Opel keeps calling its drop-top Cascada a mid-size convertible, even though we all know that the car is built on the otherwise compact Delta vehicle architecture shared with the Opel Astra and Chevy Cruze, among others. But lest we get accused of splitting hairs, let’s imagine — if only for a few minutes — that the Cascada may be a mid-sizer. If that’s the case, then it’s the first time in 70 years that Opel will have developed and produced a mid-size convertible on its own, and in its own facilities.
Fact is, most of Opel’s larger-than-compact (read: midsize) convertibles were not designed, engineered, or built by the German automaker itself, but were instead converted and sold in limited numbers by specialized German coachbuilders such as Autenrieth and Karl Deutsch. You see, the practice of outsourcing convertible production (read: “conversions”) was business as usual decades ago — think Opel Kapitän and Rekord from the fifties and sixties, respectively. More recently, the Kadett E Cabrio and two Astra Cabrio generations were produced outside of Opel by Italian coachbuilder Carozzeria Bertone.
The most immediate predecessor to the Cascada was the Opel-built Astra TwinTop (but Opel considered it a compact); the TwinTop was itself preceded by Opel’s popular compact drop-top offerings of the 70s and 80s such as the affordable Kadett.
So, the Cascada is all GM-Opel in design, engineering, and manufacturing — marking a first for the brand when it comes to mid-size convertibles… that is if you still believe that Cascada is mid-size — even though some would say it’s really an Astra with a soft top and a slightly longer wheelbase than the traditional Astra.
The GM Authority Take
Here’s what we think about all this: for starters, it’s important for any automaker that takes itself seriously to have the resources and the know-how to design and build its own convertible — whether it be a hard- or soft-top. In that regard, Opel delivers with the Cascada. But we’re still puzzled by how a vehicle riding on the architecture shared with compact vehicles all of a sudden becomes a mid-size offering… but we digress.