A Buick in a cool suit
I was hoping to test a couple of GM’s latest SUVs but seeing as none were available at the time , they offered forth a 2017 Buick Cascada Sport Touring, a car I was vaguely familiar with but had never driven or never actually seen in person.
So what is it?
The Buick Cascada is based on the Opel Cascada manufactured by the German automaker Opel since 2013. Opel has since been sold off by GM to Renault but it continues as a Vauxhall in the UK.
The Cascada shares most of its structure with the Verano, which is essentially an Opel Astra, but has a longer wheelbase, strengthened A-pillars, substantial body bracing, and a fortified rear bulkhead. What works for GM here is it’s rarity, almost no one I met during our week with it knew what it was. Several people gave me a thumbs up and then asked what it was. One chap using slightly more colorful language said that, and I quote, “That ain’t like no Buick I’ve ever seen before, that thing is as clean as s**t!’
Thinking about it, this is a clever marketing campaign by Buick, a brand that is trying to attract a younger audience……..by selling this attractive convertible to pull folks into dealerships who then buy an SUV. It’s a win win.
How does it go?
Powering Buick’s convertible is 1.6-liter turbocharged 4 that the makes 200 hp at 5,500 rpm, and 207 lb-ft at 1,800 rpm. Power is transmitted through a six-speed automatic and then onto the front wheels. It’s not the quickest accelerating car out there, we managed a 0-60 dash in 8.3 seconds mostly due to the almost 4,000 lb curb weight. The positive to this is a fairly rigid structure with minimal scuttle shake and decent handling, in fact the Cascada rides firmer than I had expected. Once on the move it does a fine job keeping up with traffic and the hyper strut front suspension mitigates under steer up to a point. Steering is adequate and provides some feedback, but remember this not meant to be a sports car.
We spent all week with the top down despite the seasonally warm weather here in San Diego. I like the fact that it has a window switch placed inside the top switch raises and lowers all the windows simultaneously….very convenient. Highlights include the excellent front seats, top down or up on the move (up to 31 mph) and clear instruments in front of the driver.
What’s not so good is the small infotainment screen and the huge amount of buttons in the center stack, It’s a tad confusing. These should be consolidated into a larger screen.
There’s room in the back for smaller adults, 6 footers will struggle for headroom top up and legroom either way. Overall quality is good, with decent quality materials used throughout, a nice ambience in general….a perfect car for wafting along Coast Blvd in La Jolla, CA.
If pure intrigue about the Cascada gets you to your local Buick dealer, it’s done it’s job. It’s head and shoulders better than the Sebring or Solara ever was and if you don’t like open air motoring you can at least check out the new Regal.
2017 Buick Cascada Sport Touring Numbers
|VEHICLE TYPE:||Front-engine, FWD, 4-passenger, 2-door convertible|
|PRICE AS TESTED:||$37,990|
|ENGINE:||1.6 liter turbocharged, DOHC 16-valve inline-4|
|POWER:||200 hp @ 5500 rpm|
|TORQUE:||221 lb-ft @ 2200 rpm|
|TRANSMISSION:||6-speed automatic with manual shifting mode|
|Cargo Space (top up/down):||13/10 cu ft|
|Curb Weight:||3,979 lb|
|Zero to 60 mph:||8.3 sec|
|EPA city/hwy/combined||20/27/23 mpg|
|Our Observed:||20 mpg|
|PROS||Decent Handling, solid build quality|
|CONS|| Could use more power, bigger infotainment screen