Few things can brighten your mood as much as a top-down drive on a warm, sunny day with family or friends. But affordable convertibles that comfortably fit four people have been scarce. GM's response? The Buick Cascada, imported from Europe by way of its Opel brand. This ragtop is a well thought out convertible, despite that some aspects of the car are rather dated and driving excitement is limited.
With the demise of the Chrysler 200, Toyota Solara, and Volkswagen Eos, affordable four-seat drop-tops have been limited to either the sporty rear-drive Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang with neither rear passenger room or the same level of convenience, or the small, expensive Audi A3 and A5, as well as the BMW 2 and 3 Series. So the Cascada's arrival is perfect timing.
The Cascada resulted from a cross breeding of the Buick Verano and Regal sedans. Sold overseas for several years, it finally joins the U.S. marketplace. Pricing starts around the mid-$30,000s, but it's well equipped including leather heated seats and navigation. To put that into perspective, the Cascada's nearest front-drive competitor is the Audi A3 Cabriolet, but its base price matches a loaded Cascada and it winds up costing well over $40,000 when comparably equipped.