The Car Connection Buick Cascada Overview
The Buick Cascada is a Euro-style four-seat soft-top convertible that was new for the 2016 model year.
This year, the Cascada carries over largely unchanged aside from some minor shuffling of its exterior paint color palette.
With direct competitors such as the Chrysler 200 and Sebring, Volvo C70, Volkswagen Eos and Toyota Solara out of production, the nearly mid-size Cascada has this small niche mostly to itself. The Cascada is the only affordable, comfort-oriented convertible available as other four-seat convertibles on the market like the Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro, and BMW 2-Series are smaller, sportier and/or more luxurious.
MORE: Read our 2018 Buick Cascada review
The Buick Cascada indirectly competes with the Audi A3 Cabriolet, the BMW 2-Series, the Mini Cooper Convertible, and even Ford's open-top Mustang.
The Cascada, slightly smaller than GM's last entry into this category, the Pontiac G6 hardtop convertible, can be thought of as a topless version of the marque's Verano sedan in both size and platform.
The Cascada is powered by a 200-horsepower, 1.6-liter inline-4 that features direct injection and a turbocharger. The engine is paired exclusively with a 6-speed automatic transmission. According to the EPA, the Cascada is rated at 21 mpg city, 29 highway, 24 combined, putting it in the middle of the pack compared to other convertibles such as the Mini, BMW and Volkswagen.
This front-wheel-drive car is related to the Chevy Cruze and Buick Verano, and incorporates both the HiPer Strut front suspension design of the Verano and the Watts Z-link rear setup used on both models. Like those cars, the Cascada's steering uses electric power assist. Four-wheel disc brakes and big, 20-inch wheels complete a package that should be just sporty enough for this model’s mission.
Officially a 2+2, the Cascada sets rear seat expectations low, and barely offers enough space for kids in back. A power rear-seat entry system returns the front seat exactly where you started, and the rear seatbacks do fold forward for more trunk space when you need it. There’s 13.4 cubic feet of cargo space with the top up, but folding it down—done in as little as 17 seconds, at speeds up to 31 mph—limits the space to 9.8 cubic feet.
Buick’s reputation for a quiet ride is intact, thanks to multi-layer thermal and acoustic insulation for the top.
At the center of the Cascada’s cockpit-like dash layout is a version of the Buick IntelliLink infotainment system, with a touchscreen, text-message alerts, navigation, and Siri Eyes Free compatibility. OnStar 4G LTE data service with a built-in wi-fi hotspot is available, with a free trial included.
Safety-wise, there are active, automatically deploying rollover protection bars. Other safety aids include lane-departure warnings, a rearview camera, rear parking assist, and rain-sensing wipers.
For the 2017 model year, Buick added a Sport Touring model, which gained special blue paint and a black top, as well as newly designed 20-inch wheels and a flat-bottom sport steering wheel.