Cascada Elite 2.0 CDTi
that will comfortably seat
four adults are few and far between;
and those that do are usually wearing
an expensive premium badge.
But wait... whats that handsome
drop-top I spy beginning with a C?
THE CASCADA, FROM VAUXHALL. Stylish? Check. Affordable? Check. Good
to drive? Check. So what's stopping you? Could it be a mild dose of badge-snobbery?
Don't feel bad; we're all prone to it. However, suspend your prejudices and
take a Cascada for a cruise we guarantee you'll be pleasantly surprised.
And so will your three grown-up passengers. There's no escaping the fact that
for your average fashion-conscious cabrio customer, image is paramount
and looks-wise the Cascada cuts it!
Fronted by a thrusting nose, the Cascada sports a boldly-chromed, shield-shaped
grille flanked by headlamps with LED daytime running light 'eyebrows' and a
bonnet sloping back into a steeply-raked, cab-forward-design screen. Flat-cut,
flared wheelarches house dramatic 20-inch, 5-twinspoke, bi-colour alloy wheels
wrapped in meaty lo-pro rubber, while sharp creases along the flanks run back
over the rear haunches and flow into the wraparound tail lights.
the back a chrome strip links the rear light clusters beneath a lip spoiler
that finishes off a boot lid topped with a shark-fin aerial. With its 'clean'
profile and finished in an eye-catching metallic blue, 'our' Cascada looked
far more expensive than it actually costs.
will want to travel
topless whenever and
wherever they can
get away with it
and the Cascadas
will allow them
to indulge their desires
to the full at every
Undeniably fetching with its top down, the Cascada also looks well-groomed with
its sleek fabric hood in place thanks to the combination of a low roofline,
steeply raked back screen and frameless windows, it easily passes muster as
a fashionable pillarless coupe.
Fresh-air aficionados will want to travel topless whenever and wherever they
can get away with it and the Cascada's unruffled aerodynamics will allow
them to indulge their desires to the full at every opportunity.
After entering and shutting the doors, front seat users are elegantly presented
with their seatbelts by an electronic belt-butler. The well-proportioned cabin
offers leather-upholstered seating for four adults and even with the roof up
there's a fist of headroom in the front. The twin-cockpit-effect dash is sporty;
the wide centre-stack topped by a non-touchscreen 7-inch infotainment display.
Fit and finish are good, and soft-touch materials and carbon-fibre-effect trim
add to the inviting ambiance.
Immediately ahead of the driver, and viewed though the heated leather wheel,
are four chrome-ringed dials clustered around a multifunction trip computer-cum-driver's
information screen; as well as showing comprehensive trip data it also has a
digital speed readout. You can, of course, take for granted a full infotainment
inventory with IntelliLink, Aux-in/USB connectivity with iPod control, digital
radio, CD/MP3 CD-player, Bluetooth with audio streaming, and Vauxhall's OnStar
concierge-telematics-4G WiFi hotspot-SOS service. You can also use voice control
for the phone, audio and navigation. Rounding it all off in our test car was
the optional SatNav and rearview camera.
Both the driver and front passenger enjoy deeply contoured ergonomic sports
seats that benefit from extendable front cushions and four-way electrical lumbar
adjustment and particularly comfortable multi-adjustable headrests as
well as being 3-stage heated and 3-stage cooled. And, as you'd guess from just
looking at them, they are very supportive; they're also summer-proofed because
their patterned and perforated leather upholstery has been treated to reflect
driving position is spot-on, and with your palms wrapped around the meaty leather-rim
of the flat-bottomed wheel the Cascada is easy to place accurately on the road.
that you can
enjoy al fresco
motoring for as many
days of the year as
its not raining,
getting the top down
couldnt be simpler:
press the switch
alongside the electric
parking brake and
17 seconds later
youll be as topless as
you could wish...
With the roof in place the Cascada's 'inner space' is as good as many a tin-top's,
and even the letterbox view through the rear screen is unexpectedly fit for
purpose (standard-fit sensors help out when parking).
important of all and ensuring that you can enjoy al fresco motoring for
as many days of the year as it's not raining, getting the top down couldn't
be simpler: press the switch alongside the electric parking brake and 17 seconds
later you'll be as topless as you could wish.
There's a very effective windbreaker that takes just seconds to fit if
you're not putting peeps in the rear seats, you can leave it in-situ as not
only can you see perfectly through the mesh but the upright wind-blocking section
can be folded down to hide stuff left on the back seats. Well protected from
any buffeting or bluster, you and your passenger will be able to converse in
While it's no problem driving topless with the side windows down, with them
all up the cockpit's a haven conveniently, one switch opens or closes
them simultaneously and, of course, they go down automatically as part of the
roof's electric-driven opening ballet.
Safety is taken care of by an Electronic Stability Programme, a full set of
airbags, reinforced windscreen, active rollover protection system (roll-bars
that spring up from behind the rear seats in the event of a crash), active-safety
front seat head restraints, rain-sensing wipers, and automatic lighting control
with tunnel detection and digital high beam assist, tyre pressure monitoring,
dual-tone horn, and LED rear lights.
Optional safety and driver aids include a forward-looking camera system (that
brings with it traffic sign recognition), lane departure warning, forward collision
alert, side blind-spot alert, and adaptive forward lighting (shines the headlights
into all those usually missed parts of the road, and automatically dips the
main beams to avoid dazzling other road users).
mentioning is that as well as the 'big ticket' items such as great heated and
cooled seats, leather upholstery, and a stylish hood all being present and correct,
the small but equally meaningful touches haven't been forgotten such
as where to stow your personal gear. You'll find a lockable glovebox, bottle-holding
door pockets, and a useful coin box in the right-hand fascia; between the gearlever
and the sliding front centre armrest (with its own storage cubby) is a lidded
customisable bin that you can make deep or shallow, and use it for two carryout
coffees, or not simply clever!
are plenty of other nice-to-live-with touches too, including the no-hassle drive-through
electric parking brake, mood lighting, powerfold on-demand door mirrors, automatic
drive-off door locking, and the SatNav's foolproof full postcode destination
entry with 3D mapping and unambiguous spoken directions.
the best out of
the 2.0-litre is
undemanding as the
engine likes to rev and
the manual box offers
a set of six well-spaced
ratios along with
a sweet and willing
And its commendably
sparing with the fuel
a weeks spirited driving
saw a test average
of 45.9 mpg...
many 'four-seat' cabrios will actually take four adults the Cascada is
one that will. Access is straightforward thanks to an Easy
Entry system that power-slides the front seats forwards after the backrest is
tilted. While four can travel well, even with the roof up, top-down you'll all
feel as free as the birds.
powered roof folds away into a dedicated 'pouch' in the boot almost without
a sound and at speeds of up to 31mph (handy if you're caught in a sudden
shower although as other drivers tend to watch mesmerised take care using it
on the fly).
And there's no age restrictions for those making use of the individual rear
seats; the average adult will have ample head, knee and legroom; there are also
outer armrests and twin cupholders. What all this adds up to is that the four-seating
Cascada works not just as a second car but could easily be your 'alpha' wheels.
The 'silver lining' is that driving topless is an always-enjoyable treat just
17 seconds away.
Whatever model you buy from Vauxhall they give you a wide selection of engines,
and the Cascada is no different. There are three petrol-fuelled power options:
138bhp 1.4-litre; 167bhp or 197bhp 1.6-litre. And one turbodiesel as
tested here, the 167bhp 2.0-litre CDTi. All are front-wheel drive set-ups with
six-speed manual or automatic gearboxes.
167bhp oil-burner goes about its business calmly and its 295lb ft of torque
serves up unruffled but punchy progress with good economy. Getting the best
out of the 2.0-litre is undemanding as the engine likes to rev and the manual
'box offers a set of six well-spaced ratios along with a sweet and willing change
action. When you're taking it easy it feels geared for relaxed cruising. And
it's commendably sparing with the fuel a week's spirited driving saw
a test average of 45.9mpg.
Underpinning the Cascada's rigid 4.7-metre-long body is plenty of high-strength
stiffening along with reinforced A-pillars and, most importantly, a suspension
set-up that uses Vauxhall's HiPerStrut front suspension (adapted from the hard-charging
323bhp Insignia VXR).
HiPerStruts combine all the benefits of a conventional set-up but without the
drawbacks of torque-steer or a loss of traction under hard cornering. The steering
is rack-and-pinion with speed-sensitive assistance to minimise steering effort
at lower speeds; at higher speeds the assistance is automatically reduced for
a greater degree of involvement and more effort.
unlikely to have been
expecting are the
Simply flick the release
switches in the boot
and down go the seats all
by themselves to create
a versatile 750-litre
loadbay that easily
allows long objects to
noted, all you really need to know is that the Cascada is a tidy-handler with
no flexing or shuddering from the bodyshell, and is sprung to deliver a compliant
ride relaxing long-distance cruising is high on its list of abilities.
Around the houses it does an agreeable job of soaking up the bumps and crossing
potholes without any crashiness, even rolling on the optional 20-inchers fitted
to our test car.
not to say pressing-on isn't on the agenda the Cascada's dynamic credentials
of a torquey engine, effective damping, and a responsive helm together make
it enjoyable to drive when you up the pace. Equally reassuring, hefty front
discs provide strong and dependable braking.
For the record, FlexRide Vauxhall's adaptive damping system is
optional; specify it and you'll get three driving modes including Tour and Sport,
which firms up damping and steering, and sharpens throttle response.
the 'trunk' (the tailgate badge doubles as the release) and you'll find 380
litres of space available for luggage. That's if you're travelling roof-up
with it down there's only 280 litres as when folded away the hood 'parks' in
a dedicated well incorporated into the boot (when the roof is raised this semi-rigid
pouch can be easily pushed upwards to reclaim the 'missing' 100 litres).
Something you're very unlikely to have been expecting are the 50:50-split rear
seatbacks. Simply flick the release switches in the boot and down go the backrests
all by themselves to create a versatile 750-litre loadbay that easily allows
long objects to be carried.
Brits just love to get their tops off and Vauxhall's genuine four-seater convertible
ticks all the important boxes for cabrio-lovers. Enjoy! ~ MotorBar
Vauxhall Cascada Elite 2.0 CDTi
Maximum speed: 135mph | 0-62mph: 9.6 seconds | Test Average: 45.9mpg
Power: 167bhp | Torque: 295lb ft | CO2: 129g/km