First drive – Opel Cascada 1.6 SIDI Turbo ECOTEC Cosmo

První jízda - Opel Cascada 1,6 SIDI Turbo ECOTEC Cosmo

Opel has really taken the blame lately. After the introduction of the new compact Astra and the minicar, Adam heads into the middle class with the elegant Cascada convertible. When the car was launched on the Czech market, Opel held a press conference, at which I had the opportunity to test the Cascada with a completely new 1.6 SIDI Turbo ECOTEC petrol engine . The first of a series of newly developed engines that will appear in Opel cars in the near future.

Design

Although it may seem that the new Opel Cascada is just an Astra with a retractable roof, this is not the case. While the Astra falls into the compact segment, the Cascada is already in the middle class. After all, the dimensions also indicate this – the car is 4696 millimeters long, 1840 millimeters wide and 1443 millimeters high. When I compare the main dimensions with the older Astra TwinTop, it comes out as follows – 220mm, 81mm, 32mm. All in favor of the new Cascada, which is … that's right, a difference of one class .

Finally, someone in the non-premium segment understood that the back of a convertible doesn't have to be bloated and more than unsightly with the roof up. The rear lights use modern LED technology and strip light guides. Their visual unification is due to an elegant chrome bar. The front end is shaped in the spirit of the car company's current design trend, but you won't confuse it with the new Astra GTC. Here, too, we can find salt lamps for daytime lighting.

However, the main surprise is at the very top. After many years, Opel is returning to the canvas roof . An electro-hydraulic mechanism is in charge of retracting and retracting, which is less noisy than classic servos. The transformation from a sports coupe to an elegant convertible takes 17 seconds , even when driving at a speed of 50 km/h . Another advantage is the ability to retract the roof by holding down the button on the car key. Thanks to this, you can already see the whole concert of movements when you come to the Cascada.

Currently, you can choose from a single-layer or three-layer roof design. The black or burgundy shade of the fabric can be combined with one of the ten body lacquers as desired. Those who wait can have a beige roof.

Interior

After sitting behind the wheel, you immediately start to recognize elements familiar from other models. Nothing unusual, every car company does it. The tested Cascada was equipped with everything a versatile convertible could need. There are softened materials , contrasting stitching and, of course, quality workmanship. The seats are heated and ventilated, heating is also available for the steering wheel. The new sports seats upholstered in Nappa leather deserve praise. They have the AGR ergonomic certificate and the EasyEntry electronic system, which makes getting into the rear seats as easy as possible. In addition, after sitting forward, the electronic feeder extends the seat belt into a more comfortable reach, which has so far only been the privilege of convertibles of premium brands.

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While two-seater roadsters do not have much interior space, convertibles should be able to carry four passengers and the necessary cargo. The Opel Cascada meets these requirements. Thanks to the long wheelbase, a pair of passengers can actually fit in the back seats, but with the roof extended, I don't see it for any long journeys. But after putting it in the luggage compartment, you suddenly forget that something was ever pressing on your head.

Luggage space is not the main criterion for a convertible. The Cascada one, however, deserves an entire paragraph. The basic volume of 350 liters pleases, 280 liters after folding the roof, like six. However, Cascada can also be practical. It has electrically folding FlexFold rear seat backrests in a 50:50 ratio, which creates a large passage for transporting long objects. There is also a cleverly hidden wind screen behind the backrests. Therefore, driving a convertible on skis no longer has to be taboo.

Engine, chassis

A wide range of power units is available on the Czech market for the new Opel Cascada. The basis is the 88 and 103 kW turbo petrol engine. Both versions come with a six-speed manual transmission. If you don't like the smell of petrol, you can go for one of the two-liter CDTI and CDTI BiTurbo diesels with a power of 121 kW and 140 kW, respectively. Both diesel engines are basically connected to a six-speed manual transmission, the weaker one can also be had with a six-speed automatic.

The engine of the tested car is a separate chapter. This is the first swallow from a fleet of new power units that will eventually appear in new Opels. The SIDI Turbo ECOTEC gasoline direct injection sixteen-cylinder engine has a power of 125 kW , which is available in the range of 1650 – 3200 rpm. The torque peaks with the use of overboost at a value of 280 Nm. Opel reports a combined consumption of 6.3 l/100 km, which is one liter more than the THP 155 engine of the PSA concern . However, the higher weight of the cabriolet must be taken into account.

In the test car, I had a six-speed manual transmission at my disposal. It has pleasantly long and precise tracks and fits the character of the unit perfectly. However, Opel also offers this engine with a six-speed automatic transmission. The new box with low mechanical losses has the Active Select function for the possibility of manual shifting .

First ride

I completed my first kilometers behind the wheel of an Opel Cascada in the vicinity of Popovicek in the east of Prague. This time I put aside my carefully planned driving itinerary and set out to see how the Cascada would perform on winding roads with imperfect surfaces. As a result of the absence of a roof, every convertible loses part of its torsional stiffness, which manifests itself in an unpleasant twisting of the body. Opel solved the situation and equipped the new Cascada with a series of frame reinforcements. You will find beams made of high-strength steel not only on the chassis, but also in the trunk area, where they perform the function of struts. The result is 43% better torsional and 10% better bending stiffness compared to the Astra TwinTop.

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How does it all play out on the road? Very good. With the tested 1.6 SIDI Turbo ECOTEC engine, the Cascada is no tarmac ripper and does not really encourage overly sporty handling. Body roll has been kept to a minimum , and if you're still tempted by a sharper driving style, you won't be disappointed. The Opel Cascada is equipped as standard with the sophisticated HiPerStrut front axle, which was developed for the Insignia OPC. Compared to other models, the controllability in turns has therefore improved, which, in combination with the wind in your hair, is a real experience. The car can also be equipped with the FlexRide adaptive chassis, which adjusts the suspension characteristics depending on the driving conditions. But more on that later.

Conclusion

The Opel Cascada pleasantly surprised me after the first kilometers behind the wheel. The mid-range cabriolet is pleasant to drive, it shows great progress in driving characteristics and torsional stiffness, and what's more – it doesn't cost too much. Opel has established an interesting pricing policy, which is based on a single level of Cosmo equipment. For a Cascada with a 1.4 Turbo engine with an output of 88 kW, you will pay 599,990 crowns , the tested sixteen- cylinder SIDI Turbo ECOTEC starts at 671,900 crowns .

As standard, you get 18" alloy wheels, audio with MP3 and seven speakers, leather sports steering wheel, central locking with remote control, electronic parking brake and much more. That's an offer that could blow customers away from not just mainstream brands, but premium brands as well. You won't buy a similarly cut convertible from a Mercedes, Audi or BMW workshop for less than a million.

Basic price of the car: CZK 599,900

Basic price of the tested car: CZK 671,900

Pros:

– design

– pull from low revs

– inner space

– drive ability

– torsional stiffness of the body

– rich basic equipment

– interesting basic price

Cons:

– stringing of the central tunnel

– not enough room for passengers in the back with the roof extended

Compare the parameters of the Opel Cascada with the competition