Mar 172016

photo by Valerie Menard

If you ask me, there really aren’t enough convertibles on the road today. Thankfully, Buick will add to this niche of a segment with the 2016 Cascada. Hoping to compete with higher-end models like the Audi A3 Cabriolet, the Cascada combines good looks with a competitive price.

Fun by nature, convertibles elevate the driving experience with a unique sense of freedom, but there’s usually a premium placed on feeling the wind in your hair. Considered a halo car for Buick, the Cascada is the brand’s first convertible in 25 years.

photo by Valerie MenardLatino Traffic Report recently attended  the launch in Miami where the two-door ragtop embraced what little sunshine peaked through the clouds on the way to Key West. Offered only in black, the automatic roof should take 17 seconds to recline fully beneath a hard tonneau. You can start the process with the car moving up to 31 mph.

Built as a convertible not a topless version of an already existing model, the Cascada looks good with the top up or down. Its global profile reflects the Opel version upon which it’s based. However, it also means that the Cascada lacks technologies like a blind spot monitor, active cruise control, and push button start because they’re not currently on the Opel version, according to engineers at the launch.

Current standard safety features include a rearview camera, Rear Park Assist, rollover bars behind the rear seat, articulating headlamps and front LED daytime running lamps, and StabiliTrak stability and traction control. Stepping up to the Premium trim level adds Forward Collision Alert, Lane Departure Warning, and Front and Rear Park Assist.2016-01-21 14.06.30

Powered by a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, direct injection and variable valve timing complement the turbo engine’s performance. Matched to a six-speed automatic transmission and using electric power steering, it should achieve an EPA estimated fuel economy of 20 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 27 mpg on the highway.

The innovative HiPer Strut front suspension introduced on the LaCrosse and Regal, and the Watts Z-link suspension in the rear improve ride and handling. There weren’t many curves on the way to Key West but the Cascada felt firm and confident on the road.

On the inside, the posh theme continues with soft-touch material and authentic stitching on an instrument panel. Standard creature comforts include dual-zone air conditioning, heated front seats and leather-wrapped steering wheel, Buick IntelliLink with a seven-inch-diagonal color touch screen featuring Text Message Alerts, Siri Eyes Free for Apple phones with an iOS 6 or newer operating system, AM/FM/SiriusXM stereo,  CD/DVD player and MP3 player with navigation, remote vehicle starter, and OnStar 4G LTE with Wi-Fi hotspot.

2016-01-21 14.04.25While some tech features are missing on the Cascada (hopefully they will be added in future versions), a new entry in the convertible segment is cause for applause.

With only two trim choices on for Buick’s new convertible, the Cascada and Cascada Premium, pricing starts at $33,990 and $36,990 respectively.




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