Cascada is Buick's first convertible since 1991

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Buick has released the Cascada, its first convertible since 1991.

A new vehicle is hitting showrooms that hasn't existed for quite a long time: a Buick convertible.

"We hadn't had a convertible in 25 years. I think it's just a matter of they're generally lower-volume vehicles, but we thought now might be a good time to bring one back," said Doug Osterhoff, a product planning manager at Buick.

Buick said goodbye to the convertible market when the two-seat Reatta was discontinued in 1991.

Now a modern, much more practical convertible wears the Buick badge. It's called the Cascada.

It's a new model name and it will only come as a convertible, just as it does in Europe, as the Opel Cascada.

"The nice thing is that it was already developed and doing quite well over there, so we thought it would be a good idea to bring it here," Osterhoff added.

Making the car from scratch as a convertible gives it advantages in terms of chassis stiffness. That allows for crisper handling, though it is far from being a sports car. Also, the solid chassis means the 20-inch wheels and tires are not only able to provide a smooth ride, they come standard.

And for easy convertible fun, a fully automatic power top is standard too. Put it up or down in 17 seconds, even if you're moving at speeds below 31 mph.

Buick calls the Cascada a "2+2," which means two front seats and two smaller ones in back. Four normal-sized adults should have just enough room.

The Cascada competes in a pretty narrow segment of convertibles, themselves a fairly narrow segment of the car market. Its size and price put it up against the Audi A3 convertible, and the 2-Series convertible.

Base prices for all three of these convertibles start at about $33,000 for the Buick, about $36,000 for the Audi, and about $38,000 for a BMW 228i convertible.

The 2017 Cascada ABC7 drove was a higher trim package example called 1SP, and came in at just under $38,000 with a couple of options.

Power in the new Buick convertible is adequate from a 1.6-liter turbo four cylinder that makes 200 horsepower through a standard automatic transmission. If you want a convertible with more power, General Motors will be happy to sell you a Camaro or Corvette from its Chevrolet line.

But if you want to look cool while enjoying cool or warm breezes in a cool-riding car, the Cascada would probably do the trick. The first drop-top Buick since "Dances with Wolves" won the Oscar for best picture.

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