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Cascada is drop top gorgeous 

THERE seems to be no end of the new models appearing on our roads – with some car companies playing a bigger part than others.

One such manufacturer is Vauxhall, with the arrival of the Cascada convertible in April taking it into the fourth new sector in a year, following the launches of Ampera, Mokka and ADAM models.

If you haven’t seen a Cascada in the flesh yet then you won’t realise how good it looks – pictures just don’t do it justice.

Unlike some convertibles, it is a striking car with the roof up – and absolutely gorgeous when topless.

It is a full-size convertible with plenty of room in the back for two adults and is also at-tractively priced, starting at £23,995.

There are two trims, SE and Elite, and a choice of petrol and diesel engines.

The test car was an Elite 2.0CDTi 16v 163bhp costing £27,595 and the stylish looks of this model – in its Mercure Red colour – attracted lots of attention.

Cascada buyers will want to get the soft top lowered as often as possible so even on chilly days they will be tempted to wrap up well and go out for an open-air spin – utilising the heated front seats and heated steering wheel which were on this model.

But with UK weather they will spend a lot of time with the roof up so the hood has to be of top quality.

It does go up and down pretty easily – in 17 seconds and up to speeds of 30mph – either by using the interior switch or the button on the key fob that I found really handy.

Worldwide testing has been done on the standard top to prove it is absolutely weather proof and it proved effective in keeping noise levels at a minimum.

If you want the noise level reduced even further there is an optional acoustic top that also provides better thermal insulation.

There are also detachable windbreakers that can be mounted behind the front and rear seats and these are stored in a bag behind the rear seat backrests.

The rear seats can also be folded flat to increase boot space that is 380 litres with the roof up and 280 litres with it down.

The interior trim is high quality, and comfort for driver and front and rear passengers is good.

I thought the turbo diesel engine, with a zero to 60mph time of 9.6 seconds and top speed of 135mph, performed quietly enough and also offered good mid-range power.

The six-speed manual transmission allowed smooth gearshifts and the Cascada gripped the road well at speed.

Assisted by its start/stop technology, fuel economy is excellent – capable of 45mpg urban, 61mpg extra urban and 54mpg combined.

The models come with a high level of equipment which on SE includes 18-inch alloy wheels, front sports seats, daytime running lights, LED tail lamps, remote roof operation, rear park assist, front and rear electric windows, cruise control, air conditioning and flexfold rear seats with remote electrical release.

Elite models spec includes leather trim, heated front seats with electric four-way lumbar adjustment, heated steering wheel, front fog lamps, dual zone climate control and automatic lighting.

It also comes with Vauxhall’s lifetime warranty, lasting the life of the car or up to 100,000 miles.

The Cascada is the first full-sized convertible designed, engineered and manufac-tured by Vauxhall since the 1930s – it’s well worth the wait.