Audi A3 Cabriolet vs Vauxhall Cascada

8 Apr, 2014 12:28pm

Spring has finally sprung, and the Audi A3 Cabriolet is here to catch the sun. Can it beat the Vauxhall Cascada?

The UK is emerging from one of the wettest winters ever, so what better way to celebrate the arrival of spring than to get behind the wheel of a new convertible? Just in time for the top-down season, Audi has launched its new A3 Cabriolet.

As with the A3 hatch, the convertible is bigger than the car it replaces. This means more passenger space and added practicality, while a range of efficient petrol and diesel engines offers frugal open-air thrills.

Audi A3 Cabriolet review

Vauxhall Cascada review

Facing up to the A3 is the Vauxhall Cascada. We try 1.4-litre petrol turbo versions of both, with the A3 in mid-spec Sport trim and the Cascada in flagship Elite spec. The Vauxhall has more kit and a £340 price advantage, but the A3 claims stronger performance and economy. So which is better for having fun in the sun?

Click on the links above to read each review and then read on for our full verdict.

Head-to-head

Folding roof

Audi-A3-Cabriolet-vs-Vauxhall-Cascada-static

Both cars feature fabric tops that can be operated at speeds of up to 30mph, but the Vauxhall has an advantage as its roof is faster to open and close.

When fixed in place, the Audi’s standard-fit three-layer acoustic hood doesn’t let in as much noise as the Cascada’s standard fabric top. However, our Vauxhall came with the £300 optional acoustic roof, which does just as good a job at reducing noise.

Options

There are a few more options available on the A3 Cabriolet than the Cascada, with kit such as LED lights, Alcantara seats, magnetic ride dampers, self parking and head-level heating all on offer. But what’s frustrating is that the wind deflector is a £290 option – this should be standard on all cabrios.

On the road

Audi-A3-Cabriolet-vs-Vauxhall-Cascada-rear

Both cars are more suited to cruising than hard cornering, but the Audi has an edge over the Vauxhall because it’s smoother and more comfortable on the road. Its torquier engine means it’s better for overtaking, too.

Verdict

1st place: Audi A3 Cabriolet

Audi-A3-Cabriolet-vs-Vauxhall-Cascada-static

It’s more expensive than the Cascada, but the A3 Cabriolet is well worth the extra outlay. It’s more comfortable, has better performance and feels like a classy product with the roof up or down. We just wish stingy Audi would at least chuck in a free wind deflector.

2nd place: Vauxhall Cascada

Vauxhall-Cascada-2014-static

The long kit list makes the Cascada an attractive proposition, as do the soft ride and strong refinement. And while it’s not as classy as the Audi, the Vauxhall’s cabin still has a quality feel. The car’s just let down by a breathless engine and steep running costs.

Figures

Audi A3 Cabriolet 1.4 TFSI Sport Vauxhall Cascada 1.4T Elite
On-the-road price/total as tested £27,015/£32,065 £26,675/£26,675
Residual value (after 3yrs/30,000) £13,751/50.9% £11,201/42.0%
Depreciation £13,264 £15,474
Annual tax liability std/higher rate £809/£1,618 £1,165/£2,330
Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles) £2,199/£3,665 £2,088/£3,481
Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost 23/£291/C/£30 21/£317/F/£145
Cost of 1st/2nd/3rd service £399 (3yrs/30k) £190/£240/£190
Length/wheelbase 4,421/2,595mm 4,696/2,695mm
Height/width 1,409/1,793mm 1,443/1,839mm
Engine 4cyl in-line/1,395cc 4cyl in-line/1,364cc
Peak power 138/5,000 bhp/rpm 138/4,900 bhp/rpm
Peak torque 250/1,500 Nm/rpm 200/1,850 Nm/rpm
Transmission 6spd man/fwd 6spd man/fwd
Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel 50 litres/space saver 56 litres/repair kit
Boot capacity (seats up/down) 320/678 litres 380/750 litres
Kerbweight/payload/towing weight 1,365/500/1,700kg 1,626/484/1,250kg
Roof up/down (incl. windows) 21/24 seconds 15/22 seconds
Turning circle/drag coefficient 10.9 metres/0.30Cd 11.8 metres/N/A
Basic warranty (miles)/recovery 3yrs (60,000)/3yrs 3yrs (60,000)/1yr
Service intervals/UK dealers Variable/12 20k miles (1yr)/404
Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos. 10th/23rd 26th/18th
Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./stars 95/87/74/5 (A3 hatch) N/A
0-60/30-70mph 9.4/9.2 secs 10.6/10.1 secs
30-50mph in 3rd/4th 4.3/5.8 secs 5.1/7.7 secs
50-70mph in 5th/6th 8.3/9.8 secs 10.0/12.3 secs
Top speed/rpm at 70mph 135mph/2,400rpm 129mph/2,600rpm
Braking 70-0/60-0/30-0mph 48.5/34.3/9.5m 50.4/37.6/8.8m
Noise levels outside/idle/30/70mph 60/40/63/71dB 62/44/64/71dB
Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range 32.1/7.1/353 miles 33.8/7.4/416 miles
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined 46.3/65.7/56.5mpg 36.2/52.3/44.8mpg
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined 10.2/14.5/12.4mpl 8.0/11.5/9.9mpl
Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket 203/114g/km/14% 193/148g/km/21%
Airbags/Isofix/park sensors/camera Five/yes/£345/£275 Four/yes/yes/£240
Auto gearbox/stability/cruise control No/yes/£225 No/yes/yes
Climate control/leather/heated seats Yes/£1,115/£260 Yes/yes/yes
Met. paint/xenons/wind deflector £525/£1,100/£290 £525/£790/yes
Sat-nav/USB/DAB radio/Bluetooth £495/yes/yes/yes £855/yes/yes/yes

Disqus - noscript

i thought the Cascada was purposely developed to not just be a c-segment convertible (like the A3) and be more of a d-segment convertible, with the specific aim of taking on the A5 as opposed to the A3?

You say the Cascada has steep running costs yet you averaged worse mpg in the A3? Plus the top spec Cascada is also cheaper than a mid trim A3! I'd rather go for the cheaper SRi trim and have the 1.6 Turbo instead.

I must say having seen quite a few on the road the Cascada is a very pretty looking car, not in that colour used here though...

So the Vauxhall is bigger, cheaper, better equipped but because its slower and less 'classy' it comes behind the more expensive and much less specced Audi. Good result.

Im assuming you need you legs chopping off to fit in the back of the Audi as well unlike I'm guessing the Cascada (rubbish name mind)

Then throw in the fact as a new car the unlimited warranty etc.

Exactly. How many times are they going to get this sort of basic comparison matching wrong? Taxi for the road test team.....

You're both right, of course, the Cascada is a larger vehicle than the A3, but it remains a valid comparison, based on pricing. Anyone who is looking as a Cascada is likely to also look at the A3/Golf Cabriolet as an alternative, since they are priced at a similar level. GM is hoping the larger size of the Cascada will win them over.

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