The Vauxhall Cascada looks good, is well engineered and undercuts several key rivals.
Whether it has the badge to succeed in a notoriously badge-conscious sector of the market is of course another thing, but if rear seat practicality is part of your decision-making process for a car of this kind, then here’s one that’s difficult to ignore, especially in entry-level 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol form.
As any chassis engineer knows, lopping the top off a car is the preferred way to make it handle like an unroadworthy charabanc. That’s why the best convertibles are those which have been designed from the outset to have no roof, and have all of the requisite stiffening in place.
That’s certainly the case with the Cascada, which is 43 per cent stiffer torsionally and ten per cent more resistant to bending forces than the Astra TwinTop, Vauxhall’s last open-topped car.
Vauxhall’s HiPerStrut front suspension, first used in the 325PS Insignia VXR, is standard across the Cascada range. The system separates damping and steering functions, reducing torque steer, while also improving steering feel and cornering control. In addition to this, the Cascada’s electric power steering module is mounted direct to the rack for greater feel and precision.
The Cascada scores straight off the bat by looking the part. A large convertible lends itself to a low sleek look, but not all four-seat cabrios ultimately escape the dumpster look. The Vauxhall thankfully does. At 4,697mm long and 1,840mm wide, the Cascada is surprisingly big.
With the top down, it has a very clean profile, with no roof-top cover or visible roll-over protection disturbing the car’s silhouette aft of the steeplyraked A-pillar. It’s also elegantly proportioned when the hood’s up, thanks to a nicely contoured hood shape and a sharply raked rear screen.
The Vauxhall Cascada looks to have virtually all the ingredients to guarantee success at the affordable end of the executive convertible segment.
It looks good, the finish seems very polished and it’s got some solid engineering underneath the pretty lines.
Whether it can steal sales from posher brands in this notoriously badge-conscious sector is another thing of course.