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Holden Cascada 2015 review

There is a new way to gauge the appeal of cars.

Forget 0 to 100km/h performance times, or how fast the roof goes up or down on a convertible.

The new measure of success is zero to 36,000 social media followers in five minutes.

That's how long it took for a selfie of a female colleague with the new Holden Cascada to go viral.

Much better connected than I am, the budding reporter who hobnobs with the social glitterati got retweeted by some big names within moments of uploading a photo with her pretend new car.

And we hadn't even left the work car park. Or started the engine.

Motoring journalists can be a crabby bunch, which is why we sought expert help when the Holden Cascada turned up.

The name is Spanish for waterfall, an unusual choice for a car with a soft-top that's supposed to prevent leaks

It's the successor to the Astra convertible. Holden thinks a new identity might give it a fresh start, even if the name is Spanish for waterfall, an unusual choice for a car with a soft-top that's supposed to prevent leaks.

But the name change apparently didn't fool anyone, least of all the gaggle of women in the office, some of them former Astra owners, who were suddenly CarsGuide's best friend when the Cascada arrived.

Truth be told, they had been pestering us for weeks about it. To us, it was just another car. One of more than 100 to be released this year among a horde of 500-plus other makes and models in Australia's over-crowded market.

Despite the Cascada slipping quietly into Holden showrooms amid little fanfare, they wanted to know all about it. They were like tech geeks in new iPhone week.

While motoring hacks are more interested in how a car handles bends, our fair friends were more interested in how much you need to bend your body to get in it.

Slipping elegantly into two-door cars can be a bit of a chore, especially in a skirt. Apparently.

Two-door coupes and convertibles also have heavy doors, because the doors are longer; you quickly learn to avoid parking on steep hills -- or go to the gym more often.

When I was driving the Cascada, I could hear tiny squeaks and rattles as the roof settled on its rubbers every time I hit a bump. Or a lane marker.

But the noise wasn't apparent at first, because one of my learned friends was too busy screaming with excitement, and then cranking the stereo (we really do need to talk about the hip-hop/reggae thing, Deb).

The biggest surprise to me, though, was that before we even got in it, she went straight for the boot the moment I unclicked the lock. That's usually the second-last place motoring writers venture, ahead of looking under the bonnet.

Deb wanted to know if the back seats folded flat and opened through to the boot (they do) and how much stuff she could fit in the back.

I wanted to see if it had a skinny spare wheel under the boot floor, or a can of goop. (It has a skinny spare, so you're not completely stranded with a flat).

It was immediately apparent the boot could only hold a decent load if the roof was up, and the fabric "nappy" the roof stows into is flipped up and out of the way.

With all of us finally on board, Holly approved of the roominess and comfort of the two back pews. Deb loved the leather upholstery and, I gather, the dashboard stitching (faux or real, we couldn't tell, but she didn't care) because she kept patting the car.

Then she found the iPhone cable and that was it. Car karaoke.

It's almost as heavy as a Commodore

Things I noticed didn't seem to rate on their radar. The 1.6-litre turbo engine is a bit noisy, and the tyres make a "slapping" sound a little more than normal over joins in the road.

You can also feel the weight of the car (it's almost as heavy as a Commodore), and a subtle creaking of the body when you turn into driveways, a trait of soft-tops because they're missing the extra body stiffness that a metal roof and its pillars provide.

I reckoned the digital speed display between the analogue dials in the dash looked a bit old school, with chunky graphics rather than a retina screen.

The large audio display in the middle of the dash should be a touchscreen too; all it did was leave fingerprints.

This mattered not a jot to the target audience in this test drive, who believe every Holden Cascada should come with a selfie stick.

They were happy as long as the engine had enough oomph to get out of the way, and to the next round of drinks and nibbles.

The Cascada is not about to win the Bathurst 1000, and it can feel slightly sluggish from rest to 50km/h.

But once on the move, it carries its momentum well from 60km/h to 100km/h.

At those speeds, the engine tends to be in just the right spot to be instantly responsive. At cruising speed, a light squeeze of the throttle is all that's needed to give the Cascada a decent shove.

And, lastly, the roof speed. The difference between "it's raining" and "look at me" is 17 seconds. Only the Audi TT (10 seconds) and Volkswagen Golf cabrio (9 seconds) can deliver open-air driving quicker.

The Cascada can also raise or lower its roof while moving up to 50km/h -- or while standing next to it and using the remote key fob. Hashtag, just sayin.

Verdict

Dull motoring journalists like me give this car 4 stars out of 5. That's a good score among hard markers because it has a relatively sharp price, ticks most boxes when it comes to standard equipment, and oozes style.

Footnote: The last time we saw our female colleagues over the office partition, one of them was doing the sums on a car loan to the value of a Holden Cascada.

Pricing Guides

$22,990
Based on 21 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$16,990
Highest Price
$26,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
(base) 1.6L, PULP, 6 SP AUTO $16,990 – 26,990 2015 Holden Cascada 2015 (base) Pricing and Specs
Launch Edition 1.6L, PULP, 6 SP AUTO $25,850 – 31,900 2015 Holden Cascada 2015 Launch Edition Pricing and Specs
Pricing Guide

$12,990

Lowest price, based on 22 car listings in the last 6 months

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