Five First Impressions: 2016 Buick Cascada

The Buick Cascada isn’t the first car to wear multiple badges, but it must wear the most I’ve seen in a good long time.

For readers in Europe, it’s been the Opel Cascada for the last three years. In the United Kingdom, it’s been the Vauxhall Cascada, as is usually the practice. Oh, except in Spain, it’s the Opel Cabrio because calling it the Opel “Waterfall” was a no-go. In Australia, they had no problem calling it the Holden Cascada, however.

Finally, it’s available as a Buick Cascada starting this year, and giving U.S. buyers what we’ve apparently been missing out on for years. Has this Polish-built “American” drop-top worth the wait? We’re driving the Cascada – this one’s a Buick – this week. Here are some initial thoughts.

Now you see me
Those of us who have seen the Cascada in pictures under its various guises will miss the fact it’s still a striking car three years on. Non-car people seeing it for the first time are strangely drawn to it. It is a handsome car, and you can tell it’s not an adaptation of an existing coupe or other fixed-roof car.

Now you don’t
Too bad it’s ergonomically frustrating to be in the Cascada. It’s been a few days now, and I spend most of my time adjusting the seat and steering wheel. And still I feel like a six-year-old pretending I’m tall enough to drive. Even with little quarter windows in the front pillars, pedestrians appear suddenly when I go to make turns. In short, there’s a lot of leaning and neck craning going on.


A photo posted by Zac Estrada (@zacestrada)” style=”font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px;”>Jul 8, 2015 at 12:49pm PDT

Quicker folder-upper
One of the reasons that folding hardtops are dying is because fabric ones are so good now. The Cascada’s is well insulated and quickly rises and falls with a conveniently placed switch, with hardly more fuss than raising one of the windows.

Sharp shocks with a soft side
I have driven the Cascada on smooth, straight roads, but this is the first time I’ve taken it on my usual Southern California routes. Every blemish of every heavily heavily traveled road was heard and felt. A constant source of irritation comes from the 20-inch wheels, which already look ambitious on the car, but make too much noise and inflict too harsh of impacts.

Does it matter?
I go back and forth about how much the lack of modern conveniences on the Cascada like push-button entry and start bother me. Blind-spot monitoring, however, feels like a necessity in this car because the view out is bad, bad, bad. At least the mirrors are large. But the Cascada doesn’t feel especially fresh inside, especially when Buick wants to go after the Audi A3 with it. But navigation, heated everything and a solid-ish sound system are all there for a touch over $37,000. There’s a case forming for this car.

The presence of June Gloom means I timed this review well, but maybe there will be some sun while the Cascada is in my care. In the meantime, what else would you like to know? To the comments, everyone.

Photos: Zac Estrada/Carscoops


  • chippers

    Enjoyed your review – that’s all about what I would expect. It does look nice and there certainly isn’t that much competition in that segment.

  • emjayay

    Big wheels and rubber band tires are murder on the ride of any car, if great for handling on perfect mirror smooth roads.

  • John S.

    I am sorry, but Buick missed the mark on this one. If I wanted a three/four year old car, I would buy a used one. The dash design leaves a lot to be desired (more buttons, please…NOT!) And, you failed to mention the anemic engine, all for only $37000. Buy a new Camaro or Mustang vert. At least you are getting the technology and updated safety systems, such as rear parkinhg sensors, adaptive cruise control, passive entry and blind side sensors. Also, I saw no mention of a rear view camera.

  • Lucas Mattos Azevedo

    Will it come to Brasil as Chevrolet Cascada?

  • JW

    I enjoyed the look and the ride, and how heavy it feels on the road. I am 6’0 and have not noticed the problems of seeing the road or people in crosswalks. I think for a 1.4 turbo, it has plenty of pep. The backseat is also very comfortable for passengers compared to the Camaro or the Mustang where people are cramped. Sticker price is also better than that of the Audi, Camaro or Mustang convertibles. So I disagree on all counts by the previous reviewer.

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