Don’t call it a comeback. Call it a Cascada. Buick had gone 25 years without a convertible in its lineup until it released the Cascada droptop in early 2016.
The last car with three shields up front and a cloth roof up top was the sleek Reatta of the early 1990s. As it was, it only lasted two model years. Over the next quarter of a century, Buick let the Skylark fly, went down Park Avenue, remodeled the Riviera, and played LaCrosse. It started making SUVs, including the Rendezvous and the Rainier. Buick even made a minivan. Remember the Terraza? You could buy a Buick for A-B commuting or camping or hauling the kids and groceries home – no problem. However, you couldn’t get one that allowed you to lay the top back so you could feel the cool night air stream through your hair and let the stars above further illuminate the path on that evening drive…
…until last year. Buick named its first convertible since the first Bush administration Cascada, the Spanish word for waterfall. In English, Cascada means a curvy, open-top, 2+2 with European styling (courtesy of the Opel Cascada sold across the Atlantic), and a turbocharged engine.
For the 2017 model year, the Cascada is available in base, Premium, and new Sport Touring (ST) forms. The ST offers buyers special exterior colors, wheel designs, and other design elements.
We got an eyeful of those after Buick dropped off a 2017 Cascada Sport Touring for us to review. You could call it a moment more than 25 years in the making. We call it a nice way to spend seven days.
2017 Buick Cascada Sport Touring Exterior
Our friends over in Europe have had the pleasure of seeing the Cascada for the past few years – in Opel and Vauxhall forms. Luckily, almost none of that car’s beautiful exterior was lost when it was translated into Buick’s design language.
The chrome wings that extend from the sides of the front tri-shield emblem lead the eye toward the headlamp casings and their articulating, high intensity discharge lights. Three prominent lines make up the most significant part of the Cascada’s profile: the black, three-layer, insulated fabric top and the two upswept character lines in the sheet metal below it. All three point to the wing-shaped LED taillights, which are connected by a thick strip of bright work. Buick’s designers finished off the exterior with one of the ST’s two unique paint colors, True Blue Metallic, and special two-tone 20-inch wheels.
All of those elements make the Cascada appear graceful. Putting its top down makes it look even better. Doing that only requires pulling up on one switch and 17 seconds. That’s it. We didn’t have to reach up to throw a latch or manually put a tonneau cover in place. We usually lowered the lid when we were parked, but we could’ve let the sky in at speeds up to 31 mph.
2017 Buick Cascada Sport Touring Interior
Buick offers two interior color schemes for the Cascada Sport Touring: Jet Black and Jet Black/Light Neutral, the combination our test car’s cabin wore. The creamy color of the UV-reflective leather seats and the door panels coordinated perfectly with the soft blue of the exterior.
Standard equipment on the Cascada ST includes Buick IntelliLink with navigation and a seven-inch touchscreen that we used to control not only the navigation system but the AM/FM/SiriusXM satellite radio setup and CD/MP3 audio output, as well. The controls on the steering wheel allowed us to set the cruise control speed, start and end calls through the Bluetooth phone system, and adjust the volume of the seven-speaker sound system. The wheel’s flat bottom was one of the ST’s special interior touches (the sport pedals were another) and made sliding into the driver’s seat for an open-air drive quick and easy.
Top up or down, the Cascada Sport Touring was easy on the ears. When it was too hot outside and we kept the top up, we were surprised by how little wind noise made it into the cabin. When it was time to drive with nothing but the sky above us, we didn’t have to shout to carry on a conversation.
2017 Buick Cascada Sport Touring Performance
All Cascadas come with a turbocharged and direct-injected 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine under their hood. A six-speed automatic with a manual shift mode changed gears smoothly. The EPA states that hardware combination gets 20 city, 27 highway, and 23 combined miles per gallon.**
Once the turbo spooled up, power came on in a stout surge. All 200 horsepower kicked in at 5,500 rpm. Two amounts of torque were available: 207 lbft between 1,800 and 4,500 rpm, and 221 lbft between 2,200 and 4,000 revs, thanks to an overboost function. We made sure to engage it as often as possible just to feel the gentle shove back it gave us when we flattened the right sport pedal.
2017 Buick Cascada Sport Touring Safety
In addition to front, knee, and side-impact airbags for the two front occupants, our Cascada ST media loaner was equipped with Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Alert, front and rear Park Assist sensors, LED daytime running lights, and a rear vision camera. In case the absolute worst case scenario – a rollover – were to occur, there was a pair of high-strength steel pop-up bars behind the rear seats, ready to deploy.
2017 Buick Cascada Sport Touring Overall
It’s been a long time, but it’s now possible to once more buy a new Buick convertible. Prices for the 2017 Buick Cascada start at $33,065.* Our top-of-the-line Cascada Sport Touring had an as-tested price of $37,990. You can get one just like it at an AutoNation-affiliated Buick dealer. Once you do, you don’t have to call it a comeback. You don’t even have to call it a Cascada. You can call it whatever you want. Most importantly, you can call it yours.
*MSRP excluding tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.
**Based on EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.