Review: Vauxhall Cascada (2013 – 2018)
Good quality fit and finish. Impressive refinement. Easy to drive.
Automatic gearbox isn't the best. Not exciting to drive. Lacks the prestige of a premium convertible.
Vauxhall Cascada (2013 – 2018): At A Glance
At first glance you might think the Vauxhall Cascada is a convertible version of the Astra – but, built in the USA, it’s actually more similar in size to the Audi A5 Cabriolet. That means there is a good amount of space on offer, with room for four adults plus a reasonably sized boot - providing the fabric roof isn’t folded down.
The roof is dual-layered as standard, but it can be upgraded to a very impressive triple layer roof that offers almost as much refinement as you’d expect from a fixed-roof car. It takes 17 seconds to fold and can be raised or lowered at speeds up to 30mph, which is handy if you’re caught in a sudden downpour while stuck in traffic.
There's a broad choice of engines with a 1.4-litre petrol with 140PS, a 1.6-litre petrol and a 2.0-litre CDTi with either 165PS or 195PS. The Cascada is a heavy car, so the 140PS engine is a little lacklustre when it comes to performance, however the rest of the engines offer reasonable everyday get-up-and-go.
Regardless of engine the Cascada is more at home cruising at a gentle pace rather than attacking corners with gusto. It’s relaxed and easy to drive, but there’s little excitement on offer. That said, there’s a lot to like about the Cascada if you can get past the Vauxhall badge (or the Buick badge or the Opel badge) - it's very easy to drive, impressively well built and offers good levels of refinement.
Unfortunately the badge is the biggest problem. The Cascada might be a very well built car, but the Vauxhall/Opel/Buick badge doesn’t hold the same prestige as that of a BMW or Audi. The Cascada does manage to undercut its rivals on price, however, so if you can get past preconceptions about the brand then there’s every reason to consider the Cascada.
What does a Vauxhall Cascada (2013 – 2018) cost?
Vauxhall Cascada (2013 – 2018): What's It Like Inside?
- Boot space is 280–750 litres
From the outside the Cascada is very reminiscent of the Astra and that theme continues in the cabin – the instrument binnacle and centre stack look very much like those seen in Vauxhall's popular hatchback, right down to the dials. That’s not especially bad news – the material quality is very good, plus the controls are well finished and pleasant to operate.
It’s not all positive, though. The centre stack itself is very cluttered, with a confusing number of buttons to control everything from radio to ventilation. On the plus side, the colour screen at the top of the stack is clear and generally easy to use.
The lower SE trim grade comes with fabric upholstery, which isn’t exactly luxurious and does nothing to make the Cascada feel any better than an Astra, but if you go for a higher Elite model you’ll get impressively sumptuous leather in a variety of colours. It really does help lift the ambience and gives a noticeably more upmarket feel.
The roof is internally lined in a soft fabric that looks and feels like a traditional hard-top car’s headlining. You can barely see any structural rods or bars, so you could be forgiven for thinking the Cascada was a coupe from inside. That said, rearward visibility isn’t great through the small glass rear window.
The roof retracts auotmatically with a simple button situated by the electronic handbrake, with no manual release clasps to operate. It takes 17 seconds to raise or lower fully and it can be used on the go at speeds up to 30mph, which is handy if your caught in a sudden shower, or if the sun comes out while you’re waiting in traffic.
Practicality is generally good. The boot is 280 litres, which isn’t bad, but you’ll have to sacrifice a lot of that if you plan on folding the roof down. Access isn’t great either – the boot lid isn’t very big so the opening is much smaller than that of a Volkswagen Eos. You can fold the rear seats forward and there’s a through-hatch, which expands boot capacity to a more useful 780 litres, but you’ll still be restricted to non-bulky items.
One of the major plus points for the Cascada is passenger space. There’s room in the back for two adults, although access isn’t great and headroom isn’t too impressive with the roof up either. But with the roof down, rear seat passengers will be perfectly comfortable unless you’re travelling at motorway speeds, where wind buffeting will become a problem.
Standard equipment is competitive – 18-inch alloy wheels are standard, along with parking sensors, cruise control, DAB radio, air conditioning and Bluetooth. Moving up to the Elite trim adds perforated leather seat upholstery, heated front seats, automatic lights and wipers and dual-zone climate control.
SE models come with an active rollover protection system, remote control roof operation, 18-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, CD/MP3 CD player with DMB digital radio, aux-in socket and USB connection, Bluetooth, three-spoke leather-covered steering wheel, cruise control, steering wheel mounted audio controls, sports front seats, electric windows, rear parking distance sensors, LED rear lights, remote control alarm system, electric parking brake, multi-function trip computer and FlexFold rear seats with remote electric release.
Elite trim adds dual-zone climate control, perforated leather seat facings, heated front seats, sports front seats with extendable seat cushions, front seats with tilt and four-way electrical lumbar adjustment, a flat-bottomed, heated leather steering wheel, rain-sensitive wipers, automatic lights with tunnel detection and digital high beam assist, anti-dazzle rear-view mirror, front fog lights, electronic front seatbelt presenters and a windbreak.
Child seats that fit a Vauxhall Cascada (2013 – 2018)Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.
What's the Vauxhall Cascada (2013 – 2018) like to drive?
- Engines range from 1.4 Turbo to 2.0 CDTi BiTurbo 195
- Readers report Real MPG to be between 32–48 mpg
There are two petrol and two diesel engines in the Cascada range. The entry point a 140PS 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol, but for those who tend to drive on motorways or A-roads, it would be wiser to pick the 1.6-litre petrol or one of the diesels. Vauxhall offers the 2.0-litre CDTi with 165PS and the 2.0 CDTI BiTurbo with 195PS.
The 165PS 2.0-litre diesel offers the best blend of performance, economy and price. It is a few pounds cheaper to buy than the 1.6-litre petrol, but it offers more torque (350Nm versus 280Nm) and better fuel economy (54.3mpg versus 42.2mpg). That said, the 1.6-litre 200PS petrol is a good choice – it’s quiet and offers decent performance, if you can forgive unimpressive - but not atrocious - fuel economy.
The top engine is the 2.0-litre BiTurbo diesel, which thanks to twin turbocharger delivers 195PS and an impressive 400Nm of torque. If you regularly need overtaking oomph on A-roads, or if you spend a lot of time on the motorway, then it’s the pick of the range. However it’s only offered in top Elite trim and costs just shy of £30,000.
Alongside the standard manual there's an automatic gearbox which suits the Cascada’s character. Vauxhall offers a six-speed automatic in conjunction with the 1.6-litre petrol, but specifying it reduces power from 200PS to 170PS. The auto is also offered with the 165PS 2.0-litre CDTi. It’s not a bad automatic gearbox, but it will sometimes change down a gear unexpectedly or hold on to a gear for longer than you’d like.
Whichever engine you choose, you’ll get impressive refinement at low revs. At idle the Cascada sounds just as quiet as a fixed-roof car and that continues when on the move unless you accelerate hard. Even with the roof down wind noise is barely noticeable until you reach motorway speeds and engine noise, while always apparent, is hushed.
That helps maintain the relaxed character of the Cascada. This is not a car for high speed cornering, but is much more at home on A-roads with long, sweeping turns where the nicely weighted steering and smooth gear changes make for effortless progress. The suspension, while firm, does a good job of absorbing bumps, even on the larger 19-inch wheels. That said, ride quality could be a little better over more severely cracked and potholed roads, so a smaller wheel size is advised.
If you tend to drive on particularly tight, twisting B-roads then the Cascada isn’t quite as nimble as you might hope. It’s a heavy car and that really shows when cornering. The Cascada is not lithe or agile enough to be as exciting as smaller soft-top cars.
|1.4 Turbo||44 mpg||10.9 s||148–149 g/km|
|1.6 Turbo||42 mpg||-||158 g/km|
|1.6 Turbo 200||42 mpg||8.5 s||158 g/km|
|1.6 Turbo Automatic||39 mpg||9.2–9.9 s||168–172 g/km|
|2.0 CDTi 165||54 mpg||9.6 s||138 g/km|
|2.0 CDTi 165 Automatic||46 mpg||9.6 s||163 g/km|
|2.0 CDTi 170||58 mpg||-||129 g/km|
|2.0 CDTi BiTurbo 195||54 mpg||8.9 s||138 g/km|
Real MPG average for a Vauxhall Cascada (2013 – 2018)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.
What have we been asked about the Vauxhall Cascada (2013 – 2018)?
Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.
My car battery failed after just four weeks - is the dealer liable?
What Cars Are Similar To The Vauxhall Cascada (2013 – 2018)?
Unclear on what your next car should be? Use our Car Chooser to pick something that suits your needs.
What do owners think?
Our view gives your our opinion, based on driving hundreds of cars every year, but you can't beat the views of someone who lives with a car day-in, day out.
- 5 star 50%
- 4 star 50%
- 3 star
- 2 star
- 1 star