2016 Buick Cascada Premium Review

Monday July 25th, 2016 at 8:77 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

2016 Buick Cascada Premium

By David Colman

Hypes: Stunning Good Looks, Fun in the Sun
Gripes: Dated Dash, Underpowered

My neighbor down the street, who has never had a thing to say about any of the 50 or so vehicles that rotate through my driveway each year, made it a point to stop and discuss the styling of the new Buick Cascada. “That’s one of the best looking cars I’ve ever seen!” he exclaimed from the driver’s seat of his Nissan Leaf. I hesitated to mention the fact that pretty much anything would look good when you’re driving a Leaf. But I have to agree, the Cascada is without question a stunning looker of a car – not only when the top is stowed, but also when it’s erect. This Buick is a beauty from any angle. The curvaceous side sculpting enhances the predatory pounce of the body, which looks set to gobble up pavement in very short order.

2016 Buick Cascada Premium

Unfortunately, the Cascada’s looks over-promise from a performance standpoint. Because its curb weight is close to two tons, the small displacement (1.6 liter) inline 4, despite being turbocharged, is hard pressed to generate enough horsepower (200hp) to move the Cascada with the alacrity you’d expect from its scintillating looks. In fact, you need to be ever vigilant in using the 6-speed automatic transmission’s manual gate so as to spin the motor hard enough to generate acceptable acceleration. Even on its best day, the turbo 4 barely cracks 9 seconds in the run to 60mph from a standing start, and tops out at just 82mph in 16.7 seconds in the quarter mile run. In other words, this Buick is no Roadmaster in the speed department.

2016 Buick Cascada Premium

But if you can set aside that deficiency the Cascada has a lot to offer in a slimly populated market segment (sub $40K family convertibles) recently vacated by VW’s discontinued Eon and Chrysler’s 200 drop top. Really, at a base price of $36,065, the Cascada looks like rather a bargain. We particularly liked the up-market appearance of the interior seating, which sported a diamond perforation pattern on the 8-way power adjustable front sport bucket seats. These handsome perches also come with standard 3-stage heating and cooling controls. The heat source warms not only the cushion section but also the lower backrest area. A standard steering wheel rim heater completes the toasty luxury effect when the top is down and the weather is chilled. The top is a beautifully contrived unit which can be activated up to 31mph. Although the small back window features a defroster, rear vision is never very good with the top erect. However, a standard rear vision camera displays what you can’t see from the driver’s seat, and front and rear parking assists also help you steer clear of obstructions.

2016 Buick Cascada Premium

The Cascada is based on an Opel platform which is built in Poland. This unit started life more than 7 years ago as an Opel Astra J, and continues in production today as the Opel and Buick Cascada. Because of its longevity, the controls are showing their age. You’ll still need to insert a key in a slot to start this Buick, and the Cascada also lacks the handy proximity locking and unlocking common to newer designs. The center stack of the dashboard is rather complicated, with dozens of tiny buttons. It took me way too long to figure out how to program the HD Radio for favorite presets because the system is simply not intuitive. At one point I inadvertently managed to select Station 53 (“Chill”) on XM Radio on all 6 presets! On the plus side, however, this Buick features 4G LTE Wi-Fi, so you’re a virtual mobile hot spot, with a free limited data trial to enjoy before pay renewal with OnStar is required. While Buick touts the Cascade as a “Premium” effort, certain cheap touches dilute that impression. For example, the cruise control thumb wheel affixed to the left steering wheel spoke feels imprecise and flimsy.

2016 Buick Cascada Premium

Buick has fitted a surprisingly stout suspension system to this convertible. With standard 20 inch alloys carrying Bridgestone Potenza RE76 tires (245/45R20) at each corner, the Cascada has all the moves you’d expect of a sporting ride. The car corners flat and true, with the front suspension’s “HiPer Strut” carefully tuned to eliminate torque steer under heavy load. The downside of the 20 inch wheel application is the very wide turning circle you must deal with on every U-Turn. But when the top is stowed, the sun is out and the wind is playing with your senses, the Cascada has few peers as an enjoyable and affordable bargain convertible.

2016 Buick Cascada Premium

  • Engine: 1.6 liter inline 4, turbocharged with SIDI, DOHC and VVT
  • Horsepower: 200hp
  • Torque: 206lb.-ft.
  • Fuel Consumption: 20 MPG City/27 MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $37,385
  • Star Rating: 8 out of 10 Stars

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2016 Buick Regal AWD GS Review

Monday February 15th, 2016 at 1:22 PM
Posted by: D.Colman

2016 Buick Regal AWD GS

By David Colman

Hypes: Stealth Stalker of German Iron
Gripes: Ditch the Chrome Grill and Ventiports

What’s this? A Buick with 255/35R20 Pirelli P Zero tires? A Buick with Brembo brakes? You’re kidding me, right? Welcome to Buick’s second hundred years in the ever-changing car biz. This dynamite compact sedan will gleefully match any four door from Germany on a twisty road, despite costing half as much as the Audi A4, or BMW 3. How can it manage this feat with a base price of just $36,490? The secret sauce is that the Regal GS is a German design from the get-go, an Opel Insignia slightly re-tailored for American usage. In the past, that “American usage” provision involved softening ride, lessening steering feedback, and avoiding use of small displacement, high-revving engines in favor of big V6 and V8 motors. But General Motors recently chucked that path for Buick, because it invariably appealed to a customer base aging into insignificance. Hoping to trend younger, GM resurrected Opel’s Insignia as a Buick Regal, and moved production from Russelsheim Germany to Oshawa, Ontario. So they build this “American” sedan in Canada, comprised of 65% US/Canadian parts, and 20% Mexican pieces. However, the 2.0 liter, turbocharged four cylinder engine and 6-speed automatic gearbox are both constructed in the USA.

2016 Buick Regal AWD GS

Through a lengthy, ongoing advertising campaign, Buick has made a concerted effort to focus on the surprise onlookers experience when they discover their neighbors have bought – of all things – a new Buick. The company needs to lose this self-demeaning bit of image erosion as soon as possible because it doesn’t do justice to great cars like the Regal GS. I can remember when my parents brought home a new 1950s Buick Roadmaster. Back then, none of our neighbors were surprised or appalled by our choice of make. Rather, they gathered in our driveway to investigate and praise this latest wonder from Detroit. Given the excellence of the Regal Buick now sells, the neighbors in those ads should come to praise Buick, not bury it.

2016 Buick Regal AWD GS

Let’s start with the Regal’s bullet of a power plant, the gas miser turbo 4, which makes 259hp, a stomping 295 lb.-ft. of torque, and still manages to return 22MPG in overall driving tests. This direct injection motor loafs along contemptuously in 5th or 6th gear, saving on fuel until you poke it into action by downshifting the transmission manually into 2nd or 3rd gear. With the rpm count thusly elevated, the petite four explodes into action, allowing you to accomplish any passing maneuver with an extra margin of safety. Likewise, the beautifully calibrated suspension settings afford a plush boulevard ride regardless of pavement inequity. But when you choose to put those fat Pirellis and stout Brembos to the test, the all wheel drive chassis of the Regal hunkers down like a cat ready to pounce. The variable assist power steering helps position the Regal with utter certainty, the short sidewall Pirellis never emit so much as a squeal of protest, and the Brembo brakes bring the works to a halt instantly. Though its outer appearance looks staid and conservative, this is really a driver’s car masquerading as a family sedan.

2016 Buick Regal AWD GS

In its role as people mover, the Regal succeeds admirably as well. The 8 way adjustable front seats, heated to match the heated steering wheel, offer more side support than any Buick in memory. They’re also exceptionally comfortable under your thighs and beneath your lower back. Buick updated its IntelliLink infotainment system for 2016, and we found it to be logical and easy to manipulate. Nor is the dash bereft of all important knobs for critical functions like radio volume and station tuning. Most of these functions are duplicated on the spokes of the leather covered steering wheel.

2016 Buick Regal AWD GS

The AWD Regal, with the optional turbo motor, is a stunning surprise of a sports sedan. Buick doesn’t need to resort to all the racer tricks festooning most contenders in the category. You won’t find embroidered headrests here, or aluminum pedal faces, or imitation carbon fiber trim strips on the dash. This one gets the job done with the goods you can’t see from the outside, like perfectly calibrated springs and shocks, a super productive motor, and well-spaced gearbox ratios. If you don’t want your family to know you just bought a sports sedan, you’re home free, because there’s no appearance group to hide. While this one may not look the part, it definitely is the part.

2016 Buick Regal AWD GS

2016 Buick Regal AWD GS

  • Engine: 2.0 liter inline turbo 4 with direct injection
  • Horsepower: 259hp
  • Torque: 295 lb.-ft.
  • Fuel Consumption: 19 MPG City/27 MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $38,610
  • Star Rating: 10 out of 10 Stars

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2013 Buick Verano Turbo Review

Sunday March 31st, 2013 at 8:33 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

By David Colman

Hypes: One of the Best Drivelines Period
Gripes: A-Pillar Trim Mismatch, Cheapo Passenger Seat

A lot of years have passed since Buick built a hot rod called the GNX. Since the drag racing reign of the GNX ended in the mid 80s, Buick has focused on fine tuning their product line to appeal more to Chinese buyers, who value ersatz luxury and plush ride over performance attributes. The Buick Division’s focus on comfort and polish has made it GM’s number one sales leader in China. But back home, in the USA, where drivers remain performance oriented, Buick has had little to offer until the advent of this Verano Turbo, a sizzling rendition of their smallest sedan.

Prior to introduction of the Turbo model, Verano has been an innocuous four-door without particular merit for the enthusiast driver. Based on the same platform that Chevrolet utilizes for its hot selling Cruze, the Verano recasts the clean stylistic look of the Cruze with such vestigial Buick DNA markers as a toothy chrome grill and hood-mounted triple porthole emulators. These heritage devices look rather out of place on the Verano’s otherwise streamlined shell. Inside, Buick designers have done a better job of breaking with the marque’s customary serenity by offering up a strikingly bold two-tone cabin that posits mocha panels against chocolate trim to make an eye appealing combination.

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2012 Buick Verano FWD 1SL Review

Thursday May 3rd, 2012 at 8:55 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

By David Colman

For: Practical, Affordable, Made in USA
Against: Limited Side Vision

The best way to learn about a car’s aerodynamic efficiency is to wash it by hand. Does your sponge snag on trim? Does the car’s shape shed water or retain it? When I finished washing and drying this nifty little Buick sedan, I was impressed by the unimpeded flow of its skin, the cleanly sculpted face it presents to the wind. Good mileage figures (21 MPG City/32 MPG Highway), as well as a sepulchrally quiet interior, bear testament to the efficacy of the Verano’s air management program.

A lot of keen features belie the Verano’s bargain basement price of $25,965. Cabin furnishings head the list of surprises, with leather trim, dual zone climate control, express window lefts at all 4 doors, and 3-month free XM Satellite Radio subscription, all making for driving satisfaction. Best of all, the Verano, which is based on Chevy’s Cruze platform, uses a superior engine unavailable in the Cruze. That would be Buick’s Ecotec 2.4 liter, 4-cylinder unit good for 180hp. Coupled to its standard 6-speed automatic, this engine provides quietly adequate motivation under all circumstances. Leave the floor mounted stick in Drive, and the Verano will putter around town in high gear while returning excellent mileage. But if the sporty mood overtakes you, slap the stick into its manual gate and tap it backwards for downshifts, forward for upshifts. Buick doesn’t give you steering wheel paddles, but their absence is moot because the floor shift method works so dependably.

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Table of Contents – Editorial Car Reviews, Feature Articles

Tuesday October 11th, 2011 at 2:1010 PM
Posted by: Derek

CarReview_Contents_header

Below is a comprehensive list of all the Expert Car Reviews and feature articles published on CarReview.com [updated 10/11/2011]:

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New 2012 Buick Regal with eAssist Fuel-Saving Technology

Tuesday February 8th, 2011 at 2:22 PM
Posted by: aquadog

2012 Buick Regal with eAssistBuick has announced their plans to release the 2012 Buick Regal with eAssist (light electrification), joining the 2012 LaCrosse as the second Buick to feature this fuel-saving technology. With an estimated fuel economy of 26 mpg city and 37 mpg on the highway, the eAssist system features a 115V lithium-ion battery system, 15 kW electric induction motor-generator, and regenerative braking capability, that provides up to 15 kW of electricity to charge the battery, which will all improve fuel economy. The eAssist system also uses power stored in the battery to provide needed electrical boost in driving situations and allows the Ecotec engine to shut down fuel delivery in certain deceleration situations to save fuel. The eAssist power pack that contains the lithium-ion battery pack, the integrated power inverter and 12V power supply will be located between the rear seat and trunk, for a slightly reduced trunk space and eAssist system’s electric induction motor-generator is mounted to the engine in place of the alternator.

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Porsche, Buick, Modern Muscle Cars at the 2011 North American International Auto Show in Detroit

Wednesday January 19th, 2011 at 9:11 PM
Posted by: ponycargirl

©2011 Megan Green - Porsche 918 Spyder RSR at 2011 NAIASArticle and photos by Megan Green

Porsche 918 RSR
At a 6:30 a.m. press conference in snowy Detroit, the press gathered around in anticipation of the first reveal of the day. With smoky fanfare, Porsche rolled out their 918 RSR , a high-end hybrid sports car. The best of the 2010 Spyder concept and 911 GT3 R hybrid were combined to create the fluid yet powerful two-seat coupe powered by a V8 mid-engine. Two electric motors on the front axle contribute as well as store power while braking, utilizing its flywheel accumulator – taking the place of a second seat to the right of the driver. On the console, modern touch technology is eschewed in favor of rocker switches. Finishing aesthetic touches include brown leather bucket seats and steering wheel, wing doors, with the body painted a cool blue accented with bright orange racing stripes and brake calipers. It’s just a shame that the 918 RSR didn’t stick around for more admiration during the public show days.

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2010 Buick LaCrosse CXS Review – A Brand Resurrected

Wednesday June 23rd, 2010 at 12:66 PM
Posted by: Kurt Gensheimer

2010 Buick LaCrosse CXS

By Kurt Gensheimer

Blings:

  • Interior silent as a monastery
  • Incredible amount of rear legroom
  • Beautifully crafted inside and out

Dings:

  • Visibility so bad it should come with a Surgeon General warning
  • Torque steer (yes, it’s front-wheel drive)
  • Low rear door clearance devours heads

Ruling: It might be riddled with blind spots, but the new LaCrosse is also riddled with style, performance, luxury and value.

Never before has an automotive brand represented two completely polar opposite demographics as Buick does in the United States and China. In the U.S., the cache of Buick has grown as old and decrepit as it owners, whereas in China, Buick has emerged as the automotive brand representing a thirtysomething’s arrival into the material world. In China, the average Buick owner is a youthful 32. In the U.S.? More than twice as old.

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China's Luxury Car Market Booms – Chinese Women Drive Ferrari Sales. Wait, WHAT?

Monday May 3rd, 2010 at 11:55 AM
Posted by: michael.leroy

China FerrariFerrari and other luxury automakers are looking East for new sales

If were not able to snap up a Ferrari 599 GTO before they sold out, maybe a woman in China bought Ferrari’s newest super car from right under your nose. According to GoAuto.com.au, Chinese Women are driving Ferrari sales in the People’s Republic of China. 20 percent of the 220 Italian super cars were sold to women this year. In the West, only five percent of Ferrari’s sales are to women.

Ferrari is hoping to at least double sales in the PRC. China has weathered this recession much better than we have in the U.S. and its wealthy elite are chomping at the bit to buy luxury cars.

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First Impressions: 2010 Buick LaCrosse

Wednesday August 26th, 2009 at 2:88 PM
Posted by: m35man

2010 Buick LaCrosse

The completely redesigned 2010 Buick LaCrosse luxury sedan is the newest example of the globally influenced product renaissance at Buick. It offers all-wheel drive, a suite of advanced intelligent personal technologies and safety features, as well as three efficient, powerful engines.

I was able to test drive this vehicle last week, and I am still amazed at the amount of car you get for the price (approx. $32,000-$38,000). The car handles well and has power pulling away from stops in the city. What impressed me the most? First, the overall look. The body design reminds me of a Lexus. When I walked up and viewed it initially, I thought it was anything but a Buick. After studying it at length, I found several refreshing updated Buick-style elements within the body. Right down the street, there was an ’09 LaCrosse, and it’s like the ‘10’s little stepbrother. This is a completely different car from front to back. It looks like a luxury high-end vehicle, but it’s affordable and stylish, with good size and great fuel economy (around 32 mpg highway).

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