Buick introduced its latest model today. Called the Cascada, this 2+2 two door represents a return to the convertible market.
It has been 25 since the 1990-1991 Regatta, the last Buick convertible, was offered.
The Cascada already existed under the Opel nameplate, and Buick has cloned it for the North American market.
It is expected to be released later this year.
The engine is a 200 hp turbo-charged inline 4 cylinder that produces 206 lb-ft of torque. There is also an overboost which delivers 221 lb-ft in limited quantity.
Technology like variable valve timing and direct injection help make the 1.6L engine a peppy fuel sipper.
The power is directed to the front wheels through a 6-speed automatic. The standard wheels are aluminum and 20 inches in diameter.
There are plenty of cars that were ruined by having the roof chopped off.
The result is a wobbly, twisty and uncontrolled feeling.
In an effort to curtail such trouble Buick made use of high strength steel reinforcements at key places and hardened A-pillars.
Soaking up the bumps and ruts is a modified version of the MacPherson front strut design found on the Buick Regal. Keeping the rear wheel in line is a newly designed and compact Watts Z-link suspension.
Key to this design is its ability to keep the rear axle centered throughout a corner, providing a solidly planted feeling of confidence.
The inside features a very Buick layout. The soft touch dash material has real stitching, and the front seats and steering wheel are heated for cool weather comfort.
The Cascada makes use of Buick’s IntelliLink with a seven inch color touch screen and features text message alerts, Siri Eyes Free for Apple iOS 6 or newer phones and navigation. As all GM products, the Cascada features the OnStar system, this specific model uses the 4G LTE software and provides a WiFi hotspot.
Giving the Cascada more utility is the ample storage capacity-ample for a convertible.
The 13.4 cubic feet (380 liters) of cargo room when the top is up and the 9.8 cubic feet (280 liters) with the top down, equals all the room you need for a weekend trip.
If the trunk is not quite up for the job, the rear seats will fold down electronically allowing you to store longer items.
Access to the rear seats is eased by the automatic front seat.
When you tilt the front seat forward an electric motor slides the entire seat forward. Then, when you sit the seat back to its upright position, the motor returns the chair to its rearward position.
Basically, this means you no longer have to bend down and manually push/pull the seat to gain access to the rear seat.
No upmarket convertible is complete without a neatly stowed roof when the sun is out.
The roof retracts in 17 seconds, and this operation can take place while the car is moving up to 31 mph or 50 km/h.
Once down the roof resides below a hard tonneau cover, and behind the rear seats. The car is left looking sleek and stylish.
In the case of a roll over, two roll-over beams pop up from behind the rear seats to protect the occupants.
The Cascada is best summed up by Holt Ware, Buick exterior design director, who said, “The Cascada’s design blends the suggestion of speed with sophisticated and uncompromising details. Most convertibles are designed from existing coupes or sedans, meaning stowage of the top is an afterthought, but not this Buick. It looks handsome and has a premium appearance when the top is lowered – and a perfect, seamless profile when it’s up.”