This is Cassandra. Sorry, let me start again, this is the Cascada and it's the new convertible from Opel. The idea is that the Cassandra, sorry Cascada, will tempt lots of Audi drivers out of their A5 cabriolets and VW drivers out of their EOS convertibles.
First though, we must deal with the elephant in the slow lane of the freeway. What on earth is it with this particular convertible's terrible name? As far as I can tell, someone in GM's marketing department has taken leave of their senses. This is probably the same person that recently allowed the release of an Opel called Adam. Yes, Adam. And don't even get me started on Mokka, the firm's latest idiotically named crossover.
ENTIRELY NEW CAR
Anyway, enough of this nonsense, what's the car like? Opel says it is an entirely new car - the body and new petrol engine certainly are - but much is borrowed from the Astra and Insignia. That's no bad thing though; Opel has got the knack of making pretty things of late, thanks to British designer Mark Adams. Sadly General Motors (Opel's parent company) has snaffled him to head up design for Cadillac and Buick in the States.
Inside the Cascada, everything is solid rather than stylish and there are far too many buttons - in other words, standard Opel. In the basic SE trim I tested it all feels rather pedestrian too - no match for its rivals at Audi and VW but at least the soft-top roof works smoothly, there's room enough in the back for two reasonably sized adults (not just children) and there's a decent enough boot.
CONVERTIBLES ARE ABOUT HOW THEY LOOK
Just don't plan on carrying many tall passengers - they'll get buffeted if the roof's down. Visibility could be better too, with a tiny rear window and a prominent A pillar blocking part of the view forward.
Not that any of this matters. Convertibles are all about how they look (the Cascada looks good) and how they drive. Thankfully for Opel, the Cascada is a pleasant thing to run around in on a warm summer's evening. True, it's no sports car and the smaller diesel unit I tested lacked grunt, but it tackles pothole well and wafts along nicely. Find a sun-drenched country road and - as with most convertibles and enough imagination - it’s easy to imagine you’re in the south of France. And that's exactly why most buyers will spend R330 000-plus for the privilege of being blown around six days of the year, even if it does have a silly name. - The Independent
GMSA says it has no plans at present to bring the Cascada to South Africa. Do you think it should? Let us know below.
OPEL CASCADA SE 1.4 TURBO
Engine: 1.4-litre turbodiese.l
Power: 103kW at 6000rpm.
Top Speed: 206kmh.
0-100km/h: 10.2 seconds.
Fuel consumption: 5.66 litres per 100km.
CO2 emissions: 148g/km.