New name un­der the roof

As­tra reborn as Cas­cada makes a welcome re­turn for long sum­mer evenings, CHRIS RI­LEY finds.

Geelong Advertiser - Motoring - - CARSGUIDE -

WHEN most peo­ple think of con­vert­ibles their thoughts turn to sum­mer.

But this is the worst time to drop the roof on one of these beau­ties. It’s too hot and you’re go­ing to get burnt, trust me.

Many women don’t like con­vert­ibles ei­ther, be­cause that wind in your hair plays havoc with their hair. But, in the cool of a sum­mer evening — a con­vert­ible is magic.

Holden’s Cas­cada comes from Europe and is part of the re­badged Opel line-up.

The name is new but the car isn’t be­cause we knew it be­fore as the As­tra con­vert­ible.

It looks and feels like a big­ger car this time, but there has ob­vi­ously been some in­put from Holden be­cause the ride is un­ex­pect­edly sup­ple — so un­like the Eu­ros we’re used to.

Priced from $41,990, for a lim­ited time you can also grab a spe­cial Launch edi­tion with 20inch wheels and ex­tra kit for $44,990.

The broad bon­net hides a 1.6-litre tur­bocharged petrol en­gine that de­liv­ers 125kW of power and 260Nm of torque (280Nm briefly dur­ing “over­boost”).

It’s hooked up to a six-speed auto, with man­ual shift ca­pa­bil­ity, but lacks change pad­dles.

Sports sus­pen­sion, elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol and 18-inch wheels are stan­dard, along with a space saver spare.

It has four airbags but is yet to re­ceive a safety rat­ing.

The rel­a­tively small en­gine is not go­ing to pin your ears back, but there’s enough there to make life mildly ex­cit­ing.

Mid-range re­sponse is es­pe­cially grat­i­fy­ing.

Too bad they couldn’t have found a smoother auto, though, be­cause this one suf­fers from an oc­ca­sional hic­cup and at un­ex­pected mo­ments it bucks.

The chas­sis ex­hibits some flex and shud­der with­out the sup­port of a roof, but it’s a lot bet­ter than many drop tops we’ve driven.

Rated at 7.2 litres/100km, we were get­ting 8.1 af­ter 430km.

The clas­sic fab­ric, triple­lay­ered acous­tic power roof can be re­tracted in 17 sec­onds, even on the move at up to 50km/h.

With the roof up it’s pretty quiet in­side but even then there’s not much room in the boot.

In­side you’ll find sat­nav, heated seats, a heated steer­ing wheel, DAB dig­i­tal ra­dio, auto lights and wipers, front and rear park­ing sen­sors as well as a rear view cam­era.

The trans­for­ma­tion from Opel to Holden has also brought with it Holden’s allsing­ing and danc­ing MyLink in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem, but it re­lies on your mo­bile to get the best out of it with apps like Pan­dora and Stitcher. The Cas­cada may not set the world on fire but it brings the high life within reach of the av­er­age punter — and that ap­plies to most of us. It gets 3 ½ stars out of five.

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