Motoring Tampa Bay: March 2016

By Nitish Rele

The new Buick baby has arrived. No kidding! Known traditionally for its bulky and full-size vehicles, the GM luxury brand has undergone a renaissance of sorts that will continue well into 2018. The 2016 Cascada marks the return of a convertible to the Buick lineup after 25 years.

Under the hood resides a sole Ecotec 1.6-liter turbocharged inline-4 cylinder, which cranks out 200 horsepower and 207 lbs.-ft. of torque. That’s more than adequate for a vehicle weighing 3,979 lbs. Power is routed through a smooth 6-speed auto transmission. Available only in front-wheel-wheel drive, suspension is driven by an able HiPer strut independent front and a Watts Z-link rear. An electric variable-assist rack and pinion takes care of your steering needs.

Buick has kept the front fascia simple but elegant. Sitting on standard 20-in. wheels is a three-bar grille hosting the familiar Buick emblem surrounded by sweeping LED headlights flowing into the fenders. This being a Buick, you are assured of a luxurious and generous cabin. A 7-inch color touchscreen for audio, navigation and Intellilink readings sits atop the dashboard with a clutter of buttons to operate. Standard amenities include dual-zone climate control, 50/50 rear seat, eight-way power heated front seats, and a three-spoke steering column. Cargo space is 13.4 cubic feet with top up and 9.8 with top down.

Safety features include front and rear airbags, side curtain airbag, front knee airbags, StabiliTrak system with traction control, four-wheel antilock brakes with brake assist, anti-rollover bars, rearview camera, remote keyless entry, daytime running lights and tire pressure monitoring system.

With a touch of a button, you can open or close the soft power top in a mere 17 seconds at speeds of up to 31 mph. So, if open-air motoring buffs are looking to catch the sun and the eye of the onlookers, the Cascada fits the bill. And best of all, it is a convertible with a Buick tag to boot.

Test-drive the Cascada at Rivard Buick GMC at 9740 Adamo Dr. in Tampa. For more information, call 620-6500 or visit www.rivardbuickgmc.com.