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Vauxhall Lining Up With New Cascada

By raccars Published

Having spent some years wandering around in the wilderness, Vauxhall has been pulling its socks up of late and the Cascada is its latest, rather impressive attempt to keep up with the big boys. Last year's announcement of a full size four-seater cabriolet was a somewhat racy departure from the fairly staid line up we've come to expect from Vauxhall, but the company has made no secret of the fact that with the Cascada it's hoping to steal some market share from the BMW 3 Series convertible and the Audi A3 cabriolet.

With its conservative styling, the Cascada is unlikely to turn as many heads as its upmarket rivals, but it does a neat job of taking Vauxhall's current design language and making the best of it. The headlight clusters and front grille are reminiscent of the Astra, but in a more sinuous frame. An Astra with gym membership, if you like. Blade-like creases from the front wheel arches along the flanks and tapering off to the rather chunky rear, lend an elegant look to the profile.

The cabin is unmistakably Vauxhall. It's user-friendly, nicely put together and distinctly unremarkable. The front seats are comfortable and supportive but, with an outsize steering wheel, don't leave a lot of legroom. The Vauxhall Cascada campaigns on being a four-seater but only children will be comfortable in the back seats on long journeys and the boot would struggle to contain enough luggage for anything more than a weekend away.

The Cascada's roof retracts within 17 seconds and can be used up to 30mph, but as a convertible, there is that typical lack of rigidity and refinement in the ride. However, despite the smart, six-speed manual transmission, this is not a sports car and nor should it be driven as one. In turn, it makes a calm and pleasant cruiser either with the top down or with the top up, if you go for the option of an acoustic roof to tone down the road and wind noise.

The initial engine range will be limited to 138bhp 1.4 litre manual and 168bhp, 1.6 litre automatic petrol units, both turbocharged and a 163bhp 2.0 litre diesel, available as a manual or automatic. A much-needed 192bhp 2.0 litre diesel will be available at a later date. Unfortunately, none of the engines is any more than adequate, excelling neither in performance nor fuel economy.

Ultimately, the Cascada is good but not quite as good as its self-styled competition. Standard equipment is generous but the rather heavy car needs the option of a hard-hitting engine to make any significant dent.

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