Now here is a surprise package from Vauxhall – an elegant convertible that ticks all the boxes. You could switch the badge to a more upmarket brand and it would stand the test!
It has been a great summer for open air motoring but what about the months ahead. Thankfully, they have thought of the winter too. Heated seats and a very effective heater blasting hot air on a cold day make for a pleasantly invigorating experience.
Yes, you can get the hood down more often than you might think in a fickle climate like ours. In the new Cascada you can achieve open air motoring in around 17 seconds at up to 30mph. Or the reverse if the rain starts!
It is an eye-catching bit of mechanical theatre when you press the button. Windows whirr down, the boot lid opens and the hood magically rises and folds down out of sight. Effortlessly, you can quickly take advantage of any breaks in the weather.
Cruising about with the wind in your hair is the enduring attraction of these machines. The new Vauxhall is a four-seater convertible based on the Astra only slightly larger. It looks gorgeous with modern styling and more than a hint of luxury.
With the hood down, the interior is snug and cosy. Well-shaped and leather upholstered seats mould around your body. The dashboard is brightened up with tasteful chrome trim. A large information/sat nav screen sits in the centre above a bank of control knobs and buttons.
The Cascada ia easy enough to drive and feels very solid and free from rattles and shakes. Engine noise is subdued. All the latest sophisticated systems are there and the car has a quality feel .
I tried the 2.0-litre turbo diesel with a torquey 163bhp and found it coped very well with great pick up through the gears. Other options are turbocharged petrol units – the familiar 1.4 or brand new 1.6 litre – with outputs of 138 and 168bhp.respectively. Another diesel will be added later in the year – the stunning 192bhp Bi-turbo!
All provide respectable performance with acceleration to 62mph taking between 9.2 and 10.2 seconds and top speeds from 129mph to 135mph. The Cascada is available with six-speed manual or automatic gearboxes. An adaptive suspension system is £290 extra allowing you to vary the springing reaction.
When it comes to economy the diesel is the predictable star with a Combined rating of 54mpg and emissions of just 138g/km. The 1.4 petrol turbo returns a respectable 44.8mpg and 148g/km. The livelier 1.6 turbo petrol still does a creditable 39mpg and 168g/km.
As with all convertibles, the hood takes up some boot space but there is still a useful amount of stowage space in the Cascada. There are two trim levels – SE and Elite. The SE has parking beepers, cruise control, DAB radio, air conditioning and stylish 18-inch alloys. The Elite gets climate control, auto lights and windows, those lovely heated leather seats and a wind deflector.
All told, the Cascada is an impressive modern convertible that drives well and has a a high level of build quality and finish. Prices start from £25,495.