The ongoing replacement of the entire American Buick line-up with Opel vehicles has taken a step onward. At the Chicago motor show, the Cascada has been unveiled wearing the Buick Tri-Shield.
Much as I like Opel’s current range, and much as I want Buick to succeed, I am beginning to get a little disturbed by how little effort GM is making to translate Opel into Buick. Further, it is important there is at least one car that is uniquely Buick in the way the Regal, Lacrosse and Verano aren’t.
The Park Avenue is gone and perhaps the Avenir concept is a sign of there being a distinctly North American car in the Buick range. That’s a help but it is not enough. It would be nice to have a Senator for Opel’s range. If this is the case with the Avenir, it must be Buick first and Opel second and not the other way around. At bottom, Buick’s credibility rests on there being a car that truly represents Buick and which is not just a rebodied vehicle from another part of GM’s empire.
The Lacrosse seems distinctive enough but it is a model on the way out. The Regal is too much an Insignia to be anything other than a nice car with a Buick badge. I really like the Cascada and it does feel consistent with the Buick image. In isolation it’s a fine machine. And if it were slotted into a range of cars that was more intrinsically Buick, I’d be less alarmed. As it is, the Buick badge is now one model away from losing its believability.
Here’s some of the official copy from the Chicago Motor Show: “Harkening back to the glory days of the Buick Roadmaster, Skylark and Le Sabre convertibles, a new droptop model from Buick will be on display for the first time at the Chicago Auto Show, Feb. 14-22, 2015. For the record, the Cascada is the first open air Buick in the U.S. in 25 years. Designed from the outset as a convertible, the distinctive Cascada has a flowing, sculpted profile, Buick’s signature wing-shape light-emitting diode (LED) daytime running lights. Around back, the LED-lit wing-shaped taillights are bridged by a handsome chrome trim accent.
A comprehensively equipped four-passenger interior feature the instrument panel wrapped with soft-touch material featuring authentic stitching, and heated front seats and steering wheel for added comfort. Performance and an engaging driving experience awaits with the 1.6-liter turbocharged engine that delivers a total of 200-horsepower. That calculates to more than 100-hp per liter. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard equipment, as is a rigid body structure, HiPer Strut front suspension and responsive Watts Z-link suspension in the rear.
Dropping the insulated soft top takes only 17 seconds at speeds up to 31 mph, and when the roof is up, it provides superior thermal and acoustic insulation. Unique rollover protection bars are built-in to deploy behind the rear seats when the possibility of a rollover is detected. Other safety features include lane departure warning, rear park assist, rearview camera and Rainsense windshield wipers. Cascada also offers the latest in infotainment technology. The 2016 Buick Cascada provides 13.4 cubic feet of cargo room with the top up and 9.8 cubic feet with the top down. The rear seatbacks fold down electronically to expand cargo capability for longer items.”