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- Highs Attractive styling, comfortable ride, decent handling.
- Lows Heavy and slow, tight back seat, small trunk with the top down.
- Verdict The Cascada will suit buyers more interested in leisurely, top-down cruising than sporty performance.
Buick’s Cascada entered the North American market for 2016 as a relaxed, affordable four-seat convertible—not as expensive nor as luxurious as a BMW 4 series, for example, and by no means a zippy little runabout like the Mini Cooper convertible. In fact, the Cascada’s closest competitor may be the Volkswagen Beetle, a comfortable, laid-back droptop for cruising beachside boulevards. The handsome Cascada is based on General Motors’ Delta front-wheel-drive platform, but with more premium features than other GM models built on the same chassis. The Cascada’s unibody has added structure built in, making it stiffer and quieter and enhancing ride quality. Its thickly insulated cloth top lowers in 17 seconds and hides under a solid tonneau cover, and it raises in 19 seconds at speeds up to 31 mph.
What's New for 2017?
For the Cascada's second model year in North America, Buick has added a Sport Touring edition, which is strictly an appearance trim package. An exclusive True Blue exterior paint is the only choice at launch for the Sport Touring. It also comes with a contrasting black cloth top and adds unique five-spoke 20-inch wheels, “Black Magic” interior trim components, sport pedals, and a flat-bottom steering wheel.
- Base: $33,990
- Premium: $36,990
- Sport Touring: $37,990
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Engine, Transmission, and Performance
A 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic with manual controls make up the Cascada's only powertrain choice. The engine is rated at 200 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque. GM’s HiPer Strut front suspension, which is designed to reduce torque steer while increasing steering feel and improving ride quality, is standard on the Cascada. This, combined with the unusually stiff body structure, results in excellent cornering ability without diminishing the comfort Buick customers expect. But while the body-structure stiffening minimizes the cowl shake typical of unibody convertibles, it also adds weight, so the nearly two-ton ragtop is not particularly quick off the line. We estimate a mediocre 8.4-second 0-60 mph time.
EPA fuel-economy testing and reporting procedures have changed over time. For the latest numbers on current and older vehicles, visit the EPA’s website and select Find & Compare Cars.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The Cascada truly is a premium convertible, with standard dual-zone climate control, heated leather seating surfaces, eight-way power front seats, heated leather-wrapped steering wheel, and rear parking sensors in the base model. Premium trim adds forward collision alert, automatic headlamp controls with tunnel detection, front parking sensors, automatic windshield wipers, and front- and rear air deflectors. And the Sport Touring model adds a host of interior and exterior color and trim features. The front seats offer a decent amount of room, but they could use more padding for long-distance comfort. And only children or very small adults will get comfortable in the back seat. Trunk space could be a problem for open-air driving on long trips. With the top up, there's a respectable 13.4 cubic feet of luggage room available, but that drops to a tiny 9.8 with the top down.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Standard tech for the Cascada includes a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, USB connectivity, an auxiliary port, and a seven-speaker audio system with satellite radio. Stepping up in trim levels adds GM's Intellilink connected services and a navigation system.
Safety Features and Crash Test Ratings
Overall Safety Rating (NHTSA)
Some older vehicles are still eligible for coverage under a manufacturer's Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) program. For more information visit our guide to every manufacturer's CPO program.