BMW 220i Convertible 2015 review
Ewan Kennedy road tests and reviews the BMW 220i convertible with specs, fuel consumption and verdict.
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The Cascada is one of the most important new models from Holden being aimed at seeing the company through the difficult period of shutting down Australian manufacture, then into the future of import-only cars.
Holden has painted itself into a corner created by many people thinking that all cars with Holden badges have been made in this country. So the news that Holden is closing its factories has these folks thinking no Holdens will ever be sold again. Sales have slowed and the marketing guys are desperately trying to get them up and running again.
As a matter of interest, cars with Holden badges on them have been imported from Germany, Poland, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Mexico and other countries.
Which brings us back to the Holden Cascada one of the European models, built by Opel in Poland. One was with us over the Christmas and New Year break and has been just the right car for long summer evenings when the soft-top was open almost all the time.
Cleverly Opel opted for a soft-top rather than a folding hardtop for the Cascada/Astra. While hardtops may be more practical they invariably look like a coupe when the roof is closed. A soft-top tells everyone you're in a convertible even when you've been forced to shut out the weather.
We initially felt the body behind the windscreen was rather too long; stretched out, even. But after spending time with the shape it grew on us, possibly because the upward sweeping lines in the sides help to shorten it visually. Anyhow, beauty is in the eye of beholders and Holden dealers tell us there has been no shortage of them checking out Cascada.
Legroom is somewhat restricted in the rear so compromises between those in the front and back will often be necessary
The convertible's interior is classy, with sweeping lines enhanced by the exposed stitching. The dials are well placed and pass their messages at a glance.
Naturally, Cascada has the Holden MyLink multimedia system. In this instance it has a 7.0-inch colour screen display with satellite navigation and Pandora, Stitcher and TuneIn Radio apps. It's not particularly easy to use but with experience you will learn to find your way around without too much frustration.
The 1.6 turbo-petrol four-cylinder engine has 125kW power and 260Nm torque and drives thorough a six-speed automatic transmission. There's no manual option as in other vehicles in the Astra range.
In addition to mandatory safety items such as airbags (dual front and side), ABS brakes and electronic stability control, the Cascada also comes with two ISOFIX child-seat anchorages; a reversing camera; automatic lights and wipers; and front and rear parking sensors.
Holden Cascada is said to be designed for four adults rather than the usual two-plus-two convertible layout. Legroom is somewhat restricted in the rear so compromises between those in the front and back will often be necessary. However, Cascada is significantly better than most in this class due to its long body.
Boot space is reasonable because soft-tops need less space to stow the roof than do folding hardtops. But when Cascada's top is where it should be – down – the boot loses a lot of vertical height in its rearmost section. Check for yourself as the shape of the boot is rather strange.
To counter the problems the rear seatbacks have a 50/50 split to let you choose your passenger/luggage compromise.
The extra mass of the convertible body (which needs extra metal under the floor to make up for the strength lost by removing the roof) takes the edge of its performance. Unlike the Astra hatch that has 147kW power and 280Nm torque if you opt for the six-speed manual, Holden Cascada is automatic only. If you're looking for a high-performance open-top car then Cascada isn't it, but as a cruiser it's excellent.
This is probably the most comfortable open-top car we have ever experienced
The engine's peak torque runs all the way from 1650 to 4500 revs so most drivers will be running with maximum torque virtually all day, every day.
Fuel consumption was reasonable, about 6-7L/100km on motorways and country roads, rising to 8-10L/100km around town.
On smooth roads the Cascada is exceptionally quiet and comfortable. Rough roads do generate some scuttle shake, which is probably inevitable considering the large cabin opening.
This is probably the most comfortable open-top car we have ever experienced. Wind buffeting and noise is minimal, even when the windows are down and we did a trip of a couple of hours under the stars that will remain in our minds for a long time. Sadly, in most open-top cars we find ourselves putting the roof back up again after half an hour or so due to windrush.
Cascada comes with an amazingly complicated folding windbreak that clips over the rear seat, but after we removed it to carry passengers for the first time we left it double-folded and stowed in the boot - and certainly never missed it…
Handling is on the soft side and unlikely to appeal to those who enjoy early Sunday mornings on their favourite mountain roads.
Holden's new Cascada is an excellent convertible that's designed for cruising not bruising. With a starting price of just $41,990 plus on-roads we can see it carving out a nice niche for itself amongst longtime Holden lovers, as well as pulling others into the showroom as well.
|(base)||1.6L, PULP, 6 SP AUTO||$17,999 – 28,990||2016 Holden Cascada 2016 (base) Pricing and Specs|
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