Tag Archive | "Cascada"

Convertible Cruising

In the UK, sadly, there’s not a lot of point in having a convertible when it rains. Yet when the sun does come out there are few things more fun that cruising in a convertible. Many soft-tops only have two seats – or at best are 2+2 – which isn‘t the most convenient thing in a daily driver, so how about a more family friendly option – the Vauxhall Cascada?

Forget what you knew about badge snobbery. The fact is that Vauxhall make very good cars these days and no longer should be out of the running simply because of some lacklustre cars from the past. The Cascada has a premium feel. Although there are some company styling similarities as is usual these days, this is a new car from the ground up.cas1 Convertible Cruising

The inside is spacious and refined. The leather sports seats are supremely adjustable and super-comfortable. I especially liked the pull-out seat squab for extra support beneath the thighs. The two passenger doors are wide and allow easy access to the back thanks to the auto-operation of the front seats. Tilt the back rest and the seat glides forward. Push it back and it reverses. Easy. The rest of the interior is well designed and made with little evidence of cheap materials and there is absolutely loads of kit – sat-nav, connectivity, climate, heated leather steering wheel and plenty more – as standard.

cas2 Convertible CruisingThe large, steeply raked windscreen and rising window line give the Cascada a purposeful stance. The fabric roof creates a low roofline, although the steeply raked back window means a somewhat narrow view in the rear view mirror. Lower the hood and you get frameless windows and a flat rear deck not unlike the stern of a pleasure cruiser.

The roof stows itself very neatly in about 12 seconds into a recessed area which inevitably compromises the boot space although there’s still room for an overnight bag and some shopping. With the roof in place the boot is deep and capacious although not the easiest to access. It’s a convertible – you can’t have it all ways.

Driving with the top down, the Cascada is pretty refined. As speeds increase so there is some wind buffeting, although front and rear wind deflectors are available. The model featured in our images is in Elite trim and drive comes from a 1.6L turbo-petrol engine with 170PS. Inevitably, the car is heavy but the engine still delivers lively performance but, alas, is not the most economical choice. Thinking about economy I rejected the ‘Sport’ mode button in favour of ‘Tour’ but still only achieved an average of 30mpg in mixed motoring. As a long distance tourer I would think that the 2.0L diesel engine would be a better choice.

Handling is good thanks Vauxhall’s ‘HiPerStrut’ suspension but it’s not a sports car so don’t expect sharp cornering attributes. For Motor Blogger, the very lightly weighted power steering lacked feel although the ‘Sport’ mode weights it up a bit. Overall though the Cascada has a composed and supple ride making long trips a pleasure.

So, the Vauxhall Cascada is a poised and comfortable four-seat drop-top. It is quiet and spacious enough for everyday use whilst remaining a great long distance tourer. None of the currently available versions cost over £30,000 which seems like value for money. An excellent convertible.

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Topless Cascada From Vauxhall

The designers at Vauxhall have obviously been working tirelessly lately. They’ve gone electric with the terrific Ampera, made much of the Mokka and the funky Adam; now they’ve got the wind in their hair with the, it has to be said, sensational looking Cascada, which is Spanish for waterfall. Let’s hope they don’t mean coolant.

If we’re honest, Vauxhall’s choice of car names may not be to everyone’s taste. There is a trend, to be fair, for being a tad left field – a bit out there – these days when it comes to the naming of products generally but, well…

Anyway, if this new convertible drives as well as it looks they surely are onto a winner. It’s a big car, comfortably seating four, and its underpinnings are a mixture of Astra and Insignia bits. Crucially, the body has been strengthened to minimise scuttle shake. This is a problem that still assails some convertibles even with today’s build integrity, so it will be interesting to see how the Cascada deals with it.

The hood is fabric but is multi-layered and has thermal lining. Vauxhall state that it will withstand the worst that the British winter can throw at it. Not that you’ll find out this winter because the car won’t be in the showrooms until March next year – just right for the undoubtedly glorious summer in 2013.

This car is bigger than an equivalent A5 ragtop but should undercut the German car on price. It will be powered initially by a 1.6L petrol turbo shoving out a relatively modest 168bhp, which probably means leisurely rather than sporty progress. A smaller 1.4L is on the cards coupled with the now ubiquitous two litre diesel. Don’t despair though because at least one more powerful version is in the pipeline. A six speed auto box will keep everything under control.

Previously seen on the hot VXR Insignia, the Cascada will offer the proven technology of the company’s HiPerStrut front suspension which, in combination with adaptive dampers, is designed to rein in any tendency for torque steer. This is the phenomenon whereby engine torque under heavy acceleration seems to pull the car to one side –  a common enough experience with more powerful front wheel drive cars.

Also in the box will be the usual extras you’d expect in a premium car with the added bonus of a heated steering wheel. This is Vauxhall’s first foray into this premium sector since the 1930s. Judging by the image above they are on to a winner. Even in our climate.

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