Many folks may not know this but Buick holds the distinction of being the oldest active American marque of automobile, and the original Buick Motor Company was a cornerstone of the establishment of General Motors back in 1908. Now, well over 100 years later, Buick still remains a force in the automotive world and is currently not only doing well here in the U.S. but continues to exceed GM’s expectations in the Chinese Market.
Whether you’re a fan of the three shields or not, it’s tough to argue with that kind of tenacity and all of us here at Horsepower Broadcasting have long been impressed with Buick’s ability to continue to prove the naysayer’s wrong.
The one problem we have with Buick lately is a lack of excitement from any of their lineup. The Regal GS Turbo almost makes the grade but even with 259 horsepower coming from the the little 4 cylinder 2.0 liter turbo, somehow we just weren’t overly impressed. That’s not to say we’ve never been impressed and we continue to hold out hope that Buick will once again wow us with an unforgettable performance model.
Who can forget the cool 1963 Wildcat or the 1965 Gran Sport with the famous “Nailhead V8” or the Turbocharged Grand National back in 1986 and 1987. The Turbo Charged 6 cylinder back then may have been anemic by some folks standards but a quick visit to our friend Kenny Dutweiller would’ve quickly silenced all criticisms and the beast of all was the big 455 V8 back in the 1967 Riviera…ah, those were the days.
Today, we performance enthusiasts yearn for more from the Buick badge, what would be wrong with a 6.2 liter Supercharged Regal or better yet, a LaCrosse, wouldn’t that be a blast.
Well, as of today, there’s no immediate plans that we’re aware of to produce the next fire breathing Buick but there are a couple new models on the horizon and one of them is the 2016 Buick Cascada.
As far as the design is concerned, it doesn’t necessarily break any new ground and it’s not going to command any unsolicited attention but still there’s something about the car that has us nodding in approval. It’s not any one thing but more like a lot of little things, first and foremost is the rakish profile and the distinctive body lines. Inside, the cabin appointments have been closely detailed and the Cascada’s interior feels alot like a cockpit with a cool instrument-panel layout that’s become common in today’s Buicks.
The Cascada is powered by a 1.6-liter turbocharged in-line four-cylinder engine and the 200 horsepower engine is far from the barnstormer we’d hoped for and even though Buick boasts that a special overboost mode will take the power output up slightly we were still largely unimpressed with the powertrain. The 6 speed automatic transmission has been the workhorse for most GM front wheel drive cars since 2008 and here in 2016 it continues to get the job done effectively.
The Watts Z-Link suspension is well tuned to the size and weight of the vehicle and ride quality and cornering are crisp and responsive. Overall we give Buick a ‘B+’ for effort but that grade could easily improve to an ‘A’ if the new 3.6 liter twin turbo were to be installed and believe it or not, this is one model we’d prefer the 6 speed manual transmission.
Buick has stood the test of time and with the exception of a handful of our most senior citizens, the brand has outlived all that were there during the opening ceremonies and chances are good the brand will continue on well into the future…we just hope some of those future models find themselves outfitted with horsepower ratings of 400 or beyond.
Until then, we’ll watch and wait.