Full of surprises Paul Acres
Delivers his verdict on Vauxhall’s cabriolet, the Cascada
Vauxhall’s Cascada is a surprisingly rare sight on our roads. It’s a surprise because it is actually rather good. It will accommodate four adults – though knee room in the rear would make longer journeys slightly less appealing – and a sizeable portion of their luggage too, thanks its decent 380-litre boot.
There are just two trim levels, SE and Elite, and you do get a generous amount of equipment, with air con, 18in alloy wheels, DAB tuner, Bluetooth handsfree calling and audio streaming, cruise control, and rear parking sensors. My Elite trim test car adds dual-zone air con, part leather heated electrically adjustable sports seats, windbreak and automatic light and wipers so it’s just a pity, then, that you have to sit in what is a largely uninspiring, though well put together and spacious, cabin.
Standard on both models is Vauxhall’s OnStar, which gives drivers access to call centre services and acts act as a wifi hotspot for up to seven people.
There a confusing array of buttons on the centre console – quite possibly 42 of them but don’t quote me because while I started out determined once I’d got beyond 20 my enthusiasm to see the count through waned significantly and, consequently, I may have made a (tiny) error – that can be fiddly to operate.
At the front the Cascada rides on the McPherson HiPerStrut underpinnings borrowed from the VXR models and Watt’s Link suspension at the rear.
The Cascada is set up for comfort and refinement, not poise and guile, while the gearing is, literally, geared towards economy, rather than performance.
It’s quite a large, heavy car and it shows when you try to inject a little pace into proceedings and things start to get a little ragged very quickly.
Driven as Vauxhall clearly intended, however, and the Cascada offers up an amenable, uncomplicated ride. Its goal is to get you from A to B with the minimum of fuss and the maximum of style. It does that with aplomb.
The 2.0-litre CDTI unit powering my test car produces 170PS and it, along with the six speed manual gearbox that sends power to the front wheels complement perfectly the Cascada’s personality.
The diesel unit, though noticeably vocal when pressed, especially with the roof down, is hushed at cruising speeds.
Generous torque – 400Nm of it available from 1,750rpm – means that it never struggles to cope with the Cascada’s bulk.
The Cascada is a competent and comfortable machine that, while it isn’t going to set the world on fire, is certainly worthy of a rather large dollop of respect.
That there aren’t more if them on our roads – roads dominated by convertibles built by manufacturers residing in a country a few hundred miles east of here – can’t be blamed on Vauxhall’s inability to produce a worthy competitor because they have, and it is.
Compared to its rivals, you get a lot of car for your money.
If you’re in the market for a cabriolet any time soon, the Cascada is worth a second look.