The Buick Cascada is the rare convertible that is both affordable and capable of carrying four passengers in comfort. It's on the slow side and its interior is dated, but the top works well and its road manners are well controlled. With so few convertibles offering this combination of price and space, the Buick Cascada is a unique choice in the midsize segment.
Buick is back in the convertible business with the Cascada. It's a four-seat soft top that hits the middle ground in the market between the comparably sized convertibles from luxury brands such as Audi and BMW to smaller, less expensive drop-tops, such as the Mini Cooper and Volkswagen Beetle.
Like the other convertibles we've mentioned, the Cascada has old-world roots. It was designed by Opel, GM's former European division. Performance isn't exactly scintillating. The 200-horsepower, turbocharged 1.6-liter engine under the hood has to motivate nearly 2 tons of car, which dulls both acceleration and handling. Buick softened the suspension for American tastes, and the Cascada rides comfortably, though there's a bit more road noise with the top up than we'd like. The Cascada is far from perfect, but it is an attractively priced entry in a segment that is largely underserved.
Current Buick Cascada The Buick Cascada is offered in Base, Premium and Sport Touring trim levels. All feature a power-operated soft top that can be raised and lowered at speeds up to 31 mph, along with lots of luxury features, including leather upholstery, dual-zone climate control, a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot and a touchscreen stereo. The Cascada Premium adds more creature comforts and safety-related driver aids, while the Sport Touring is an appearance package that includes unique paint, wheels and trim. There are no factory options for any Cascada models.
Pop open the Buick Cascada's hood and you'll find a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 200 hp and 207 pound-feet of torque. All Cascadas get a six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. Acceleration is pokey — we timed the Cascade to 60 mph in a stately 9.1 seconds — but real-world power feels reasonably adequate, at least until you try to pass another car on a two-lane road. The EPA estimates the Cascada's fuel economy at just 23 mpg, which is not a number of which Buick should be particularly proud. The Cascada feels agile considering its weight, and the ride is steady and comfortable, even when the Cascada is fitted with the big 20-inch wheels.
Buick is positioned as an entry-level luxury brand, but the Cascada's interior shows Opel's blue-collar roots. Its materials quality is unbecoming for a luxury car; and the low-res touchscreen and gaggle of buttons scattered about the dashboard make the Cascada's cabin seem dated. On the plus side, the back seat is decently sized, at least by convertible standards, though it feels claustrophobic with the top up. Speaking of the top, the mechanism uses a single button (no knuckle-busting latches) and can be raised or lowered when the car is moving at speeds up to 31 mph — very handy if you're driving and the rain suddenly starts (or stops). Top operation takes about 17 seconds, which is respectably quick.
The Cascada's top lowers into the trunk, which holds a reasonable 13.4 cubic feet of luggage with the top up and an almost reasonable 9.8 cubic feet with the top lowered. The opening is on the small side, but the Cascada's split-folding rear seat provides added flexibility for carrying larger items.
Used Buick Cascada Models Buick introduced the Cascada to the market for the 2016 model year. In 2017, the Sport Touring model joined the lineup.