Vauxhall has for the first time fully revealed its brand new full-size and four-seat convertible, the Cascada.
It will go on sale at the start of next year, with first deliveries arriving in March 2013, and its set to become cheapest full-size convertible on the market.
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When it goes on sale next year, the Vauxhall Cascada will also represent the fourth all-new model to be launched by the British brand. The convertible follows closely in the footsteps of debutants including the Ampera E-REV, and soon upcoming the Mokka mini-SUV and the Adam supermini.
The Cascada will seek to mark Vauxhall's triumphant return to the convertible market since the company dropped its predecessor, the Astra TwinTop, back in 2010.
The Vauxhall Cascada measures at 4.7 metres long, making it 70mm longer then one of its main rivals, the latest Audi A5 cabriolet. It's considerably larger in comparison to compact convertibles like the Volkswagen Eos or the Renault Megane Convertible.
The body of the Cascada takes styling cues from both the latest Astra and Insignia family cars. In fact the front of the Cascada looks very similar to the current Astra hatchback, which was received a minor facelift earlier this year.
Other noticeable styling cues include the wide protruding rear wheel arches, the twin curved cuts on each door and a chrome winged-shaped badge at the rear which overlapses the taillights.
The biggest highlight however is of course the convertible roof. Unlike the Astra TwinTop which used a folding metal roof, the Cascada's uses a fabric soft-top hood.
The new roof has been made out of especially thick high quality fabric so that it can withstand the roughest weather the UK has to offer.
Drivers of the Cascada will be able to open the fabric roof in just 17 seconds, and at speeds of up to 30mph. The roof can be controlled by either an interior switch or through a button on the car's key fob.
When the roof is down the Cascada's rear boot space is just 280 litres, although this will increase to 350 litres with the roof up.
There will be three colour options for the fabric roof, while there are ten colours for the exterior bodywork.
Inside the Vauxhall Cascada sports a luxurious leather cabin which bears clear similarities to high-end Insignia models.
The Cascada's full equipment list has not been disclosed yet, but the convertible will feature numerous high-end luxuries as well as Vauxhall's FlexRide adaptive chassis technology, which offers three selectable driving modes.
Optional equipment for the Cascada includes a range of gadgets including a Traffic Sign Recognition camera, Lane Departure Warning, a rear-view camera and a heated steering wheel. For the exterior the Cascada also offers the choice of either 18" or 20" wheels.
The Cascada's large array of equipment and other onboard features is clearly evident when you observe the car's instrument panel. The area is cluttered with upwards of 50 buttons and four dials. Vauxhall will hope the final presentation won't prove overly-complicated for some.
Engines and performance
From launch the engine options for the Vauxhall Cascada will include a 168bhp 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol unit, though lower and higher powered versions of this unit are rumoured to arrive after the car's initial debut.
Other launch engines will include a 138bhp 1.4-litre turbo petrol, a 163bhp 2.0-litre diesel. The 192bhp 2.0-litre BiTurbo diesel, which has already launched for the Vauxhall Astra GTC, is also rumoured for the Cascada's launch line-up.
Performance figures for the Cascada are currently unknown, but more details on this and on future petrol and diesel engine options will undoubtedly be revealed in the near future.
When the Vauxhall Cascada goes on sale next year, prices will reportedly start from around £25,000. Such a starting price would comfortably undercut rivals such as the Audi A5 cabriolet, which currently starts at £29,455.
A saving this large could prove the difference for Vauxhall in attracting a desirable number of customers to its brand-new convertible model. Provided they can work out all the buttons.
Written by Stephen Goldasz