The Cascada, which Opel/Vauxhall is very keen to point out is longer than an Audi A5 Cabriolet and around €9,200 (£8,000) cheaper, has just made its official debut at the Geneva International Motor Show. The 4.7 meter-long soft-top convertible positions Opel in a market sector, which they have not occupied since the 1930s.
It has seating for four, with what appears to be plenty of room in the back, an electrically-folding soft top and chassis bits borrowed from both the new Astra, and the Insignia. It also features the brand’s patented HiPerStrut front suspension setup, which improves the car’s cornering grip and eliminates torque steer in the more powerful versions where it is a problem.
The Cascada also features an all-new 1.6-liter SIDI Turbo ECOTEC petrol engine, which is part of the brands’ new MGE (Mid-Size Gasoline Engine) family. With a maximum power output of 170PS and 280 Nm of torque, it pushes the car from 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) in just over nine seconds, yet returns 7.2 l/100 km (39.2 mpg UK) on the combined cycle.
Other engine options include a smaller 1.4-liter turbo petrol unit with 140PS, and a pair of 2.0-liter diesels. The first is a 165PS unit, which is good for 5.2 l/100km (54.3 mpg UK), while the second is the most powerful engine available for the Cascada – a twin-turbo unit with 195PS. It manages to get the car to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 8.9 seconds, yet it has a claimed economy figure identical to that of the lower-powered unit.
Opel is trying to sell this as comfortable cruiser, with good handling. One noteworthy aspect is the fact that the electric power steering unit is mounted directly to the rack, to give as much feedback through the wheel as possible.
With a comprehensive list of standard and optional kit, and a base price of £23,995 (€27,765) in the UK, good looks and a roomy interior, the Cascada does stand a chance of making its mark in the well-established niche it wants to penetrate, but only time (and sales figures) will tell if that will actually be the case.
By Andrei Nedelea