Review: Sky’s the limit for Buick Cascada convertible – Detroit Free Press

Buick adds sporty, attractive convertible to its lineup. Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press

Taking the lovely★★★ 2016 Buick Cascada convertible on a road journey resembles driving in to the alternate fact portrayed in the brand’s TV commercials.

“Man, beautiful car,” a passerby says after a double take. “That’s a Buick?” a passing bike rider asks. “Cool Buick,” “Sweet,” call out a couple of youngsters bouncing a basketball.

Then again, maybe it’s not an alternate reality. Perhaps this is reality.

It’s 2016. Buick is cool, sweet, beautiful and possibly regarding to become one of the auto industry’s hot brands.

The Cascada compact 2+2 convertible exemplifies a great deal of what’s going right for Buick. It’s essentially a twin of a auto General Motors’ European Opel brand began selling in 2013. Buick is a significant beneficiary of the globalization of GM’s engineering and vehicle-development processes. Opel created the Cascada using GM’s global architecture, which likewise underpins the closely related Opel Astra and Buick Verano compacts.

If GM hadn’t allied Buick along with Opel a few years ago, the U.S. Cascada wouldn’t exist. The convergence of the brands’ design, engineering and personalities has actually helped the 2 enormously. Buick gets cars along with sharp handling adore the Cascada, Verano and Regal. Opel incentives along with vehicles adore the Mokka subcompact SUV, an adaptation of the Buick Encore that got Opel in to one of Europe’s hot-selling segments ahead of the competition.

China likewise played a huge role in Buick’s resurgence. Buick’s vehicles and reputation had deteriorated badly in the U.S., yet Chinese buyers remembered as soon as Buick built great, powerful, stylish cars. They expected Buicks to be terrific as soon as GM sought to do business in the world’s most populous country. GM complied by building terrific Buicks for the very first time in decades, and that ethic fed spine in to the U.S. Buick model line.

Buick sold 1.23 million vehicles last year — 900,000 in China. It’s GM’s second-biggest brand globally behind Chevrolet. include Opel’s 1.1 million, and the twinned brands are a global powerhouse, performing well in the biggest, toughest markets on the planet.

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The Cascada has actually few competitors, none of which are much, if at all, much better compared to it is. Small convertibles Cascada buyers could think about consist of the Audi A3, Fiat 500c Abarth, Mini John Cooper Works and Volkswagen Beetle and Eos.

Cascada prices start at $33,065. A 1.6L turbocharged four-cylinder engine, front-wheel drive and six-speed automatic transmission are standard.

I tested a nicely equipped Premium model along with navigation, leather upholstery, a touch screen, front seat adverse and knee air bags, backup camera, 20-inch aluminum wheels and more.

The Cascada does not offer blind-spot alert, memory for the driver’s settings, Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Those are disappointments in a brand-new auto at this price. The features either weren’t available or didn’t matter to European customers as soon as the Cascada went in to production at a GM plant in Gliwice, Poland, three years ago.

The Cascada’s energy soft top opens and closes in regarding 17 seconds at speeds up to 31 m.p.h. The insulated top provides good sound insulation at highway speeds.

The car’s handling is responsive and enjoyable. The steering is quick and direct, along with good on-focus feel. Engineers stiffened the chassis to preserve the Cascada steady and composed in quick maneuvers and on rough surfaces.

With a curb weight of 3,979 pounds, the Cascada is heavier compared to its competitors. The hard-functioning engine offsets that along with 200 horsepower at 5,500 r.p.m., 207 pound-feet of torque at 1,800 r.p.m. and 221 pound-feet for brief periods from 2,000 to 4,000 r.p.m. The engine needs premium gasoline for max power. The Cascada’s horsepower and torque beat all of competitors except the brand-new 2016 Cooper Works Mini.

More Mark Phelan auto reviews: 

The Cascada’s EPA fuel-economy rating of twenty m.p.g. in the city, 27 highway and 23 combined trails the competition. The Environmental Protection Agency certified the Cascada’s fuel economy along with routine gasoline.

The Cascada’s front seat is roomy and comfortable. The rear seat is tight. The Cascada has actually a lot more luggage room compared to the competition, yet that’s not saying much. I ended up stowing my large duffle in the spine seat throughout my long road trip.

The controls trail those of the very best competitors. The focus stack is a wilderness of small buttons jammed with each other in a fashion it appears only German auto designers can easily love. The touch screen is smaller sized and harder to reach compared to is ideal. The voice recognition and Siri Eyes Free feature for iPhones were inconsistent.

The Cascada looks great, along with a reduced profile, scalloped sides, crisp lines and rising belt line. It must age well. Unlike lots of convertibles, the Cascada looks as good along with the top closed as open.

The reduced top and small rear window limit visibility considerably. much better sight lines would certainly be welcome. In their absence, blind-spot and cross-traffic alerts must be available in addition to the standard backup camera and rear parking assist.

Those cares disappear as soon as you lose the Cascada’s top, and Buick’s brand-new convertible has actually enough others virtues to be a welcome addition. Look for the brand to succeed a lot more admiration and focus as soon as the Envision compact luxury SUV and LaCrosse large sedan go on sale this summer.

Contact Mark Phelan: mmphelan@freepress.com, 313-222-6731 or on Twitter @mark_phelan

Behind the Wheel

2016 Buick Cascada Premium

Front-wheel-drive 2+2 compact convertible

Price as tested: $36,460 (excluding destination charge)

Rating: ★★★ (From four stars)

Reasons to buy: Convertible, handling, looks

Shortcomings: Controls, fuel economy, lack of common features

Competitive EPA fuel-economy ratings

(Automatic transmission models)

Buick Cascada Premium: twenty m.p.g. city/27 highway/23 combined. routine gasoline

Audi A3 Prestige convertible: 24/35/28. Regular

Fiat 500c Abarth: 24/32/27. Premium

2016 Mini John Cooper Works: 24/32/27. Premium

Volkswagen Beetle 1.8T SE convertible: 25/34/28. Regular

Volkswagen Eos Komfort: 22/30/25. Premium

Source: www.fueleconomy.gov

Comparative base prices (excluding destination charges)

(Automatic transmission models)

Buick Cascada Premium: $36,065

Audi A3 Prestige convertible: $36,600 

Fiat 500c Abarth: $26,695

2016 Mini John Cooper Works: $35,600

Volkswagen Beetle 1.8T SE convertible: $28,070

Volkswagen Eos Komfort: $31,995

Source: Autotrader

Specifications as tested

Engine: 1.6L 16-valve turbocharged 4-cylinder

Power: 200 hp @ 5,500 r.p.m. (along with premium gasoline); 207 lb-ft of torque @ 1,800-4,500 r.p.m. (221 lb-ft over improve @ 2,200-4,000)

Transmission: Six-speed automatic

Wheelbase: 106.1 inches

Length: 184.9 inches

Width: 72.4 inches 

Height: 56.8 inches

Curb Weight: 3,979 lbs.

Where assembled: Gliwice, Poland

Key features on auto tested

Standard equipment: Antilock brakes; stability control; front seat adverse and knee air bags; rear vision camera; rain sensing windshield wipers; automatic headlights; front and rear parking assist; lane-departure warning; remote start; 8-method energy driver seat; heat reflective leather seating surfaces; heated front seats; electronic seat belt presenters; 50/50 fold flat rear seats; dual-zone automatic climate control; heated steering wheel; navigation; 7-inch touch screen; 7-speaker system; XM satellite radio along with 3 months service; leather wrap steering wheel; energy locks, windows and mirrors; heated outside mirrors; 20-inch aluminum wheels; HID headlights; LED daytime operating lights; 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, and OnStar 5-year easy strategy along with 6 months of additional services

Option: Deep sky metallic blue paint

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