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Vauxhall is claiming that its sleek, new Cascada isn't just an open-top Astra but an independent model in its own right. It's bigger than the former spin-off drop-tops - the Twintop and the Astra Convertible - and given its size and price is theoretically competing with the premium Audi A5 Convertible.
Those are bold statements that the Cascada doesn't really live up to.
If you are familiar with the Astra hatchback then the interior and driving experience won't come as any surprise. It's comfortable enough but the handling isn't exciting and the 165hp 2.0-litre diesel engine tested here is loud at medium to high revs.
Despite its large footprint (the Cascada is 4696mm long next to a five-door Astra's 4419mm) and increased all-round size over previous convertibles, there is very little in the way of rear legroom. But where the car distinguishes itself in the four-seat convertible sector is with its roof.
It's the only non-premium model of its ilk that has a fabric roof (it still opens and closes electronically) as opposed to a metal folding hard-top, which has become the default for hatchback-cum-convertibles, hence why Vauxhall is pitching it as an Audi A5 rival.
Despite its unique status in the segment, the Vauxhall will inevitably be considered against non-premium convertibles with folding hard-tops, such as the VW Golf Cabriolet and the Peugeot 308 CC. Even though it has a lower P11D at £26,855, the 308 trails behind in its equivalent 2.0 HDi Allure guise, with a comparatively lofty CPM figure of 65.1ppm due to a poorer RV of 29.5% and emissions of 149g/km.
Not surprisingly, the most closely matched Golf cabrio - the 2.0 TDI GT - enjoys a more substantial RV of 35.1%, which, combined with a cleaner but less powerful 140hp diesel engine emitting 119g/km, creates a more favourable 57.5ppm. Meanwhile, the Cascada comfortably trumps any variant of the A5 Cabriolet too, but that's not surprising given that the cheapest Audi starts at £31,770.
Model price range
Service, Maintenance and Repair
Vehicle Excise Duty
Cost per mile
BIK 20/40% per month
100,000mls (first owner)
Boot space min/max
Handsome and niche but neither practical nor good to drive