Car group tests

Audi A3 Cabriolet vs Vauxhall Cascada

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 SportVauxhall 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/cost23/£291/C/£3021/£317/F/£145
Cost of 1st/2nd/3rd service£399 (3yrs/30k)£190/£240/£190
   
Length/wheelbase4,421/2,595mm4,696/2,695mm
Height/width1,409/1,793mm1,443/1,839mm
Engine4cyl in-line/1,395cc4cyl in-line/1,364cc
Peak power138/5,000 bhp/rpm138/4,900 bhp/rpm
Peak torque250/1,500 Nm/rpm200/1,850 Nm/rpm
Transmission6spd man/fwd6spd man/fwd
Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel50 litres/space saver56 litres/repair kit
Boot capacity (seats up/down)320/678 litres380/750 litres
Kerbweight/payload/towing weight1,365/500/1,700kg1,626/484/1,250kg
Roof up/down (incl. windows)21/24 seconds15/22 seconds
Turning circle/drag coefficient10.9 metres/0.30Cd11.8 metres/N/A
Basic warranty (miles)/recovery3yrs (60,000)/3yrs3yrs (60,000)/1yr
Service intervals/UK dealersVariable/1220k miles (1yr)/404
Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.10th/23rd26th/18th
Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./stars95/87/74/5 (A3 hatch)N/A
   
0-60/30-70mph9.4/9.2 secs10.6/10.1 secs
30-50mph in 3rd/4th4.3/5.8 secs5.1/7.7 secs
50-70mph in 5th/6th8.3/9.8 secs10.0/12.3 secs
Top speed/rpm at 70mph135mph/2,400rpm129mph/2,600rpm
Braking 70-0/60-0/30-0mph48.5/34.3/9.5m50.4/37.6/8.8m
Noise levels outside/idle/30/70mph60/40/63/71dB62/44/64/71dB
Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range32.1/7.1/353 miles33.8/7.4/416 miles
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined46.3/65.7/56.5mpg36.2/52.3/44.8mpg
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined10.2/14.5/12.4mpl8.0/11.5/9.9mpl
Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket203/114g/km/14%193/148g/km/21%
   
Airbags/Isofix/park sensors/cameraFive/yes/£345/£275Four/yes/yes/£240
Auto gearbox/stability/cruise controlNo/yes/£225No/yes/yes
Climate control/leather/heated seatsYes/£1,115/£260Yes/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

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