Quick Summary After 25 years without a convertible in its lineup, Buick gets back into the drop-top class with the midsize 2016 Cascada. It's not nearly as luxurious as Buick claims, but it offers considerable value for the price.
What Is It? The 2016 Buick Cascada is a two-door, four-passenger convertible that starts at $33,990. For that price you get features like adaptive headlights, leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, a navigation system, Siri Eyes Free iPhone control, onboard WiFi and a rearview camera.
It's best to think of the Cascada as a comfortable tourer rather than a sporty convertible. Proportionally, there is a lot of sheet metal that makes it look heavy, particularly above the rear wheels. This prevents the car from having a sleek, "ready-to-pounce" stance, but it does allow for a flat rear deck lid that completely hides the folded fabric roof. An attractive chrome strip surrounds the passenger compartment and dresses things up a bit.
Our initial drive was in a model with the $3,000 Premium trim. It adds several safety items like forward collision alert, lane departure warning, automatic wipers and headlights. Wind deflectors to control buffeting with the top down are also part of the package.
The only other options on the Cascada are the exterior and interior colors and the wheels. Notably absent from the options list is a keyless ignition (you still need to use a key to start it), a premium audio upgrade and more advanced safety features.
Is It a True Luxury Convertible? Given the price, this Buick is positioned as an entry-level luxury convertible. Judging by its interior, however, the Cascada falls short on that promise. Liberal use of hard trim pieces along with parts shared with various Chevrolet vehicles give the Cascada a less-than-premium look and feel. The stitched leather dashboard is attractive, but it's surrounded by plastics that suggest a lower price point.
Most of the switchgear and displays in the Cascada also have a dated appearance, with a low-resolution driver information display and a relatively small 7-inch touchscreen that is slightly out of reach. An overabundance of buttons and knobs on the center stack (we counted 46) further complicates infotainment and climate control operation. The auxiliary steering wheel buttons aren't any better, with wobbly rubberized switches that don't feel particularly precise.
The infotainment system itself isn't as sophisticated as competing units, either. The menus are not intuitive, and responses to inputs are often slow.
Trunk space is decent at 13.4 cubic feet with the convertible top up, dropping to 9.8 cubic feet with the top stowed. The typical carry-on suitcase will easily fit behind the folded top, and about two more can be accommodated when the top is out of the way. The trunk opening is narrow, which will prevent the loading of bulkier items, but a small center pass-through with remote rear-seat releases allows for longer cargo. Interior storage is limited to a few small bins and pockets.
How Comfortable Is the Cabin? The Cascada's front seats provide a good amount of support and the perforated leather upholstery kept us adequately ventilated on a humid day. A reflective coating also helps keep the surface cooler, and a seatbelt presenter keeps front passengers from having to twist and reach rearward to buckle up. Unfortunately, the thinner padding and stiff leather did create some uncomfortable hard points after a few hours behind the wheel.
For the passengers in back, the seats feel puzzlingly off-kilter for average-size adults, as the position feels neither straight nor level. The lack of lateral and thigh support makes these narrow seats more appropriate for small passengers, as does the lack of headroom with the top up. Accessing the seats is easy thanks to a single latch that releases the front seatback and slides the seat forward. When the front seat is returned to its position, sensors detect where the rear passenger's knees are and adjust its rearward travel for optimal space.
With the top up, the triple-layer fabric roof does a good job of filtering out external sound, but there is a noticeable amount of road noise reverberating throughout the interior. The top folds away in only 17 seconds at speeds up to 31 mph with the touch of a single lever. The Premium trim's mesh wind blocker can be easily installed over the rear seats and dramatically reduces wind buffeting, even at highway speeds. We were able to have a civilized conversation without having to raise our voices, whether the windows were up or down.
What Is It Like on the Road? Powering the 2016 Buick Cascada is a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder that produces 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. This isn't much power for a car that weighs 3,979 pounds, but it does get up to speed at a reasonable pace.
The EPA estimates the Cascada's fuel economy at 23 mpg combined (20 city/27 highway). These figures are about average for convertibles in this price range.
Gearchanges from the six-speed automatic transmission are smooth, and the front wheels don't tug at the steering wheel under full power. Passing slower traffic requires you to engage the overboost mode by flooring the throttle. Once engaged, the peak torque output is increased to 221 lb-ft for a short time. The extra power gets the job done, but the engine does labor quite loudly.
The Cascada is tuned to favor comfort over performance, so it feels smooth over most ruts and bumps, even with the standard 20-inch wheels. At worst, the rear wheels shimmy over long stretches of broken pavement, but even that is barely noticeable. Since most of our test-drive was on wide-open highways, we have yet to experience its ultimate handling potential on curvy roads.
Outward visibility is compromised by very thick windshield pillars, but thankfully they're situated far enough to the sides to prevent continuous obstruction. The high rear deck lid also presents some challenges when backing into a spot, forcing heavy reliance on the standard rearview camera. With the top up, rear visibility is further narrowed through a small glass window and the surrounding convertible top, a typical issue with vehicles in this class.
What Safety Features Are Available? In addition to the typical safety features found in modern convertibles, the Buick Cascada also benefits from OnStar emergency telematics and front passenger knee airbags.
In the event of a rollover accident, high-strength steel bars will automatically deploy from behind the rear seats for added protection. The Premium trim also gets a lane departure warning system and forward collision alerts.
What Cars Compete With It? There aren't many convertibles in the Cascada's price category. The only direct competitor comes in the form of the Audi A3 Cabriolet. With a starting price $3,000 greater than the Buick's, the bottom line may be a deciding factor for shoppers. If you can stretch the budget, however, the Audi rewards you with a more engaging driving experience and a significantly more luxurious interior.
Why Should You Consider It? If you're looking for a convertible that's a step above your average soft-top Camaro, the Cascada is worth considering. It rides better, gets solid mileage and looks more elegant inside and out.
Why Should You Think Twice About It? Although it tries to play the part of a luxury car, the Cascada comes up short when it comes to refinement, materials and performance. Rear-seat comfort is also worse than expected, and the interior controls aren't very intuitive.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.
2016 Buick Cascada Overview Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2016 Buick Cascada and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2016 Cascada featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.
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Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2016 Buick Cascada and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2016 Cascada 4 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2016 Cascada.
Review In Pittsburgh the convertible market is not a booming market, so the selection of exterior, interior colors and wheel types were very limited. I ordered our Buick Cascada in the beginning of March, and received it at the end of May (three months delivery time). I enjoy driving the car more and more each day. It is quite and the ride is smooth on good roads, a bit bumpy on uneven roads (sport suspension). Our roads are hilly and windy here in Pittsburgh, but the Cascada handles the road exceptionally well. Seat and steering wheel adjustments are very accommodating. Initially I was concerned about the rear view visibility and the enclosed feeling with the roof up, but have no problems. The curvature of the two side mirrors is such that half of the lane behind me is visible in each of the side mirrors. Although the rear window is small, and is at an angle that reduce the visibility even more, between the rearwiew mirror and the two side mirrors visibility is pretty good. I have always had cars with sun roofs or panoramic roofs, so I was not sure how a solid black roof over my head will feel. I guess because of the huge wind shield and all the surrounding glass, there is absolutely no enclosed feeling. The trunk is small with the roof down, but that was expected with a convertible. It is a good size with the roof up except for the trunk opening. I am not a golfer, but I do not think that a golf bag would fit through the opening; of course there is always the back seat. In other reviews there have been a lot of comments about outdated dash, and too many buttons. True, there are a lot of buttons, but most of them are duplicates of the touch screen buttons. Just have to get used to when to use which button, touch screen or dash. I particularly like the "Destination" button on the dash, it eliminates going through several menu selections for selecting destination. The other feature that I like is that you can have the navigation displayed on the small screen between the speedometer and the tachometer, leaving the main display for other things, radio, CD music track and the like. It is cleverly designed, in addition to the voice instructions the direction of the next turn is displayed as an arrow and there is a progress bar that gets smaller as you approach the turn, very good. There are numerous technological features on the Cascada that you have to pay extra for with other cars. Blind spot monitoring is not included, but there is parking assist, lane departure warning, collision prevention warning, back up camara, road following headlights, cornering lights and several other safety and convenience features. Some reviewers had issues with the collision prevention, parking assist warning and low resolution back up camera. Both of the assists worked as intended for me; I just have to remember to turn off the parking assist before going through a car wash. As for the low resolution back up camera, let's be realistic, if it shows and alerts the driver that there is an object behind the car that could possibly be hit it did it's job, hi-res is great watching movies, but a pavement?? I have had several convertibles, and they all leaked going through car washes. Now granted, cars are better built nowadays, and car washes came along way in improving how they clean a car, but my the Buick Cascada does not leak. In my opinion it is a very attractive car with the top up or with the top down. Acceleration is exceptionally good considering the weight of the car and the engine size, yes there is room for improvement, but remember you get a lot for what you spend. So far I am very pleased with my Buick Cascada. If my review is still up on the website by the time we get snow here in Pittsburgh, I will update the review on how the Cascada handles winter driving on hilly windy roads and on cold temperatures features, heater, defogger, heated steering wheel and the like. Update; 2/4/2017. We did not have snow to speak of, so the handling in snow is still up in the air. Once we had about an inch of snow and the Cascada went up the drive way just fine (about a 15 degree slope). The next time we had slush/ice and the Cascada could not make it up the driveway. Seemed like the slush under the weight of the car, wide tires and large wheels was compressed to ice, and even backing back down and starting up again could not get the car up. Shoveled the slush/ice off the drive way and away we went. With this in mind, an all wheel drive Cascada would be a great automobile. Pass it on; please. Update: 8/7/2017. Still love to drive my Buick Cascada. Have had no problems, no breakdowns and no miss-giving's. Handles very well, agile and lot of fun. Still gets a lot of looks, questions and "wow it's a Buick" comments. I had trouble last winter with the car not making up the driveway so I stopped at a tire dealer (well known) and was told that because of the size of the tire they are unable to help and should check with the dealer, I will.
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The 2016 Buick Cascada earned a 5-star overall safety rating from NHTSA and "GOOD" ratings from the IIHS in the following caregories: and a JD POWER overall quality rating of 3.5 out of 5. Among Edmunds' many tools and resources for finding your perfect car are detailed safety ratings and analysis from NHTSA, IIHS, and JD Power, including overall ratings, frontal barrier crash ratings, side impact tests and crash ratings, rollover test results, roof strength tests, rear crash protection and head restraint ratings, side barrier ratings, combined side barrier and pole ratings, and more.
Available Buick Cascada 2016 Submodel Types: Convertible
Available Trims: Premium, Sport Touring, 1SV
Exterior Colors: Ebony Twilight Metallic, Smoked Pearl Metallic, True Blue Metallic, Deep Sky Metallic, Summit White, Flip Chip Silver Metallic, Carbon Black Metallic, Sport Red, Toasted Coconut Metallic, Graystone Metallic
Interior Colors: Jet Black w/Jet Black Accents leather, Light Neutral w/Jet Black Accents leather
Popular Features: 2nd Row Bucket Seats, Alarm, Audio and cruise controls on steering wheel, Auto Climate Control, Aux Audio Inputs, Back-up camera, Bluetooth, Fold Flat Rear Seats, Heated seats, Leather Seats, Mobile Internet, Multi-Zone Climate Control, Parking sensors, Post-collision safety system, Power Driver Seat, Rear Bench Seats, Remote Start, Soft Top, Stability Control, Tire Pressure Warning, Trip Computer, USB Inputs, Upgraded Headlights, Lane Departure Warning, Navigation