Holden Cas­cada con­vert­ible out of time

Matamata Chronicle - - Your Paper, Your Place - MO­TOR­ING: DAVID LINKWATER

The Holden Cas­cada is a car out of time in more ways than one.

At the risk of stat­ing the ob­vi­ous, Cas­cada is a con­vert­ible ver­sion of the As­tra - a Euro­pean model that was launched in New Zealand last year, near the end of its model life as Holden moved to ex­pand its hori­zons and broaden its prod­uct-sourc­ing op­tions.

There’s an all-new As­tra set for lo­cal launch in Novem­ber, in five­door form. While the cur­rent Cas­cada will con­tinue for at least two years, it’ll be well out of step with the de­sign and tech­nol­ogy of the new model, which is the reign­ing Euro­pean Car of the Year.

That’s the first is­sue. The sec­ond is that con­vert­ibles in gen­eral have fallen out of favour. The global mar­ket for drop-tops has halved in the last decade, just as SUVs have dou­bled. It’s not quite that sim­ple - the rise of the Chi­nese au­to­mo­tive mar­ket, which shuns con­vert­ibles, has also been a big fac­tor.

But the re­sult is that many main­stream mak­ers are no longer both­er­ing with drop-tops. Peu­geot never re­placed its 307 CC, there’s no longer a Re­nault Me­gane cabri­o­let and Ford did not de­sign an­other Fo­cus con­vert­ible af­ter the pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tion.

The open-top mar­ket has been left to pre­mium mak­ers, which still see plenty of pres­tige in windin-the-hair mo­tor­ing; they now hold the ma­jor­ity-share of the global con­vert­ible mar­ket, whereas a decade ago it was dom­i­nated by main­stream brands.

So it’s en­tirely likely that there won’t be an­other Opel/Holden Cas­cada con­vert­ible at all.

Against that back­drop, what ap­peal is there in the Cas­cada? Prob­a­bly the same as there al­ways was: if you’re a con­vert­ible per­son, it ticks the right boxes. It still looks sen­sa­tional, and of course it’s a lit­tle less aged than the cur­rent As­tra hatch­back: Cas­cada was launched in Europe in 2013, while its three-door sib­ling dates back to 2009.

As a lit­tle slice of high lux­ury, it still works. Cas­cada is fully loaded for NZ, with 20-inch wheels, leather up­hol­stery, heated seats and steer­ing wheel, and park­ing cam­era.

Holden claims it’s a proper four-seater and while you wouldn’t want to com­plete a long­haul trip in the back seat, Cas­cada can cer­tainly trans­port four adults to a fash­ion­able cafe with- out two of them hav­ing to be cir­cus per­form­ers.

The hood works well: it’s fully pow­ered and the triple-layer con­struc­tion means ex­cel­lent re­fine­ment when it’s raised. Which it is most of the time on cars like th­ese. So it’s still quite a tempt­ing propo­si­tion for $45k.


Nice leather, but clut­tered switchgear re­minds us of this model’s ad­vanc­ing age.

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