Popularly priced, four-seat convertibles make up an infinitesimally small part of the American car market, in part because the choices are so limited. Besides Camaro and Mustang convertibles, in which rear seat accommodations constitute rolling violations of the Geneva Convention, there was the Volkswagen Eos, and, with the death of that rental car stalwart, the Chrysler 200 droptop, last year, that was about it. Things were looking bleaker than ever for the sunshine set.
The new Buick Cascada, which will be in U.S. showrooms next year arrives, then, not a moment too soon. Already on sale in Europe as the Polish-built Opel Cascada, the new model is not a muscle machine that will hearken back to Buick convertibledoms’ midcentury heydays, but a sophisticated European front-driver (based on the Golf-sized Opel Astra) of above average quality and, it is to be presumed, handling ability. Fitted with a turbocharged 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine good for a perfectly adequate 200 horsepower, it will surely get out of its own way. A quick peak inside the interior suggested the back seat still won’t be the pride of place for big guys and big gals to sit, but overall roominess – and pricing – both benefit from the decision to utilize a canvas roof rather than a folding metal one, the kind which rob space while adding cost and weight.
Ask yourself, then, wouldn’t you really rather have a German engineered Buick?