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Opel Cascada

I broke my 'when in Rome' car hire rule this weekend, choosing a Polish built Opel rather than something French.  I know some will be horrified, as my original option was a DS5, but I hoped for decent weather and wanted to make the most of it.  I could have had a DS3 convertible I guess as we weren't going to do many miles, but I decided against getting a small car.  I was tempted by a reasonable upgrade offer for a 4 series convertible, but decided to stick with what I had booked.   Anyway....

I had a 2.0CDTI 165hp in a fairly high spec, which looks similar to Elite trim in the UK but with 18" rather than 20" wheels.  That means electric full leather sport seats, 'faux' leather dash with contrast stitching, heated seats/steering wheel etc.  It had some options fitted, which included Navi 950 Intellilink (the better of 2 sat nav options) and Perimeter Protection Pack (park assist, blind spot alert, folding mirrors, rear view camera).

Initial impressions were that it's not a pretty car (but better than some of the competition) and the colour was a bit boring, but it had comfortable seats, a decent driving position and the interior trim made it feel nicer inside than an Astra or Insignia.  Boot space with it set to the roof down position was pretty poor, we only just managed to squeeze in two carry on cases and our jackets.  Squashy bags would have been better, but it's not great.

The battery voltage was too low when we started it up so the roof wouldn't go down, but that gave us the chance to drive it with the roof up.  All round Visibility is pretty poor, but it was surprisingly quiet at motorway speeds and the ride was soft but comfortable.  As soon as we got to the first Peage we dropped the roof and it was an immediate improvement, although as I found out on the mountain roads, forward visibility is still terrible as the A Pillars really block your view on tight bends.

The ride was very good indeed at low speeds, but was too soft for me when the speeds increased, but it means it's a nice car to cruise around at reasonable speeds in while enjoying the sunshine.

The engine wasn't great, but made even worse by overly tall gearing.  It wouldn't accelerate in 6th on the Motorway (110kmh limit) and I had to use 2nd gear at speeds a diesel should easily cope with 3rd.   It felt pretty slow and wringing it out didn't improve things as it just got noisy and ran out of steam before 4,000rpm (it had done 7,000km).  I've always said that a 4 pot diesel has no place in a convertible and now I know for sure I'm right.

Not a car I'd want/recommend in the UK and it would probably be better with the 200hp petrol turbo engine, but it was ideal for what we wanted, the amount of use it got (circa 200km) and where we were.  We had the roof down the whole time as the weather was fantastic and it allows you to see / experience so much more.  

The highlight of the trip was being followed through the Monaco Tunnel by an Aventador that easily drowned out the diesel and we could fully appreciate with the roof down!

I have a couple of better pic on the camera, but it's not that exciting....

Big Blue

That's a shit colour for these. They look much better in darker colours.

The looks are improved by the cloth roof. Rarely do those folding metal roofs work.

Big Blue wrote:
That's a shit colour for these. They look much better in darker colours.

They do.

As well as looking better than a metal version, the roof was pretty good.   As well as insulating the cabin better than I expected, it was very quick to go up and down (17sec apparently) and can be opened/closed on the move.  The only negative was that the boot made quite a loud 'clunk' when it reached its fully open position, which shook the car slightly and it didn't feel like it was going to last forever.

The engine sounds typical of the older Vauxhall diesels (I'd like to think that this isn't a new one) and the newer diesels that are coming through in the job Astras are soooooo much better than the old ones. Much more flexible and a lot quieter.

Similarly with the A pillars, our Astras (essentially the same). You find yourself having to look under or over the damn A pillar as it obscures great chunks of your view at times.

Your description of the gearing sounds similar to the slightly more chronic condition afflicting the Astra I've written about elsewhere. To make matters worse it was a typical crap Vauxhall gearbox, too.

You're right, not a great gearbox either, especially getting into 2nd which I had to do a lot!

I spotted a rather iffy looking Mk1 Vectra last night , at work which, after I set off after it, proved itself to be iffy by racing off. Could my 1.7 CDTI Arstra keep up? Could it fuck. The lag, off boost lethargy and shite gearbox all saw to that. I was cursing the bloody thing.

Big Blue wrote:
That's a shit colour for these. They look much better on fire.

Fixed that for you.

Can't stand these things, bulbous monstrosities.

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