2018 Buick Cascada new car reviews

Longing for a plushy, front-drive convertible? Bummed that you didn’t get a chance to pick up a Toyota Solara or Chrysler Sebring when they still had that new-car smell? Then Buick has a car for you. Meet the Cascada.

The Cascada debuted in Buick dealers in 2016, but it’s not exactly new. It’s an Opel that’s been available since 2013.

What’s new for 2018? More colors: Rioja Red Metallic, Dark Moon Blue Metallic and Carrageen Metallic.

From Buick’s release:

“‘Color is back,’ says Catherine Black, lead designer of Buick’s Color and Trim Studio. ‘While 80 percent of the exterior colors purchased globally are neutrals—black, silver or grey—many customers are starting to move away from these neutral tones and have an appetite for entirely different colors like dark navy and maroon.’ In a segment with limited options, Cascada combines luxury features and additional on-trend color options at an attainable price to give style-conscious buyers more reasons to reconsider Buick.

What color was our test car?

White. Yes, the car in the photos is blue, not white.

Other staff views

David S. Wallens David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

I admit, I was kind of a fan of the old Sebring. It wasn’t anything fancy or sporty, but it was a comfy, top-down cruiser for you and your crew. The Cascada more or less continues that tradition.

Stuff that I liked:

A modern, contemporary interior highlighted by comfy seats.

Not much buffeting with top down.

An easy-to-use top mechanism–no latches to deal with.

Standard navigation.

Way easier ingress than, say, a Miata or Corvette.

Distinctive looks. Swap grille logos and it could sub for a Volkswagen.

Good cup holders. (Yes, I went there.)

Stuff that didn’t exactly thrill me:

The suspension is soft. I know that’s par for this course, but a Miata (or BMW) this is not.

Vague, over-boosted steering that can also be called nervous on-center.

Lots o’ buttons in the center stack. I admit, it took me a while to figure out how to change the station.

Poor rearward visibility with top up. Like, really poor.

The shock valving seems off. I’d love to see a little more high-speed damping.

The transmission is a little slow to kick down.

Not much power: 200 horsepower for nearly two tons. You can do the math.

Lotta cowl shake. A lot.

Final thoughts: No, this isn’t a Miata replacement. Don’t even go there. But if you, or someone you know, wants something “sporty” that offers top-down motoring, then maybe this might be worth a look. Call it a possible mid-life crisis-mobile for those who have spent the last 20 years in minivans and the like.

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Comments
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Vigo
Vigo UltimaDork
3/29/18 4:02 p.m.

I haven't looked into it but this may be a case like the 'Saturn' Astra where GM 'imports' a pretty dang decent euro car with almost no 'Muricanization to muddy it up. 

yupididit
yupididit SuperDork
3/29/18 4:16 p.m.

Looks like a Sebring. Gross...

Driven5
Driven5 SuperDork
3/29/18 4:59 p.m.

It's like the mullet of comfy cruiser convertibles...Eos in the front, Sebring in the back.

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
3/29/18 5:17 p.m.

"Color is back" is a strong statement when red, dark green and dark blue are presented as "exciting" colors. indecision

chada75
chada75 Reader
3/29/18 5:25 p.m.

No Bueno.

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
3/29/18 5:51 p.m.
yupididit said:

Looks like a Morano. Gross...

Fixord.

Suprf1y
Suprf1y PowerDork
3/29/18 6:05 p.m.
Driven5 said:

It's like the mullet of comfy cruiser convertibles...Eos in the front, Sebring in the back.

LOL.

I thought it looked OK until I saw the second pic

 

irish44j
irish44j UltimaDork
3/29/18 6:42 p.m.

Forgetting the car itself, that's a really dumb model name. Would have been better if they just called it the "Buick Cascade" rather than naming it after a German techno group...

Incidentally, the music group is considerably better., and probably caters to a younger demographic to boot...

 

NickD
NickD UltraDork
3/30/18 5:32 a.m.
Vigo said:

I haven't looked into it but this may be a case like the 'Saturn' Astra where GM 'imports' a pretty dang decent euro car with almost no 'Muricanization to muddy it up. 

The Astra is not a decent car. They are one of the biggest pains in the ass to work on.

 

Also, yeah, Cascada is a dumb sounding name. I thought for a while that it was Cascadia, which sounds much better but was likely a bit too close to Acadia

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
3/30/18 6:11 a.m.

I was driving around a Miata yesterday. I don't like it, not for daily type driving anyway. I will concede that if you like that sort of thing, I can see why the Miata is your jam, no matter how many hairdresser comments you get from guys at work. 

I think this is the same thing. Not many people want this Buick, but if you want a squishy four seat convertible to roll top down on a nice day, this is probably as exciting as the new ND was when it was announced. 

RossD
RossD MegaDork
3/30/18 7:23 a.m.

I see one parked in a driveway everyday on my commute. It does stand out a bit but not really in a bad way in my opinion. It actually took a few squints before I was sure that was a tri-shield symbol. It's not my cup a tea but it kinda fun.

Fueled by Caffeine
Fueled by Caffeine MegaDork
3/30/18 8:50 a.m.

I am skeptical of the size of the user base...  wouldn't you just get a base model mustang vert and call it a day?

Joe Gearin
Joe Gearin Associate Publisher
3/30/18 11:16 a.m.

I drove our test car to Atlanta and back.   I'd echo David's comments about it, although after spending a bunch  of time in the Buick, it sort of grew on me a bit. 

Yes, the controls aren't intuitive, but you adjust and learn them after a while.  The seats are great, and the interior is a nice place to spend time.  Even the gauges are kinda cool, with chronograph inspired markings on the outer edges.  (yes...I spent a lot of time in this car!)   The visibility to the rear is poor with the top up, but it's actually panoramic out the sides, as there are no B-pillars.  The small rear window didn't bother me a bit--- after adjusting to it.

The suspension calibration is where this car falls flat.   It pounds over small sudden imperfections in a way you don't expect a Buick to.  On smooth roads, it's nice and cloud-like.  Although it is soft, the Cascadia will hang on pretty well when the going gets twisty.  It never lets you forget that it's mission is comfort, not speed though.

It's actually really good at being a convertible.  The top is a breeze to operate, and the seat heaters, and heated steering wheel allow you to go topless, even when it's chilly out.  The stereo rocks too.  

 

Not a car for me, but it's sort of perfect for a 70 year old who wants something stylish and comfortable that doesn't cost a mint.   Think of it as a Rolls Corniche with a $300K rebate! 

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
3/30/18 11:41 a.m.

The Buick (with the unforgettable name) is probably a great choice for your wife and kids (back seat!) to arrive at the Yacht Club/Country Club.  

Also gives the rental car companies another choice for 4 seat convertibles.  

I hope they depreciate a lot because my wife could be the perfect candidate in a couple of years.  

fidelity101
fidelity101 UltraDork
3/30/18 11:54 a.m.

opel*

DeadSkunk
DeadSkunk UberDork
3/30/18 12:16 p.m.

A topless CUV/SUV.........kinda like a CJ3 in drag.

Duke
Duke MegaDork
3/30/18 12:45 p.m.
Ian F said:

"Color is back" is a strong statement when red, dark green and dark blue are presented as "exciting" colors. indecision

Since nearly all cars currently for sale only come in white, silver, 3 shades of grey, and 2 shades of black, yes, those qualify as exciting. 

The0retical
The0retical UltraDork
3/30/18 12:48 p.m.

This is all I can think of. I didn't think anyone was in a rush to recreate that monstrosity considering the amount of flack Nissan took for it.

Way easier ingress than, say, a Miata or Corvette.

That made me laugh.

93gsxturbo
93gsxturbo Dork
3/30/18 2:22 p.m.

My neighbor has one, and its white, and I don't hate it.  Its pretty modern and looks a lot better in reality than in the pictures.  Probably a great boulevard cruiser for the 50+ set.

Joe Gearin
Joe Gearin Associate Publisher
3/30/18 2:36 p.m.
93gsxturbo said:

My neighbor has one, and its white, and I don't hate it.  Its pretty modern and looks a lot better in reality than in the pictures.  Probably a great boulevard cruiser for the 50+ set.

Exactly what I thought.

bgkast
bgkast PowerDork
3/30/18 2:47 p.m.

This has been out 2 years and I've never seen one.

Carsandbikes
Carsandbikes New Reader
4/1/18 3:03 p.m.

I've seen maybe 2 of these that weren't sitting in front of a Buick dealership, 2 or 3 that were.  From the size, mostly the width, I assumed they were based on a car that is bigger than an Astra.   They look about 100 times better than the Sebring convertible or a bit better than the Solara convertible.

Yes, the name is dumb, I too thought it was Cascadia. I my mind it is not helped by the similarity to the model name of a Volvo truck. 

I appreciate that this car exists, not entirely sold on the execution.

Vigo
Vigo UltimaDork
4/1/18 6:17 p.m.

I saw one just today.  Yes, it does look a little like a smooshed Murano Crosscabomination, but I find it a lot less repulsive both in looks and in concept. I think we can all probably agree there is a place in the world for this sort of car. Years ago it was Pontiac G6 or a Chrysler Sebring. I think this rolls the ball forward substantially from those two. Me, personally? I'd buy a G37 PRHT, no question. But i did just talk to an owner of one whose repair facility told him his top problems were either a $3000 latch assembly or a $10000 pump... hmm...

mad_machine
mad_machine MegaDork
4/1/18 7:44 p.m.
Ian F said:

"Color is back" is a strong statement when red, dark green and dark blue are presented as "exciting" colors. indecision

compared to the monochrome that is out there now. Red, Dark Green, and Dark Blue is Kodachrome

Snrub
Snrub Reader
4/2/18 8:43 a.m.

I would argue the definition of an enthusiast vehicle is merely something that has an aspect of fun and/or uniqueness to it. This checks that box, even if it's not for most of the folks here. Considering most new products are crossovers, this is a win for our side.

I don't think the appeal of offering some colors should be under estimated. If I look at autotrader for ND Miatas in my area, 13 of the first 15 that appear are grey/black/white. People don't care about colors in their transportation appliances, they do in something they are enthusiastic about.

 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
4/2/18 1:21 p.m.
mad_machine said:
Ian F said:

"Color is back" is a strong statement when red, dark green and dark blue are presented as "exciting" colors. indecision

compared to the monochrome that is out there now. Red, Dark Green, and Dark Blue is Kodachrome

Yeah, pretty much. More often than not, everything in our own lot is white, gray, black, charcoal, silver, pewter, etc. 

dculberson
dculberson UltimaDork
4/2/18 8:41 p.m.

Coincidentally enough, the first one I've ever seen was stopped alongside me at a traffic light on my way home from work today. I first thought it was a Hyundai or Kia. I was surprised to see the Buick logo on the front. I figured it was a Regal or something; never heard of the Cascada.

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