Holden Cascada convertible out of time
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.