Cascada 1.6i 16v Turbo Elite
you ever thought of Vauxhalls
staid but dependable
cars then its
time to think again;
get a load of their stylish new 2+2
convertible, the Cascada
breath of fresh air...
A CLEAN-CUT, POWER-FOLDING fabric roof, Vauxhall's two-door drop-top costs a
lot less than you'd guess from its stylish looks: you can put one on your drive
from £23,995 or, if you like to flash the cash, spend closer to 30K on the flagship
However much you pay though, your entry-level or range-topper Cascada will
come with the same smart body a body that's chic enough to stand
comparison with premium rivals from Audi, BMW and VW.
A steeply raked windscreen, rising waistline and wide stance give the Cascada
strong road presence. At 4.7 meters, it's longer than it looks which is good
news for the 2 of the 2+2 along for the ride. And, of course, the classic use
of a 'traditional' soft-top as opposed to a folding metal roof makes for a classy
roof-up appearance with it down, there are no unsightly roll-over
hoops or bars to spoil the view. For the record, there's active rollover protection
but, like a good bodyguard, it stays out of sight until needed.
an out-of-work actor the Cascada's soft-top will spend a lot of its time 'resting'
power-folded into the boot where, neatly capped by the rear deck
panel, it awaits the rain. Press the button and it needs just seventeen seconds
to transform the convertible Cascada into a totally weatherproof and refined
The use of a soft-top as
opposed to a folding
metal roof makes for a
classy roof-up appearance with it
down, there are no
unsightly roll-over hoops
to spoil the view.
Theres active rollover
protection, of course,
but, like a good
bodyguard, it stays out of
sight until needed...
There's no such thing as a free lunch and, that being so, great topless looks
do mean a portion of luggage space (about 100 litres) is sacrificed to Aphrodite
roof raised, boot space is 380 litres (about the same as a family-size
five-door hatch such as Volvo's V40); roof open, you get 280 litres.
However, there is space for some good news; the rear pair of backrests can be
folded down to free up more room for two on weekends away or even for a spot
Travel light though and you'll find the Cascada to be that rarity among convertibles
an honest four-seater rather than a disappointingly optimistic
2+2. And all four adults will travel in some style because the cabin, majoring
on fine fit and finish and good quality trim materials (including carbon-fibre
look inserts in the doors and centre stack as well as quality leather with contrast
piping) gives off premium vibes.
The Cascada's cabin is spacious, with plenty of room in all directions around
those travelling in the nicely-bolstered sports seats up front, and fitted out
with lots of labour-saving devices: power seats enhanced with three-stage heating
and cooling plus electric lumbar and extending under-knee support, one-shot
windows, and an electric parking brake.
For those who think they prefer a traditional handbrake; be reassured that not
only is the Cascada's electric version convenient, but it's also very effective
at slowing the car down from speed in an emergency. We know not because it says
so in the handbook, but because we've tried it!
Instrumentation is crisp and clear plus there's a digital speed readout
appreciated not just for its own sake but because the analogue speedo is marked
in 20mph increments that need a longer look to register your road speed.
You'll also find auto-dimming door mirrors, a flat-bottomed, multifunction (cruise
control, speed limiter, phone, voice, and audio) steering wheel with a great-to-grip,
perforated leather rim as wll as drive-away automatic door locking.
touches include front seat belt servers (automatically extending arms) that
bring the belt to the front seat passenger or driver and which save a lot of
undignified squirming around an irritation on many other two-door
coupes and cabrios; then there's the powered front seat action to move them
forward and back again for rear seat access.
and not just in a drop-
top, are heated
(as well as cooled for
the sticky summer)
the Cascada even has a
heated steering wheel
rim, which is brilliant
and not just on mornings
when Jack Frosts
welcome, and not just in a drop-top, are heated (as well as cooled for the sticky
summer) front seats the Cascada even has a heated steering wheel
rim, which is brilliant and not just on mornings when Jack Frost's gadding about.
And, important as it is, not something you'd think about until it's raining
cats and dogs the wipers do a brilliant job of cleaning the entire
Taking your friends along is a pleasure in the Cascada for them
and you. Even with the roof raised normal-sized adults will feel at ease in
the individual rear seats with enough head-, leg- and knee-room as well as wide
outer armrests for relaxed travel on long trips.
Large rear side windows provide good views out and keep the rear cabin light
despite the letterbox rear screen. Also good news is the easy access and exit
with the top up to and from the rear cabin the front seats power-glide
forward automatically after you tilt the front seatback, and return to their
original position every time.
The power hood is as good as you'll find on any premium cabrio and operates
quietly in just 17 seconds. With the top dropped, rear seat passengers are even
better catered for. With all four side windows down or raised
the cabin is refreshingly bluster free with no wind rush: you
can talk among yourselves without having to shout, even when cruising at 70mph.
Top up, the cabin is as muffled as any all-of-a-piece coupe.
For those of you not yet on Facebook or only a single friend, a topless Cascada
still provides plenty of enjoyment if you aren't using the rear
seats you can fit the windblocker that you'll find in its own tailored case
in the boot. It can be unzipped, unfolded and slotted into place over the rear
seats in seconds. In situ, it creates an unruffled pocket of air around the
driver and front passenger.
The windblocker's fine mesh provides privacy along with protection from the
wind, and it can be left in position when you need to raise the roof because
its vertical panel doesn't harm rearward visibility. It also comes in handy
at night if the following vehicle has badly adjusted lights!
Cascada's boot-lid opens high to reveal a big boot pull the levers
to release the rear seatbacks and they fold forward and down without any further
ado, opening up an unexpectedly accommodating loadbay.
1.6 Turbo four-pot
pushes out a useful
167bhp backed by
a healthy 191lb ft
of torque. Mated to a
its game for 135mph,
with 0-60mph coming
up in a crisp
kit on the comprehensively equipped Elite model we've been driving should easily
satisfy most hedonists, with essentials such as leather upholstery, heated seats,
cruise control, power windows (all four), electrically-adjustable door mirrors,
power roof, climate control, Bluetooth, digital radio, parking sensors, and
eye-catching alloy wheels all thrown in.
owners wanting to spec-up further still there's numerous boxes to tick on the
options list, including the very good SatNav (£1,200), a triple-layer acoustic
soft-top (as opposed to the regular item, which, actually, is perfectly fine
and contributes much to the refined cabin ambience) for £300, and Vauxhall's
Flexi-Ride with continuous damping control for a well-spent £790.
Power doesn't only, like a man with a Little Red Book once said, come out of
the barrel of a gun. In the Cascada's case, it can come from a variety of engines:
1.4-litre 138bhp turbocharged petrol; 167bhp 1.6 turbo petrol; and a pair of
turboed oil-burners offering 162bhp (2.0 CDTi) and 192bhp (2.0 CDTi BiTurbo).
We've just been behind the wheel of the unleaded-drinking 1.6 Turbo, a four-pot
that pushes out a useful 167bhp backed by a healthy 191lb ft of torque on call
from 1,650rpm. Mated to a smooth-changing six-speed autobox, it's game for 135mph,
with 0-60mph coming up in a crisp 9.2 seconds. The auto also offers a sequential
manual mode which, in treacherous conditions let's you pull away in first, second
or even third gear for maximum traction.
Officially it will return 39.2mpg in the combined (read that as 'average') cycle
driven by us, the 1.6's trip computer recorded a liveable real-world
figure of 31.3mpg. For the record our test car was close to brand spanking new,
with a mere 600 miles on the clock a few thousand miles up the
road we'd expect to see much closer to the high 30s.
And it's a nice motor, too, responsive with sufficient grunt for easy-going
progress, whether you're ramping it up along a French autoroute or tootling
around good old London Town.
bane of many cabrios is scuttle shake. Vauxhall have underpinned the Cascada
with a stiff chassis to inoculate it against any flex we drove
over all sorts of roads, good and bad, and never once felt the hint of any 'flexies'.
The bane of many
cabrios is scuttle shake.
underpinned the Cascada
with a stiff chassis to
inoculate it against any
flex we drove over
all kinds of roads, good
and bad, and never once
felt the hint of any
The Cascada can come with another, better kind of 'flex' Flex-Ride.
Vauxhall's adaptive damper system gives the driver a choice of three ride modes:
Normal, Tour, and Sport. In Tour, Flex-Ride does a fine job of taking the sting
out of poor blacktop.
mode not only switches the instrument pack's illumination from white to a bull-baiting
red, but tightens things up some by stiffening the dampers, sharpening up the
throttle response, weighting up the steering, and raising the up-shift threshold.
In this state you'll be keenly aware of its ability to press on through bends
and around corners; and all very neat and tidy it is too. In Normal the system
will automatically activate sport suspension if your driving style suddenly
calls for it, for instance, when you're pressing on through a winding section
However, despite the all-turbocharged engine line-up, the rather weighty, sprung-for-comfort
Cascada's real forte is relaxed top-down cruising that even the 19-inch alloys
shod with 235/45 Bridgestone rubber couldn't spoil.
If you're confident enough to have conquered badge snobitis and you're in the
market for a likeable, comfortable, genuine four-seater drop-top with a premium
look that's good to drive, then the Cascada could be your automotive soul mate.
Cascada 1.6i 16v Turbo Elite | £28,890
Maximum speed: 135mph | 0-60mph: 9.2 seconds | Overall Test MPG: 31.3mpg
Power: 167bhp | Torque: 191lb ft | CO2 168g/km