2016 Buick Cascada First Look
This is a whole different Buick.
One of General Motors’ hottest brands should continue to warm up when it brings the Opel Cascada to America and gives it a Buick badge.
The 2+2 convertible is unlike any modern-day Buick. It will be quick, it will be nimble, and it will be more fun than a Regal GS on a closed road course. The Buick Cascada will debut Monday at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit and will feature a 1.6-liter direct injection, turbocharged four-cylinder engine that will crank out 200 horsepower and 206 lb-ft of torque. Media will get a sneak peek on Sunday evening in Detroit.
The engine will also feature an overboost mode that can create 221 lb-ft of torque for a few seconds for just a little bit more power. Even with the wheels pushed out to the corners, this wedge-like convertible has a 106.1-inch wheelbase. It should have more of a luxurious go-kart feel to its handling with a Z-link design for the rear axle and a HIPer Strut in the front suspension that GM says will limit torque steer, isolate road inputs, and provide superior handling. Bypassing an independent rear suspension, the Cascada should have more room in the trunk, offering 13.4 cubic feet with the top up and 9.8 cubic feet with the top down.
Buick promises a stiff body made with high-strength steel in some places and reinforced side sills and pressed hardened steel in the A-pillars. It appears to be a solid package inside and out.
The car will come with a six-speed automatic transmission and include rack-mounted electric power steering. The cloth roof, which has multiple layers of fabric, will go up or down in 17 seconds and can be operated with the car moving up to 31 mph.
Buick will include LED taillamps and signature LED daytime running lamps in the front. The interior will contain a number of soft materials and maintain Buick’s luxurious look and feel. Of course, like every convertible should, the Cascada will provide heated front seats and a heated steering wheel, which will add a few months a year for northern-bound residents who still want to drive with the top down.
It’s an interesting fit for Buick, and hopefully the Cascada’s success doesn’t mean in a few years Chevrolet will try to steal it. Just look at what happened with the Buick Encore and Chevrolet Trax.
Bringing over Opel models has gone well for Buick. The midsize Regal is sold as the Insignia in Europe and is an excellent vehicle. This is an immigration policy that Republicans and Democrats should both embrace.
Buick, which continues to show notable growth, saw sales climb 11.4 percent in 2014 in the U.S. There’s no reason to suspect those sales will drop in 2015. The Cascada is a great way to start the year.
The European-spec Opel Cascada is shown below: