HOLDEN CASCADA 2015 – 2017

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Holden Cascada is the soft-top convertible version of the Holden Astra, both coming from Holden’s German affiliate, Opel. It was launched here in April 2015, but didn’t prove to be as popular as it deserved and was quietly slipped off the new-car price list midway through 2017.

At almost 4.7 metres long the Cascada is significantly bigger than its European convertible competitors so can provide reasonable comfort for four full-sized travellers. As is common in this class, taller occupants in the back may have to do a deal with those in front.

The roof is powered and opens in just 17 seconds at speeds up to 50 km/h.

Heated front seats and steering wheel provide are a big plus when the roof is down during the cooler months, which are often the best time for open-top driving.

Boot space in convertibles is compromised by the need to store the roof within it but Cascada’s 360 litres with the roof in place and 280 litres with it stowed is pretty good.

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Cascada has the Holden MyLink infotainment system displayed on a seven-inch colour screen display (non-touch). Features include satellite navigation; Bluetooth phone and audio streaming; apps such as Pandora, Stitcher and TuneIn Radio; and DAB+ digital radio.

Holden Cascada has a 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol with a reasonable 125 kW of power and 260 Nm of torque. All Australian imports had a six-speed automatic.

A kerb weight of 1710 kg means Cascada doesn’t have a lot of get up and go. Cool cruiser? Yes. Hot sports machine? No.

Fuel consumption can be high if you try to push it hard, and in typical European fashion it needs high-quality 98RON petrol. Though owners tell us it will run on 95RON if they don’t work the engine hard. Personally we feel it’s not worth trying to save a few dollars a week by going for the cheaper fuel.

The big open-top Holden cruises comfortably on the motorway although rough rural roads can generate some scuttle shake, which hardly comes as a surprise considering the large cabin opening. Otherwise ride quality is firm but not excessively so.

Spare parts are reasonably priced for an imported German car and we have heard of no real delays in getting bits. Obviously if you’re in a remote area it’s not likely the Holden dealer will have parts. Some components are shared with the Astra and may well be on the shelves, others will have to go on back order.

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Insurance costs for the Cascada may vary more than is usual, possibly because it didn’t sell in large numbers so different companies have had varied history on the car. As always shop around, but make sure you’re doing accurate comparisons.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Check the condition of the seats and carpets, indeed all areas of the cabin for signs of the Cascada having been caught out on the rain with its top down.

If a Cascada has been run on lower octane fuel and driven hard there could be engine troubles. Have it fully checked out by a professional, ideally at a Holden dealership.

Run your hand back and forward over the front tyres. Unevenness may have been caused by hard cornering, or bumping a kerb that has upset the wheel alignment.

Make sure the engine starts easily and warms up quickly.

Turbo lag will be there but if it seems too bad that’s grounds for suspicion.

Make sure all changes on the automatic transmission are smooth, they should be all but imperceptive under light to moderate acceleration. Hard driving may result is harder shots.

Make sure you do your pre-purchase road testing on some roughish roads to feel for excessive body flex, squeaks and rattles. They don’t need to be dirt roads, though these would be preferable.

HOW MUCH?
Expect to pay from $17,000 to $24,000 for a 2015 Holden Cascada; $19,000 to $27,000 for a 2016 Cascada; $21,000 to $30,000 for a 2016 model; $22,000 to $31,000 for 2015 Launch Edition; and $23,000 to $32,000 for a 2017 Cascada.

CAR BUYING TIP
Convertibles that have been run top down for most of their lives can have a faded interior. But most have only been used a closed coupes and are usually a better bet.

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