2016 Buick Cascada: Put the Top Down, Feel the Wind

March 12, 2016 Updated: March 15, 2016
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The four largest convertible markets in the U.S. are California, Texas, New Jersey, and New York. Admittedly, Texas is a surprise. The only thing more surprising was that Buick was developing a convertible.

Volume sales must not have been a priority. Yet, the Cascada is a fairly good convertible. There is little roll in the turn and the power steering is strong and firm. Stiffer rockers and an increased wheel base make for a strong command in driving. Underbody bracing adds stability and lends to easier and better drive control.

The new Cascada has an insulated soft top system, which lowers in 17 seconds and raises in 19 seconds at speeds up to 31 mph. Yes, Cascada has more standard equipment and a lower MSRP than Audi A3 Cabriolet. Cascada has a chuck wagon pantry filled with technology and safety features.

These include Buick IntelliLink with a 7-inch color touchscreen featuring text message alerts, Siri Eyes-free for Apple phones, OnStar (which proved to be an invaluable help in finding an emergency dentist’s office out of town) and 4G LTE with Wi-Fi hotspot. Also included are remote vehicle starter and dual-zone air controls.

The Cascada comes in two trims: Premium ($36,065) and the base model ($33,990), which have very much in common. My Premium Cascada was wrapped in Deep Sky Metallic paint, which complements a light neutral Jet Black accent interior. All these rest on 20-inch aluminum wheels.

Quality safety features include a standard rearview camera system.

The Cascada driver’s seat was a little small for me. The 50/50 split rear seat with trunk pass-through seemed to add more room, at least visually. The stitched-leather dash was attractive, and gave the Cascada a feeling of luxury.

Centered in the dash just above the shift column are various icons that engage the wide array of technology available on the Cascada. This display reminded me of my always cluttered desktop.

Quality safety features include a standard rearview camera system. There are also impressive automated spring-loaded and pyrotechnically activated roll bars behind the rear seat, linked to the air bag system.

Personally, I wondered why Buick decided to build a convertible. Sales potential was rather limited. If more than 15,000 units were sold, I would be surprised.

But the Cascada may be just the car for you. Just drop the roof and rest your arm across the door. Enjoy the wind in your hair, observe a sunset or enjoy a fresh night ride.

Surprisingly, the Cascada is built in Gliwice, Poland.

Specifications:
EPA fuel economy (mpg): 20/27 city/highway
Fuel tank capacity: 14.3 gallons
Powertrain: 1.6 L turbocharged inline-4 with direct injection
Transmission: Hydra-matic 6T45 6-speed auto
Drive: Front wheel drive
Horsepower: 200
Torque: 207 lb-ft (221 lb-ft with overboost)
Wheelbase: 106.1 inch
Length: 184.9 inch
Width: 72.4 inch
Height: 56.8 inch
Front headroom: 37.8 inch
Rear headroom: 36.1 inch
Front legroom: 42.2 inch
Rear legroom: 32.8 inch
Max cargo room: 13.4 cu ft (top up)
Weight: 3,979 lbs.

Durhl Caussey writes a car column read around the world. He may be reached at this paper or dcaussey@sbcglobal.net