Top-Down Luxury Returns with 2016 Buick Cascada
DETROIT – The 2016 Buick Cascada expands the brand’s portfolio with a dynamic, stylish convertible that uses innovative powertrain and chassis technologies to complement the driving experience.
“The new, 2016 Buick Cascada is a beautiful, engaging convertible that represents the very best of the brand’s global development practices,” said Duncan Aldred, vice president of Buick. “It’s a car that will delight customers with its fun spirit and help drive the momentum that’s fueling Buick’s success.”
The Cascada’s 2+2 configuration offers comfortable room for four adults, with an expressive driving experience rooted in a rigid body structure – and strong performance from a 200-horsepower (149 kW) turbocharged engine.
And when it comes to dropping the top on a whim, it lowers in only 17 seconds at speeds up to 31 mph. When it’s up, superior thermal and acoustic insulation contribute to driving comfort.
Cascada’s top-down driving experience is priced at $33,990 (including destination charge, but excluding tax, title, license and dealer fees) and offers more standard content and a lower MSRP than Audi A3 Cabriolet.
That standard content includes:
- Buick’s sophisticated HiPer Strut front suspension and responsive Watts Z-link suspension in the rear
- Six-speed automatic transmission
- High-intensity discharge, articulating headlamps and front LED daytime running lamps; and LED taillamps
- Automated, spring-loaded and pyrotechnically activated rollover bars behind the rear seat that are linked to the air bag system
- Buick IntelliLink with a 7-inch-diagonal color touch screen featuring Text Message Alerts, Siri Eyes Free for Apple phones with an iOS 6 or newer operating system
- Navigation radio and seven-speaker premium audio system
- OnStar 4G LTE with Wi-Fi hotspot
- Rear Vision camera
- Remote vehicle starter
- Dual-zone climate control
- Front and rear 12-volt power outlets
- Heat-reflective leather-appointed seating
- Heated front seats with eight-way power adjustments
- Heated, leather-wrapped three-spoke steering wheel
- Twenty-inch aluminum wheels with bi-color finish
- Electric power steering
- Rear Park Assist
A Cascada Premium model, priced at $36,990 (including destination), adds:
- Forward Collision Alert
- Lane Departure Warning
- Automatic headlamp control with tunnel detection
- Front and Rear Park Assist
- Rainsense automatic windshield wipers
- Twenty-inch wheels with “diamond graphic” bi-color finish
- Front and rear air deflectors.
Distinctive design and thoughtful features
Designed from the outset as a convertible, the Buick Cascada has a flowing, sculpted profile, with fast-raked A-pillars that convey a wind-in-the-hair flair. When lowered, the top folds neatly and completely beneath a hard tonneau behind the rear seats, giving the car a pure open-air aesthetic.
“The Cascada’s design blends the suggestion of speed with sophisticated and uncompromising details,” said Holt Ware, Buick exterior design director. “Most convertibles are designed from existing coupes or sedans, meaning stowage of the top is an afterthought, but not this Buick. It looks handsome and has a premium appearance when the top is lowered – and a perfect, seamless profile when it’s up.”
The windswept exterior design is further accentuated with a sweeping body-side line and sleek headlamps that flow into the front fenders, with Buick’s signature wing-shape light-emitting diode (LED) daytime running lights delivering a distinctive appearance.
Chrome trim bridges between the wing-shaped taillights, which are also LED-lit.
The rear deck lid opens rearward to accommodate the folding softtop. The electro-hydraulic power roof system features multilayer construction – including acoustic and thermal barriers – designed for a comfortable ride in various conditions.
Inside, a thoughtfully trimmed and comprehensively equipped cabin reflects Buick’s renaissance. The instrument panel is wrapped with soft-touch material featuring authentic stitching, while heated front seats and steering wheel offer comfort in colder weather conditions.
An electronic rear-seat entry system automatically powers the front seats forward by simply pressing the seatback forward. It moves the seats back when the seatback is returned to the upright position. Additionally, electric safety belt presenters use telescopic arms to slide the upper front safety belt assemblies from behind the front seat into closer reach for easier buckling.
The Cascada also has plenty of storage space for the trappings of a weekend getaway, including 13.4 cubic feet of cargo room with the top up and 9.8 cubic feet with the top down. It also has as a 22.4-inch x 12.6-inch (320 mm x 570 mm) pass-through from the trunk to the passenger compartment. When the 50/50-split rear seat is folded, longer items such as skis and wakeboards can be stowed inside.
Designed to protect and perform
The 2016 Buick Cascada features a uniquely reinforced structure designed to complement its refined appearance and enhance its versatility, while bolstering the car’s strength, rigidity and chassis precession.
Special features include spring-loaded, pyrotechnically activated roll bars behind the front seats that are linked to the air bag system. When deployed, they extend approximately 14 inches (358 mm) to match the height of the windshield.
The body structure allows the top, its folding mechanism and the roll bar apparatus to be stowed below the car’s “belt line” and under a hard tonneau cover, for a smooth, uninterrupted profile. It also enhances cargo space by enabling the pass-through from the trunk to the passenger compartment.
Additional elements designed to protect and complement the driving experience:
- A-pillars featuring press-hardened steel in the inner structures and reinforced with high-strength, hot-rolled and cold-bent tubes within the pillars
- Reinforced rocker panels with increased cross section
- Underbody reinforcements including X-braces, V-braces and additional brackets
- A reinforced “torsion box” bulkhead behind the rear seats that incorporates the pop-up roll bars.
As a result of the structure’s rigidity, engineers were able to tune the suspension and steering systems with a high degree of precision, because they didn’t have to compensate for chassis flex.
“That stiffness is at the core of the Cascada’s precise, refined driving experience,” said Bernd Pohl, Cascada structural engineer. “It is exceptionally responsive, with great driver feedback.”
Turbocharged performance, engaging driving experience
The Cascada is driven by a 1.6L turbocharged engine rated at 200 horsepower (149 kW). With more than 100 horsepower per liter, it’s one of the most power-dense engines in the segment. It delivers strong torque, estimated at 207 lb-ft (280 Nm) and an estimated 221 lb-ft (300 Nm) with the overboost feature.
Direct injection and variable valve timing complement the turbo engine’s performance with efficiency. It is backed by a six-speed automatic transmission.
Power from the turbocharged engine is translated into driving enjoyment via the innovative suspension system, which employs the sophisticated HiPer Strut front suspension pioneered on the LaCrosse and Regal.
HiPer Strut is based on the MacPherson strut design and features dual-path top mountings that separate the transfer of spring and damper loads to the body structure. It enhances ride and handling by reducing torque steer; more linear and communicative steering through improved camber control, and improved impact isolation on bumps and rough surfaces.
A responsive Watts Z-link design helps center the rear axle during cornering, which helps keep the Cascada’s handling responses symmetrical on both left-hand and right-hand turns. The linkage’s capability to center the axle during cornering delivers a more-balanced driving experience because the rear suspension better follows the lead of the front suspension.
The Z-link design is also lighter and requires less space than a typical fully independent rear suspension. The lower weight enhances efficiency, while the compact design enables the Cascada’s generous cargo room.
Steering inputs are executed by a fuel-saving, rack-mounted electric power steering system, while stopping power is handled by standard four-wheel antilock disc brakes. Cascada rolls on standard 20-inch wheels.
A rigid body structure features high-strength steel in strategic areas, reinforced side sills and press-hardened steel in the A-pillars. It is the foundation for the Cascada’s driving experience, contributing to steering precision, ride quality and quietness – as well as safety. A 106.1-inch (2,695 mm) wheelbase enhances ride smoothness while enabling greater rear-seat legroom.
FAST FACT: Cascada is the first Buick convertible in the United States in 25 years.