The Buick Cascada is One of the Best Cars You Aren’t Driving

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There are a lot of cars out there on the market, and it’s hard for even someone like me to keep track of them all. You all know the really good cars and the fun cars because it’s all automotive journalists seem to talk about, but there are some genuinely good cars out there that you might not be aware of that are that good. In this case, I’m referring to the Buick Cascada. While it’s not a high-performance barn burner like a Z06 Corvette, it’s still a genuinely fun car and one you probably haven’t thought that much about.

First off, the Cascada is a re-branded Opel from GM’s European division. Buick took the time to add their own body panels on it to make it look unique, but underneath it’s a car that’s been around for a few years.

Second, it’s a convertible. I’m a big fan of open-top driving. Since the Cascada has no pretenses of being a high-performance canyon carver, it doesn’t have to try to be one. That means you get a compliant ride, little wind noise in the cabin, and a genuinely pleasant driving experience. On top of that, you get all the sights, smells, and other benefits of open-top motoring that you just don’t get in a normal daily-driver.

That’s not to say that the Cascada isn’t a good driving car. On the contrary, the Opel roots mean that it drives really well. The 1.6L turbocharged engine won’t win any drag races at a traffic light, but it’s plenty powerful the day-to-day traffic and overtaking a slow Prius in the left lane on a freeway.

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The car makes 200 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque, which not that long ago was sports car power. Fuel economy is solid if you stay off the boost — like any turbocharged car. The 6-speed automatic’s shifts are smooth, though GM’s 8-speed from the Malibu would probably help fuel economy.

The experience of the Cascada is hard to describe in writing. I spent a week in the car, making a Costco run and attending a press event. I lived with it the way you would. It just has a way of getting under your skin.

Driving a convertible is such a different experience than driving anything else. For those of us that enjoy driving, it’s an experience of all that senses. That’s why we like loud sports cars, because the noise adds to the experience. The Cascada doesn’t provide that level of experience, but it does have a day-to-day livability that the Miata or 124 Spider don’t provide.

I like interesting cars, and there hasn’t been a truly interesting Buick, in my eyes, in a long time. The Cascada is the first modern Buick that I enjoy driving and that I would spend my own money on buying. That says something.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below or over in the forums!

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