Luxury isn’t a word you’d usually associate with a Vauxhall. The British car brand remains one of the most popular in the UK, with its two leading models - the Corsa and Astra - both in the top best-selling car models of 2016.
The enduring popularity of the Vauxhall brand stems from its trademark of affordability and practicality. The stalwart of the UK British road offers a wide range of city and family cars as well as SUVs. Therefore, it came as somewhat of a surprise in 2015 when Vauxhall released the Cascada - a luxury convertible production car. This represented a bold move from a car manufacturer that had a good reputation for delivering quality cars for practical everyday driving. Did Vauxhall manage to deliver a credible luxury car?
Immediate impressions are of a sleek and defined body with stylish contouring. However, Vauxhall hasn’t abandoned its heritage with the Cascada; there is no sense of having ‘tried too hard’. Instead the car still bears the trademark Vauxhall feel to its design whilst being bold with a distinctive new look. However, it is when the soft top is lowered that the sweeping body of the Cascada is really shown off; when stationery, it has the poise of a tethered wild animal - power straining to be released.
With four seats and ample storage, the interior delivers more in practicality than the average luxury car. Whilst the Cascada bears a few fancy gadgets - including ‘Seatbelt presenter’, the electronic luxuries aren’t overdone; it delivers comfort and security without being over the top - it all feels rather well balanced. The interior looks the part - a smooth, eye-catching dash and beautifully crafted seats. The overall feeling is of refined comfort with subtle style. The Cascada manages to successfully combine practicality with luxury - and with little compromise for either.
With exceptional chassis engineering and impressive torque, the Cascada delivers the handling performance you would expect from a luxury vehicle. Although the power (200BHP) is fairly unremarkable for a car of this type, the overall driving package is exceptionally smooth and full of flair.
There is a sense that the Cascada represents a real landmark in Vauxhall’s 160-year history - inherently proud of its heritage, but moving ambitiously forward; not a change of direction, but a different gear. It is unmistakably Vauxhall, whilst being a good match for luxury cars more than twice as expensive. It makes the luxury grade with verve yet without pretension.
The Cascada is a celebration of everything that Vauxhall represents - quality workmanship, considered design, practicality and affordability (starting at just £25,860). This is a very reasonably priced luxury car that delivers. However, it is also a reminder of everything that is great about Vauxhall; for those looking for a quality, inexpensive second-hand car there are great Vauxhall options through Motorpoint.
What do you think about Vauxhall’s venture into luxury car-building?