By on November 16, 2016

2017 Buick Cascada - Image: BuickFront-wheel-drive, soft top, four-cylinder engine, hefty curb weight— the ideal car for the Enterprise Rent-A-Car lot at Miami International Airport?

Not so.

On sale since January, the Buick Cascada has attracted 6,154 individual U.S. buyers over the last ten months.

According to Buick, General Motors has only seen three Cascadas make their way into fleet use, for a total of 6,157 Cascada sales through the end of October.

Considered an apt successor to the defunct Chrysler 200 Convertible, the Buick Cascada — essentially a rebadged Opel Astra convertible — has not found extensive critical praise in the U.S. “Cowl shake and rattling are evident, as is significant noise, even when the top is up,” says TTAC’s review. “Ride quality is stiffer than you might expect or want from a Buick convertible, a feeling amplified by larger-than-necessary 20-inch wheels.”

Car And Driver called the Cascada sluggish, blaming a 3,962-pound curb weight hampering “every type of performance we measure.” Consumer Reports said the Cascada is “just a bit dated in some details.”

But while the natural assumption was that General Motors would push the Cascada toward daily rental fleets in southern climes — C/D suggested vacationers could enjoy “some fun under the sun” before considering a Buick “when shopping for a new car back home” — GM is presently attempting to minimize the company’s reliance on daily rental companies.

87 percent of Buick’s U.S. sales through the first ten months of 2016 occurred on the retail front. Company-wide, the percentage of GM sales produced by fleets fell from 23 percent in the first ten months of 2015 to 19 percent this year. Total GM sales are down 4 percent this year, but the company’s retail volume is up 1 percent.

Apparently, the Buick Cascada most ably exemplifies this trend. Only 0.05 percent of Cascada sales are linked to the dreaded “fleet” tag.

The Cascada is nevertheless featured in GM’s vast fleet guide for 2017, if you’re of a mind to purchase a few dozen Cascadas for your friends at Del Boca Vista, Phase III.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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54 Comments on “The Buick Cascada Isn’t the Chrysler 200 Convertible Rental Queen You Thought It Would Be...”


  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    …then how have I seen 4 or 5 of the things already?

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Wow, I’ve only seen one. They look more chunky in person than in photos.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        Yeah, they’ve got a “bathtub on wheels” vibe that rivals the PT Cruiser convertible…really awkward with the top up, top down, just in general.

        • 0 avatar
          SlowMyke

          Yeah, I’d say worse than a PT Cruiser. At least the PT had tall wannabe-crossover styling that sort of excused the high sills. I saw one cascada with the top down and couldn’t believe how awkwardly high the sides were. I actually did a double take, because I was under the impression it kinda looked ok from pictures I’d seen. The front styling of that thing might tell you it’s a sleek car, but it’s anything but from any other view.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

            Yeah but the PT’s picnic basket handle was hilarious. As though made for some giant to come along, pick it up, and set it back down going the opposite way for his amusement. Its like a life-size convertible Little Tikes Cozy Coupe.

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        The styling is very non-Buick in that the belt line is lower than the rest of the sedans. The Cascada has a very nice chiseled, muscular look on the road.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      I’m not sure I’ve seen any. I thought it was still awaiting release.

  • avatar
    jjster6

    Del Boca Vista Phase III was abandoned, half built, during the great recession.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      Sounds like a great time to BUY BUY BUY! Okay, who knows some Chinese investors that won’t ask too many questions?

      Wouldn’t Faraday Future (Past?) like to know?

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Old folks like CUVs a lot more than they do convertibles, I suppose…

  • avatar
    Secret Hi5

    I have seen smaller rental locations which buy from local dealerships and keep those cars as local rentals. I wonder if such purchases/usage would count as “fleet” sales. (This was how I ended up with rental Honda Accords.)

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      I was just going to say, that is how Honda buries their fleet numbers (fleetail I think it is called). I use to go to Sacramento all the time and the Avis there was loaded with Honda Accords.

      It’s a very interesting and valid question — although I believe the old GM would report fleetail and Honda simply didn’t. Can’t comment on what the new GM does.

      Would happily receive correction/guidance.

  • avatar
    JimC2

    Spiritual successor to the Toyota Solara.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Rubbish, the Solara had V6 as standard!

    • 0 avatar
      snakebit

      I haven’t driven the Cascada yet, but it can’t be worse than the Solara convertible- tiny back glass and rear headrests hiding what rearview there is, no power V6 or not ,good riddance to Solara convertible.

      • 0 avatar
        JimC2

        “no power V6 or not ,good riddance to Solara convertible”

        You, sir, might have unreasonably high standards for power and acceleration. Just a couple hits from google so take the numbers with a grain of salt, but:

        “2004 Toyota Camry Solara Convertible SLE Compare Car 0-60 mph 7.0 | Quarter mile 15.1”

        “2008 Toyota Camry Solara 0-60 times, all trims
        Trim, HP, Engine, Transmission 0-60 times 1/4 mile

        Sport 2dr Convertible,210 hp 7.4 sec 15.7 @ 91 mph
        SLE 2dr Convertible,210 hp 7.4 sec 15.7 @ 91 mph
        SE 2dr Convertible,210 hp 7.4 sec 15.7 @ 91 mph”

        Not sure when 15 second quarter miles became “no power.”

        (excuse the tables and formatting)

  • avatar
    SunnyvaleCA

    Buick is extremely unpopular out here in Silicon Valley, but I kind of like the looks of this new Buick and wish them well. It’s either a great way to break into the sunny California market. Or, if that doesn’t work, a terrible idea to create a product that won’t sell in California (because Buick) and won’t sell elsewhere (because no sun).

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    So what are the current rental convertibles then, Camaro and Mustang?

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Only seen one in the wild. Much bigger and much better looking in person. It was parked at the grocery store and impossible to miss. There was a small crowd around it gawking. It was a real life, “that’s a Buick?” situation.

    It’s a beautiful car in person, I was surprised, and can’t stress enough how much bigger it is in real life.

  • avatar
    LS1Fan

    I don’t understand the hate on it in the press. It won’t smoke a Z06 in the quarter, but that’s not the point. It’s a comfy touring car you can drop the top on.

    I don’t see it catching on in SoCal – no European badges – but it’ll be very popular in the Midwest.

  • avatar
    dwford

    It’s good looking car with the top up or down. My only quibble is that it looks like what it is – an Opel Astra convertible. Makes it look a little cheap.

  • avatar
    Old Man Pants

    Anyone else want to see if we could bend that windshield frame the rest of the way down?

    You know… just to see….

  • avatar
    sirwired

    It’s too frickin’ expensive to be a proper 200 replacement, and the back seat really isn’t much more usable than the Mustang’s.

    On another note, my wife loves her Red ’06 Solara Convertible (Roxie) with a passion, and you’ll pry the keys out of her cold, dead, hands. V6, a backseat usable by adults, and a regular size trunk. She has absolutely no idea what she’ll replace it with when it’s used up.

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      Honest question: Have you sat in the back seat of one? I have yet to see one in the wild and am genuinely curious. Not that you’re necessarily wrong. There’s definitely a gulf between “Mustang rear seat room” and “acceptable rear seat room.

    • 0 avatar
      snakebit

      I know I recently trashed the Solara convertible, mostly for rearward visibility issues, so only fair that I’ve come across my share of owners who are so enamoured by their current car that they won’t part with it under any circumstances, my mom with her Ford Elite, a friends wife’s Continental Mark VIII, my former boss’s wife and her trouble-prone Land Rover Discovery(even though her husband could afford to put her in a new Navigator in an nanosecond.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

    Does it have any optional power upgrades? It doesn’t need to smoke an EcoBoost Mustang, but it should be able to have some optional engine for those who actually want something like this.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    I wonder how many buyers were previous owners of Saab and Volvo convertibles since those were Turbo-4 FWD. Or they just went for Audi A3,A4 or BMW 2-Series.

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      Except for a diesel that didn’t make it to the States, both gens of Volvo C70 had I5’s. Yes, I’m That Guy.

      As I mention every time the C70 gets invoked, I have one friend with a first-gen and another with a second-gen. Both have been very happy with them. They’re good cars that were unfairly maligned by the automotive press under its axiom of “I don’t like this vehicle segment; therefore, those is a bad vehicle.” Ingress to the back is a pain (unless the top is down and you Bo & Luke it), but once you’re there the rear seat of the first-gen is a batter place to be than the majority of four-doors on today’s market.

      • 0 avatar
        MRF 95 T-Bird

        I forgot the C70 came only the I5 here in the states. I must have been thinking of the C40/V50 which were turbo-4.

        I see 1st generation models fairly reasonably priced. Though they have some reliability issues they’d probably make a decent weekend cruiser.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    On the surface,I like it simply because it’s a convertible. On the other hand, give me a Camaro convertible. Standard basic ragtop trim, no extras, please.

    Thank you.

  • avatar
    jalop1991

    Drove one. Perfectly fine car. Agreed on the 20″ wheels.

    And the dealer was begging me to make a smoking hot deal. Clearly, they are incented.

    But I told him: no way in 2016 am I going to buy a car that requires me to take the key out of my pocket, use the remote to unlock the door, and then stick the metal key into the ignition switch and turn it to make the car run.

    (Especially a GM.)

    I’ve been spoiled by how Acura does it better than most. Just grab the handle and the door opens. Push the power button, car turns on/off. Get out, close the door, push the little button on the handle and door locks. Easy. Simple. Why Buick didn’t do this, I’ll never know.

    • 0 avatar
      Mr. Orange

      That is on all the “new” Buicks.

      The Verano is old, same with the Enclave as well as this. Even thou it’s a new car to us, the Cascada dates back to 2012 and it probably only will have a two year shelf life. So of course GM will be cheap with us.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      “…no way in 2016 am I going to buy a car that requires me to take the key out of my pocket, use the remote to unlock the door, and then stick the metal key into the ignition switch and turn it to make the car run.”

      O, the humanity!

      Spoiled kid… your local college will offer you a comfort pet, group hug or crying towel, but not me!

      Funny comment, but somehow, somewhere, buried deep down, I kind of agree with you!

  • avatar
    Johnster

    I saw one of these at the local Chevrolet/GMC/Buick dealer when getting the oil changed in my Traverse. It does look larger in person. I thought it was the new Mitsubishi Eclipse.

    I can’t believe that it comes with such a comparatively small displacement engine, especially given that it weighs so much. I noticed the sticker claimed the engine came from Mexico, the transmission from Estonia, and the car was assembled in Poland.

    The Polish Buick.

  • avatar
    Mr. Orange

    Welcome to the new world. Where we have a British Infiniti, Hungarian Mercede Benz’s, a Mexican Fiat,an American NSX and Italian Jeeps.

  • avatar
    WallMeerkat

    It isn’t badged as an Astra convertible though.

    In Europe it is a distinct model, Opel / Vauxhall Cascada, it is positioned in a strange place between the Astra and the Insignia (Buick Regal) though it sits on the Astra Delta 2 platform.

    The rumour / urban myth is that it is something of a strange entry in the GM Europe lineup (otherwise made up mostly of hatchbacks and crossovers) and size wise between the Astra and Insignia models because it was originally intended to be a new Saab 93 cabrio, and was hurriedly rebadged when that marque was spun off…..

    Of course it is also the successor to the folding roof Astra convertible, now that hinged metal convertibles seem to be out of fashion with their aircraft carrier rear decks.


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