Buick Cascada

Introduced last year, the Cascada is based on the 'Delta 2' platform currently used by several GM cars, including the Chevrolet Cruze here in the U.S. as well as the Opel Cascada, which GM sells in Europe. The Cascada also shares its suspension with both the Regal and LaCrosse, which makes the car plenty comfortable yet sporty enough to make for an enthusiastic driving experience.

Power comes from a 1.6L turbocharged four, which sends 200 horsepower and 206 pound-feet of torque to the front wheels through a 6-speed automatic transmission.

The Cascada is offered in base, Sport Touring or Premium trims, and each features a power soft top that retracts in just 17 seconds, at speeds up to 31 mph. The 2+2 configuration features rear seats actually suited for occupancy, while the trunk features more than 13 cubic feet of space when the top is up. All of which broadens the appeal of the Cascada as a practical convertible for carrying family and friends.

Even the base Cascada is nicely appointed, with 20-inch alloy wheels, HID headlights and LED taillights. Inside are amenities including IntelliLink navigation, a premium sound system with a 7-inch touchscreen, 4G LTE in-car WiFi connectivity, rear vision camera with park assist, remote start, and heated front seats and steering wheel.

In the Cascada Premium, you'll find all the above plus standard advanced safety features like forward collision and lane departure warnings, front and rear park assist, automatic headlights and rain-sensing wipers.

The new for 2017 Cascadia Sport Touring features alloy pedals, a leather wrapped 3 spoke steering wheel and 20-inch wheels. It comes standard with the Driver Confidence Package which includes a forward collision alert system, a lane departure warning system, a park assist system and automatic wipers.

Editors' First Take

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"That's a Buick?" asks a beachgoer as I snap pictures of the new 2016 Cascada in Islamorada, Florida. It's as if I'm in a General Motors TV commercial, except a Matt and Kim song isn't playing in the background.

A crowd starts to form, with a couple in their early 40s joining those who begin to ask questions about price and when the model goes on sale. A guy in his 20s wants spec details and to see under the hood. I answer questions and oblige all requests thrown my way, with a flurry of smart phones coming out for photos and videos of the Buick.

My unexpected photo-shoot experience suggests Buick's decision to bring the Cascada to market may pan out exactly the way it hopes. Unlike bigger-volume models such as its Encore, Enclave and forthcoming Envision crossover SUVs, Buick isn't banking on the Cascada to be sales juggernaut. Instead, it will serve as another model to help modernize the brand's prune-juice image in hopes of drawing more attention and attracting younger customers.

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