The top speed of a whisker below 130 mph means that the car is relaxed and unstressed on a motorway cruise ...
Drop-top cars are a British passion, despite our changeable weather, and they have an undeniable glamour. Vauxhall has one of the most affordable cabriolets on the market with its Cascada, new on the scene in the spring of 2013. Unlike many of its de-liddable contemporaries, the Cascada has a traditional fabric roof, rather than a coupe-cabriolet folding steel top like some of its open air rivals in the car ranges of other manufacturers.
Although metal-top coupe cabriolets have grown in popularity over recent years, a fabric-top model does have some advantages. There is no mistaking that it is a drop-top car, even when the roof is up – unlike a steel top model which can easily be mistaken for a fixed-roof car when sealed against the elements. A traditional fabric roof is lighter than a steel one, and so saves weight which helps enhance fuel consumption and keep down CO2 output - as well as taking up a little less upper boot space when folded.
The Cascada comes with a choice of engines: 1.4 litre (138 bhp) or 1.6 (168 bhp) petrol, and either a 2.0 (163 bhp) turbodiesel or a 2.0 BiTurbo diesel (192 bhp). Manual versions come equipped with standard stop-start technology. Trim levels are SE or Elite. Prices start from £23,995 for a 1.4 litre petrol SE with a manual gearbox and rise to £29,395 for a two-litre BiTurbo diesel with automatic transmission. Our test car is the least expensive model in the range; with the smaller petrol engine and SE trim.
The engine in this car is a 1,364 cc, four-cylinder, 16-valve petrol unit. That sounds a modest power unit, but it does the job - with a power output of 138 bhp at 4,900 to 6,000 bhp and peak torque of 147 lb ft sustained over a rev band from 1,850 to 4,900 rpm.
The top speed of a whisker below 130 mph means that the car is relaxed and unstressed on a motorway cruise. The 0-62 mph acceleration time of just over 10 seconds is fairly average, but the car feels quite brisk through the gears. The six-speed manual gearbox has a sweetly slick action and the ratios are sensibly space.
Overall it’s a very pleasant car to drive, more tourer than sports car, but enjoyable with the roof down and not unduly noisy with it raised. For a cabriolet it is pretty civilised, smooth-driving and with reasonable noise levels.