buick!
Though GM already has both the Camaro and Corvette convertibles in its stable, the Cascada will certainly appeal to plenty of buyers. Not all consumers have the budget for a new C7 and the Camaro’s muscular styling isn’t for everyone.
Instead, the Cascada will slot in the luxury convertible segment with the Audi A3, BMW 2 Series, and Lexus IS C. While Buick has yet to release pricing for the Cascada, it’s sure to slot in well below its foreign competitors that range from $35,600 (Audi) to $43,360 (Lexus) at the high end of the spectrum.
GM’s most recent similar experiment was the Pontiac G6 convertible, but the Cascada is sure to be more luxurious with dramatically improved styling. With Chrysler discontinuing the 200 convertible in 2014, the Cascada will be the sole American car left the segment. Though its projected starting pricing in the low $30,000s will be a bit higher than the departed Chrysler, it will certainly appeal to the same market and pick up a number of sales from those who missed their chance on a new 200 convertible. And while it won’t quite have the straight-line performance of the Chrysler with its 283 horsepower 3.6 liter Pentastar V6, it’s sure to be a better handler with more of an enthusiast-oriented driving experience.
The Cascada will certainly be a blast to drive on curvy roads with its standard HiPer strut front suspension designed to reduce torque steer and understeer in a front-wheel drive configuration. The HiPer strut setup is also used in Buick’s high-performance Regal GS that continually receives rave reviews for its handling prowess and cornering stability. In the Regal, the driver is able to control suspension stiffness on the fly by toggling between the touring, sport and GS buttons on the dash. We can only hope the Cascada will employ the same adjustability to suit your driving needs and deliver optimal performance on any terrain.
Recently, Buick released the 2016 Cascada order guide that revealed an impressive number of standard features for its projected starting price. Perforated leather bucket seats and Buick’s IntelliLink system with a 7-inch touchscreen interface will be standard interior fare in all models. The Cascada will also come with 20-inch aluminum wheels, LED taillights and HID headlights with LED daytime running lights.
Buick’s Driver Confidence Package is the only noteworthy option available on the Cascada. It includes forward collision alert, lane departure warning, rain-sense wipers and front and rear park assist.
The biggest complaint with the Cascada will likely be its lack of desirable color choices, in typical Buick fashion. Carbon Black Metallic, Summit White, Toasted Coconut, Flip Chip Silver Metallic, Graystone Metallic, and Deep Sky Metallic seem to fit the profile of a minivan, not a sporty convertible.
In spite of its earth tones and neutral shades, the Cascada is sure to appeal to a young demographic with its turbocharged engine, plush interior and innovative technology. It will certainly be refreshing to see drivers behind the wheel of a Buick with color still in their hair, even if you can’t say the same for the Cascada.
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