Get the wind in your hair: The 2014 Vauxhall Cascada Review [Video]
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The 2014 Vauxhall Cascada fills a gap in the market between cheaper compact drop tops and large expensive cabriolets as a large luxury 4-seater convertible which stands as a proper premium product at not so premium prices. That is if you’re willing to look past the fact that the Vauxhall badge isn’t quite as impressive as brands like Audi, BMW or Mercedes. But who really cares? Vauxhall have hit on something and they have put everything into giving this car the right ingredients it needs to take a proper swing at its luxury brand rivals.
It can be operated up to speeds of 30mph, which is always great as no one wants to slow to a snail’s pace when putting their roof up or down. Top down, it maintains a clean profile with no visible roll-over protection or cover needed since it folds straight into the boot. That being said, the repercussions of this is that the boot space is eaten into quite a bit, reducing it from the full 350ltrs to 280ltrs when the roof isn’t in use. This isn’t great but it’s still on par with something like an Audi A5 Cabriolet. If you’re not using the back seats you can simply press a switch in the boot to automatically fold down the 2 seats in the back to reveal up to 750ltrs. At the end of the day though – no one buys a convertible with an eye towards practicality.
The rear seating area is one of the 2014 Vauxhall Cascada’s primary selling points. This is because it can comfortably fit 2 passengers in the manner of a large luxury vehicle as opposed to being cramped to the point of being virtually unusable kind of rear seating space you’d be stuck with in most non-luxury cabriolets. Entrance to the rear is quick and easy due to the long front doors and the slickly folding front seats. Once sitting down, it’s true that you can’t stretch out like it’s a limo or anything, but it’s big and comfortable enough to be a much more hospitable place to be for journeys. Up in the front, the design is characteristically Vauxhall, with a button filled central console similar to that of an Insignia or an Astra. There is some lovely luxurious detailing here such as the electrically extending belt buckle and stitched leather dash top to remind you that you’re in something that’s a cut above your regular Vauxhall.
Instead, the suspension becomes stiffer and the steering sharpens as does the throttle response, which does lead to a more responsive ride. The brakes are powerful and the grip to the road is very good. It’s good to see that Vauxhall have thrown their best available engines into this endeavour, including the new 170ps 1.6 SIDI petrol unit which can reach 62mph from standing in 9.2 seconds up to the top speed of 135mph. There is also a 200ps model of this engine available for those wanting more. Super-specced engines aren’t the point in cabriolet motoring however. A rather nice balance can be had from the entry level 140ps 4.0ltr petrol turbo model which reaches 62 in 10.2 seconds up to 129mph.For diesel power there is the 165ps 2.0ltr CDi unit (62 in 9.6 secs up to 135mph) as well as the 195ps twin turbo model which shaves this a bit further (62 in 9.6 secs/top speed at 143mph) although this will be the niche choice in the line-up.
All in all, what’s the lowdown with the 2014 Vauxhall Cascada? The Cascada is definitely one of the best Vauxhall products on the market and certainly the best (thanks to its superior rear space) in the affordable side of the cabriolet segment. It’s plush, well-engineered, good looking and provides a really tempting all-round convertible package. One thing is for certain – this 2014 Vauxhall Cascada allows you to own a proper premium-feel convertible at half the price of the top luxury brand competitors – a virtue that should give it all the welly it needs to go big league in this notoriously badge conscious market.
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