Vauxhall Motors has been producing incredible motor cars for well over one hundred years! They have built some of the UK’s most popular and instantly recognisable vehicles, including the Corsa, Zafira, Astra, and Insignia.
They have made some fantastic cabriolets, including the classic Vauxhall 30-98 (first built in 1913) and the very popular Vauxhall Astra TwinTop. Our technicians regularly see the Vauxhall Astra TwinTop in our shop, but the much older Vauxhall 30-98 has become a bit of a rarity!
While Vauxhall make excellent motor cars, their soft top cabriolets often have water ingress issues and mechanical problems. This article will take a closer look at the new Vauxhall Cascada and the changes that have been made to its electric folding roof design to overcome these problems.
The Exciting New Vauxhall Cascada
In 2013, Vauxhall released the Vauxhall Cascada, which was designed to replace the Vauxhall Astra TwinTop as their flagship cabriolet. We do not often see the Vauxhall Cascada in the workshop, but we have performed extensive research on the car’s folding roof.
The Cascada is a larger car than the Vauxhall Astra TwinTop with many features that would normally be reserved for a D-segment vehicle (the large car category), including four adult-sized seats and a large 380 litre boot.
Despite its larger size and comprehensive list of features, it is a reasonably affordable car — with a price tag of between £26,060 to £32,010 for a new car and between £8000 to £19,000 for a used car. For this price, consumers are usually limited to smaller hatchbacks — not premium convertibles. Vauxhall is hoping that the price tag will continue to be a major draw card for consumers.
One of the fastest electric folding roofs on the market
The soft top on the Cascada operates very quickly, opening in just 17 seconds and closing in 19 seconds. This soft top can be operated at speeds of up to 48 km per hour (30 miles per hour), which is very handy if you are trying to avoid the rain or sweltering heat while driving.
The Vauxhall Cascada’s soft top has a very clean design, with no visible roof-top cover or roll-over protection. The car’s roof is very aerodynamic and quite elegant in appearance, with a lovely pillar-less design.
Lowering the electric folding roof reduces the boot space from 380 litres to a still-respectable 280 litres. If you have gone on a massive shopping spree and require more cargo space, you can also fold the rear seats down.
The Cascada uses some beautiful materials in the interior, including high-quality fabrics. The soft top roof has a heated glass rear screen that retracts bellow a tonneau cover when the roof is retracted.
Using the roof is simple. The driver simply presses the large operating switch located on the lower centre console. It is easy to reach while driving and pushing the button doesn’t distract the driver from the road. The car’s windows can also be opened or closed with the four-windows switch integrated with the roof operation button. Conveniently, there is also a button on the key remote control to operate the roof.
Thoroughly tested and tougher than most!
Vauxhall says they have tested the electro-hydraulic mechanism for the roof at least 15,000 times — the equivalent of four operations per day for 10 years. The two-layer soft top has been tested with high temperatures and extreme weather simulations by Vauxhall also. They say it is the best-performing soft top roof they have ever made.
It is clear that the car’s designers have put a lot of thought into the design of this soft top roof. The fabric used by Vauxhall is highly durable, UV resistant, and has long-term colour fasting. It is car wash proof and does not require regular maintenance.
If you are uncertain about purchasing a soft top because of noise, you will be happy to learn the Vauxhall Cascada has an “acoustic” soft top option. This version has enhanced exterior fabric and an additional fabric layer of polyester fleece. This additional layer reduces the noise levels by 30% and improves the already fantastic insulation.
Vauxhall estimate that using a soft top folding roof makes the car 100 kilograms lighter than it would have been with a hard top.
How does the Vauxhall Cascada compare to the Vauxhall Astra TwinTop?
The Vauxhall TwinTop was one of the most popular cabriolets produced by the company. Its convertible hard top roof has an elegant design that functions superbly if the vehicle is well-maintained.
A key part of the Astra TwinTop’s success was its intelligent roof design, which allowed the vehicle to have more boot space. The TwinTop’s hard folding roof split into three sections instead of two — which allowed for more room in the boot and a shorter rear end.
The Astra TwinTop was released with all of the engine and gearbox configurations of the hatchback models, including a diesel engine. This was the first time an Astra cabriolet have a diesel variant available — useful for anyone pulling a small load with the car.
Another key reason for the Astra TwinTop’s success was the fact it was so affordable! Vauxhall manufactured the Astra TwinTop on the same production line as the standard Astra, which helped to reduce costs while maintaining high quality standards.
Of course, having such a complicated roof system does open up the possibility of more things going wrong. We often have first-time customers come into the shop with a Vauxhall Astra TwinTop that has a roof stuck in the down position or half way down. Their only option was to get the vehicle recovered to the workshop to carry out repairs as it had become un-drivable.
The complexity of the Vauxhall Astra TwinTop’s folding roof means that most local garages refuse to work on it. In many cases, when a local garage does agree to work on the car, their lack of expertise makes the problem worse! We regularly see Astra TwinTops come into the shop after being badly damaged by a local mechanic who lacked the necessary skills and knowledge.
The fabric roof on the Vauxhall Cascada will make repairs much simpler and more affordable. However, it is still a complex roof system that should only be repaired or maintained by a trained technician.
Our technicians are folding roof experts and have experience with many different models and manufacturers. If you have any issues with either your Vauxhall Cascada or Vauxhall Astra Twin Top, contact us today on 01737 761 599.