Review: 2016 Buick Cascada and Chevrolet Camaro SS – A Tale of Two GM Droptops
Summer is in full swing and that’s usually our cue to talk about convertibles. This year we looked at two from General Motors, the Buick Cascada, designed from the top down as a convertible, and the Chevrolet Camaro SS, a classic pony car.
While both start in the $36,000 range (although our Camaro, in SS guise, costs substantially more), the two are very different animals and are intended for two different types of sun worshipers.
2016 BUICK CASCADA
Buick first showed off the Cascada, its first droptop in a quarter century, at the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit and it was a crowd pleaser. Based on the Opel Cascada – “cascada” is Spanish for “waterfall” – and also sold as the Vauxhall Cascada in some markets, the Buick version nonetheless contains over 600 unique components. While many of the differences have to do with emissions hardware and compliance with U.S. safety regulations, Buick says it dialed in a sportier ride by recalibrating the suspension, steering, brakes, and throttle.
One of the first things I noticed was the lack of some key features I’ve come to expect of cars in this price class, including keyless start and entry and Apple CarPlay. The old-style information display and too many buttons are a dead giveaway that the tech here hasn’t kept up. Buick explained that the Cascada’s platform is slated for updating and that these features should be available thereafter.
Once I remembered how to put a key in the ignition, however, all was well and worth the effort.
Because the Buick was designed as a convertible, it doesn’t exhibit any cowl shake due to lower structural rigidity. It’s predictable and responsive both when cruising the Autobahn or enjoying the twisties but it won’t set any records on an autocross track.