Holden hasn’t had a 4 seat convertible in it’s range since they stopped selling the Astra a few years ago so It’s no surprise they have dipped into the Opel catalog again to bring you their latest convertible the Cascada.
I know the name will be familiar to some as it was on the list of cars Opel wanted to bring to Australia before they unexpectedly upped, closed their doors and left after only 12 months.
The Cascada could be called a convertible Astra by another name which it essentially is as it’s built on the same platform and most of the interior screams Astra as well.
Priced from $41,990 plus on roads, Holden has priced the Cascada reasonable when comparing it to our convertibles on the market.
On the outside I think the Cascada looks pretty damn good and is great mix of sporty looks and swooping lines all done with a touch of class.
Slipping behind the leather bound steering which is comfortable to hold and has a heating function was the perfect thickness for myself.
The leather front seats are comfortable and are heated for those cold days and I found in combination with the heated steering wheel, kept me perfectly warm when driving with the top down.
Rear leg room was better than I thought it would be, although someone taller than me might have some issues. Being only a 4 seater the rear seats remind me more of a front seat then your normal back seat and I found them comfortable to sit in.
The instrument panel with 2 large dials flanking a small LCD screen were easy to read is most light, although it does look a touch dated to me.
The leather covered dash does add a touch of class to the interior, other hand while the centre stack doesn’t look too bad, the amount of buttons for the audio system are a touch intimidating for some people at first glance. I did eventually learn most of the buttons by the end of the week, but everybody that went for ride it (and there were lots it’s a convertible) commented on the number of buttons.
I’ve been a fan of Holden’s Mylink system since it was introduced a few years ago, but this version is sadly an absolute pain in the backside.
On most other Holden’s Mylink is a touch screen, in the Cascada it’s not which means operated by a button so it’s fiddly and frustrating to use and now where as user friendly as a touch screen.
Being the first convertible I’ve reviewed I wasn’t what quite sure what to expect and at first I felt like a bit of a poser but after a couple hours that feeling went and I tried to take advantage of the folding roof any chance I got even at night on my way home at night.
This Cascada came with a wind break that installs behind the front seats , which works great when there are only 2 of you on board and basically cuts down 90% of the wind you get blowing around you with the top down.
I just found it fun to be able to hop in and in under 20secs have roof down, good thing about it is that the roof will retract at up to 50kph so you don’t actually have to wait for it to go up or down before moving off.
Like all all convertibles boot space is a touch limited thanks to the folding roof but its, It packs plenty of boot space with the roof raised (380 litres). With the roof down you still get a decent 280 litres, though like all convertibles there are serious height restrictions due to the space taken up by the dropped roof (and luggage protector). A 50/50 split-fold function for the back seat adds welcome versatility.
Under the bonnet its powered by a 1.6L turbo 4 cylinder pushing out 125kW of power and 260Nm of torque, the Cascada is not what you call a stellar performer, the engine is like a lot of other small turbo engines where it doesn’t really come to life til you have a few rev’s on board.
It will keep up with traffic with out an issue and while it will effortlessly sit on the speed limit on the highway, the Cascada is hamstrung by it’s hefty weight 1744kg (It weight’s more than SSV Commodore). So it does feel a little sluggish when faced with steep hills or when you need to over take on the freeway.
Fuel economy it struggled a little as well and certainly wasn’t as good as I’d hoped which I would partly attribute to it’s weight. Over the week I averaged 11L/100km during my normal commute, on the freeway it did get down to the 6’s. The other problem which might be a turn off to some people is that prefers 98ron premium unleaded.
Backing the turbo 4 cylinder is 6 speed auto and while shifts seemed smooth, it seemed to hunt for gears at times and did have a habit of down shifting a gear or two when faced with the hills I face on my commute. It certainly down shifted a lot more than any other car I’ve driven over the same trip so far this year. It does have a manual shift mode but I never found the need to use it during the week.
On the road I found the Cascada rather nice indeed it seemed to ride nice and smooth and didn’t feel upset or unsettled by any bumps. In fact quite a few people that rode in it commented on how smooth they thought the ride was. It seemed to handle corners well, but you can feel it’s weight through the sharper corners where there is a bit of lean.
Safety wise the Cascada has received a 5 Star ANCAP and comes with a long list of safety features including Dual front and side airbags, ESC and ABS, front and rear parking sensors and scores full marks from for having a rear view camera as well.
After a week I came away with mixed feelings part of me didn’t want to hand it back because I did have ball driving around with the roof down and music turned up, but there were few let downs as well which made me think that I would rather have something else fill the empty spot in my garage next to our Captiva.
If taken on face value as a nice classy convertible it fills the brief better, it looks great, the folding roof function works great and doesn’t take long at all, the seats are comfortable and the ride is nice and smooth.
The equipment levels are good and it’s priced quite reasonably so if your in the market for a convertible than the Holden Cascada should definitely be on your list.
To find out more about the Cascada check out Holden’s website www.holden.com.au or get down to your local dealership and check them out in the flesh.
Engine: 1.6L turbo 4 cylinder rated at 125kW and 260Nm
dual zone climate control, sat nav, Bluetooth, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, leather trim, auto headlights, rain sensing wipers, power roof and 18 inch alloys.