At nearly 4.7 metres in length, the full size, four-seat, fabric-roof Cascada convertible is longer than an Audi A5 Convertible. It is also the first full-sized convertible designed, engineered and manufactured by Vauxhall since the 1930s.
While the Cascada shares its dimensions with some full-sized convertibles, Vauxhall is positioning it in the C-sector due to its highly competitive pricing. The C-segment accounts for approximately one per cent of the total UK car market or around 21,000 units per annum and Vauxhall expects the Cascada to make up approximately ten per cent of this segment’s volume per year.
Based on price, the Cascada’s key competitors include the Volkswagen Eos and Golf Cabriolet, the BMW 1 Series Convertible and the Audi A3 Cabriolet. Vauxhall’s latest offering is also longer than many other rival convertibles including premium offerings such as the Audi A5 Cabriolet and the BMW 3-Series Convertible.
The Cascada’s cabin mixes the well-equipped functionality of an Insignia’s interior with handcrafted modules not found in any other Vauxhall.
Wrapped in a soft-touch material with high-quality stitching, the instrument cluster tops a wing-shaped panel which flows into the doors and frames the area around each front occupant. All-new, deeply contoured seats are available in a range of embossed fabrics and leathers, and customers have the option of ergonomic, Nappa-leather trimmed seats, which can be heated or ventilated. An Easy Entry system allows access to the rear seats, and electric seat belt presenters make securing front occupants less of a chore.
With a minimum load volume of 280 litres with the roof down, and up to 380 litres roof up, the Cascada is an exceptionally practical convertible. In addition, the rear seats benefit from Vauxhall’s FlexFold system, which electrically releases and folds down the 50:50 split rear seats, allowing longer objects to be carried with ease.
In the cabin, several large storage spaces are available: one in each door and one under the instrument panel, and thanks to the use of a standard Electronic Park Brake across the range, a further cubby is located between the front seats.
Maximising torsional stiffness in a convertible’s body is critical to maintaining a high standard of vehicle dynamics. Despite being significantly larger than Vauxhall’s last convertible model, the TwinTop, by 71mm in its wheelbase and 56mm/70mm (front/rear) in its tracks, the Cascada’s body is 43 per cent stiffer torsionally and 10 per cent more resistant to bending forces.
Targeted underbody strengthening helps the Cascada achieve these figures. Crossed steel bars are mounted to the Watt’s link, across the B-pillars and front subframe, while high-strength tubular steel reinforcement sits inside each of the A-pillars. Collectively, these stiffen the body substantially, leading to precise handling and an exceptionally high degree of acoustic comfort.
The Cascada will come with a broad range of powerful and efficient engines. Starting the line-up is a 1.4-litre (140PS) Turbo petrol, with a manual gearbox, achieving a combined 44.8mpg and 148g/km CO2, and a 2.0-litre (165PS) diesel engine with manual and automatic transmissions, achieving up to 54.3mpg combined and 138g/km CO2. Both engines have start/stop technology.
But the highlight of Cascada’s powertrain line-up is the all-new 1.6 SIDI Turbo ECOTEC petrol engine. The first production engine from Vauxhall’s MGE (Mid-Size Gasoline Engine) family, the unit offers major improvements in torque, linearity and overall efficiency. It produces a maximum 170PS from 1650-3200rpm and up to 280Nm of torque, giving a 0-60 time of 9.2 seconds and top speed of 135mph. This engine will be available shortly after launch with a new, low-friction automatic six-speed gearbox that contributes towards combined fuel consumption of 39.2mpg and emissions of 168g/km.
The Cascada range will be priced from just £23,995 on-the-road, nearly £8,000 less than an Audi A5 Cabriolet, when it arrives in showrooms this April.