Vital Stats

Engine:
Turbo 1.6L I4
Power:
170 HP / 207 LB-FT
Transmission:
6-Speed Manual
0-60 Time:
9.6 Seconds (0-62)
Top Speed:
137 MPH
Drivetrain:
Front-Wheel Drive
Curb Weight:
3,820 LBS
Seating:
2+2
Cargo:
9.9 / 13.4 CU-FT
MPG:
6.3 L/100km (combined)
Base Price:
25,945 (euros)
The Future Buick Verano Convertible?



I wasn't wearing a pedometer while in Germany covering the Frankfurt Motor Show this year, but it's safe to say I walked more than a few miles between press conferences, shooting cars and trekking back to the media center on the first day alone. For this reason, it didn't take much convincing from General Motors for me to duck out of the Messe a day early and drive some of its latest Opel models. No, this didn't include the all-new Country Tourer, but I was able to drive the Opel Mokka (our Buick Encore), the Opel Adam and the Opel Cascada.

I focused most of my driving time behind the wheel of the Cascada, which went on sale in Europe earlier this year, since rumors are swirling that a Buick version of this convertible "could happen soon." Buick hasn't had a convertible since the Reatta, and GM has been lacking a non-performance, budget-minded convertible since the Pontiac brand – and its G6 – was dropped, so adding the Cascada to Buick showrooms could further help the reemerging brand compete in the near-luxury segment. Although the weather was too chilly (and occasionally rainy) to enjoy the Cascada with its top down for very long, I was able to clock a fair bit of drive time behind the wheel on roads ranging from the autobahn to tight roads in small, quaint villages.

Driving Notes
  • Leaving Frankfurt, the drive route had us take the Autobahn away from the city where I was able to let the Cascada stretch its legs a little. This model was equipped with GM's new 1.6-liter direct-injected turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine – one of three available engines – producing 170 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. Acceleration isn't one the Cascada's strengths, as it took the 3,820-pound convertible a while to get up to highway speeds (GM states a 0-62 mile per hour time of 9.6 seconds), but it had no problem cruising at around 125 mph, which is just short of the car's stated top speed of 137 mph. A Sport mode helps a little by making the throttle more responsive, but I would hope that if/when this car does come to the US, GM could find it in its heart to fit the US-spec version with the 250-hp turbo engine found under the hood of the platform-sharing Buick Verano Turbo... and while I'm making requests to GM, please leave the six-speed manual gearbox alone with the shifter's sporty throws and spot-on gear ratios.
  • Once off the Autobahn, the drive route did a better job of showing off the Cascada's strong points, most notable of which was the lack of cowl shake along the numerous rough, cobblestone streets we encountered, but the winding mountain roads also showcased the convertible's handling maneuvers. Although the brakes look rather small lurking behind the 19-inch wheels, the Cascada stopped effortlessly and its electric power steering also helped make the fun part of the drive even more enjoyable. In all driving conditions, there is no hiding the fact that the Cascada is a heavy, front-wheel-drive convertible, but the level of all-around refinement and chassis tuning makes up for this as well as the car's anemic engine.
  • This level of refinement was evident after just a few minutes in the car. Once we got up to our top speed of 124 mph, I was utterly surprised at how quiet the cabin was. The fabric top helped reduce cabin noise to a level that I would expect from a luxurious coupe instead of a relatively affordable soft-top convertible. The top takes 17 seconds to open or close, and it can be raised and lowered at speeds up to 31 mph. Even though its operation is rather slow, it seems far less jerky and clunky than the mechanisms found on the similarly sized Chrysler 200 Convertible equipped with a soft top. Better yet, the Cascada's cargo volume surpasses the 200 as well as the Volkswagen Eos.
  • Once inside the Cascada, it's clear Opel isn't positioning this car as a budget droptop. This loaded-up tester came with heated/cooled front seats, heated steering wheel and comfortable seats wrapped in rich UV-protectant Nappa leather with decent side bolsters and adjustable thigh support – the front seats actually felt more Regal GS than Verano. Speaking of the Verano, most of the driver's cockpit looks very similar to what is currently found in Buick's entry-level sedan, but a nicer stitched-leather instrument panel hood adds a little extra pizazz. Other appreciated touches inside the Cascada include the electric "seatbelt presenters" and the aforementioned Sport mode that illuminates a red ring around the gauges red when engaged. Properly positioning the front seats, I was able to fit comfortably in the rear seat of the Cascada, but I'd hate to go on a lengthy road trip from back there.
  • In terms of its styling, the Cascada is very well proportioned with an infusion of styling cues borrowed from the Astra and Insignia, and it even has a good profile with the top up. Giving the car an upscale appearance, this car featured a burgundy-on-burgundy color combination and optional 19-inch wheels. One element of the car's design that will be interesting to see after US safety regulations are accounted for is the decklid. Like the Insignia wagon (and the Audi Q7), the Cascada's wraparound decklid means that when the trunk is open, the entirety of the taillights go along with it. As a fix to this, there are supplemental taillights mounted inside the trunk that illuminate to ensure there is some rearward lighting when the trunk is open.
  • The Cascada rides on GM's Delta II platform, which underpins the Verano, so it would make sense if this car ends up being named the Verano Convertible. On the other hand, this might be a good time to bring back a classic Buick name like, perhaps, Riviera (though that name was recently used on the Shanghai-shown concept). Not that this would play into the Cascada's pricing in the US, but in Germany, it carries a price of 25,945 euros (around $35,000 USD) with this loaded tester topping out at around 34,000 euros ($45,800) including VAT.
  • Though my time with the Cascada was limited, it was enough to realize that this car could be a hit for US buyers. In a worst case scenario – if GM just slaps some Buick badges and fender portholes on the Cascada leaving the powertrain as is – Buick will at least have a competent convertible to rival the Chrysler 200 and Volkswagen Eos, but done right, this car could potentially put some heat on front-drive-based luxury convertibles like the Audi A5.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 38 Comments
      INCREDIBLE BOB
      • 1 Year Ago
      MORE RIDICULOUS SPECULATION The car does not look the price it would need to command in the US. It would have to be about as much as a V8 Mustang. Not to mention that the EOS is a sales dog here, for the same reason. The Chrysler, and even the Mustang, keep being made only due to rental sales justifying the tooling.
      redgpgtp97
      • 1 Year Ago
      Too many buttons on the dash, but it looks like a nice car.
      FierySolstice
      • 1 Year Ago
      This is what the Verano should have looked like. I hope they bring this car to the US as a Buick. I wonder what they call it though. I hope not Verano..
      Fonin
      • 1 Year Ago
      OMG shoot it in the face now! some kind of mash-up between a Civic, last-gen Sebring and the G6 vert. the dash looks like it could be the next sith lord, Dash Maul
      Michael S
      • 1 Year Ago
      It's going to be as successful as the G6, Solara, and Sebring. Mediocrity, yea!
      Scott
      • 1 Year Ago
      0-62 in 9.6 seconds for a car costing $45K? You can have a BMW 135i for that kind of money.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Scott
        [blocked]
        mikoprivat
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Scott
        yeah, because you americans just fly on your substandard highways at 130 miles an hour accelerating at 4.5 sec to 60 m/hr ...you need performance cars for your potholed, wavy and cracky freeways
      Luis A. Martinez
      • 1 Year Ago
      Nothing new here,same Idea with different name Opel Astra Tin Top (was sold as a Saturn here and nice looking but was dump),but hey now because china have this idea of making a Buick version out of the Astra (verano) they are planing to bring it back (great new Idea from the new GM)
        Luis A. Martinez
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Luis A. Martinez
        Heat on the Audi,really? No one trade a Buick for and Audi unless like this customer she got it from her mom (because mom got a Volkswagen CC)
          FierySolstice
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Luis A. Martinez
          Please learn English, come back and try again.
      BipDBo
      • 1 Year Ago
      26k Euro base price converts to around 35k US dollars. I sure hope that they can offer it here for significantly less than that. For a bit less than $35,000 you can get a convertible Camaro or Mustang with more power, RWD and about the same interior space as far as I can see. GM hasn't had much luck importing it's European models to the US, the Astra being a good example. Expensive euro union labor surely hurt its profitability. The timing with currencies really hurt. The Euro was newly minted and came out of the gate strong, while at the same time, the US had a meltdown and the dollar declined. The Astra was a great car, but GM lost money with every one they sold. Saturn had already been gutted with rebadges, but the Astra was the straw that broke its back.
        foxtrot685
        • 1 Year Ago
        @BipDBo
        Prices do not directly convert like that when comparing US and EU spec cars, yet for some odd reason people still do it. There are other taxes and fees baked into the price of a car in the EU and UK cars that don't apply to the US.
        Michael Scoffield
        • 1 Year Ago
        @BipDBo
        Don't worry ! Cars in Europe are much more expensive compared to the US and that's why is so expensive.
      MAX
      • 1 Year Ago
      Buick needs this car.
      express2day
      • 1 Year Ago
      Buick is doing pretty well with the Verano. A sporty convertible would be a nice addition.
      Mr Sled
      • 1 Year Ago
      Because the US needs a Buick EOS? Somebody has some bad data. This sounds like a terrible business decision.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Mr Sled
        [blocked]
          scooter
          • 1 Year Ago
          you might want to check your facts on the Eos (or the popularity of your favorite breakfast food)
      foxtrot685
      • 1 Year Ago
      Why are GM vehicles so darn heavy???
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