As far as Meh Cars go, you’d think the Buick Cascada would be pretty safe from inclusion into this miserable fraternity, at least on paper. It’s a convertible, a rare four-seat convertible, even! It’s supposed to be fun, it has weird extra taillights in the trunk—this thing should be meh-proof, right? Well, it’s not. It’s not at all. No, the Buick Cascada is a testimony to the true power of Meh, and how it can sometimes overcome all odds to really make a car no one gives a shit about.
The Buick Cascada is a re-badged Opel Cascada, but that doesn’t really help matters. If you’re hoping the Opel name and brand cachet are going to pull you out of the morass of meh, then I’m afraid you may as well just move into the morass.
The Cascada really baffles me. I should like this thing more, right? I mean, it’s not like the American market is so flooded with four-seat convertibles that I can start flinging them into the depths of meh, william-nilliam, right? I want to like this thing, but whenever I’m confronted with it, I just...can’t.
There’s something about the overall design and character of the Cascada that somehow manages to crush any chances the car has of being really enjoyable. It’s bulky, for one thing, and looks stiff and awkward, like when you pick up a bulldog by its midsection and watch its stiff little legs kick around uselessly.
It’s heavy and the interior is plasticky in the worst, way, a crowded mass of textured lumps and tumors all encrusted with a plague of innumerable black rectangular buttons. Here, look:
I’ve even written about how, if you’re short, like the spokesperson Buick hired to advertise the car was, it’s really terrible, since it’s like being stuck sitting in the bottom of a high-sided bathtub.
It’s not really engaging to drive, it’s got looks that you can only remember with the help of a professional police sketch artist, and it’s just a heavy, joyless, cynical take on a convertible, something that feels like the original designers were ordered to turn some old Opel platform into a convertible as part of some after-work detention program.
I’m not really sure who Buick was hoping to sell these too, and, based on their advertising, it looks like it’s the same core Buick demographic of reasonably well-to-do some-kind-of-office-job people that cause coffee trends to happen and who you always refer to by the wrong name when you see them because you never cared enough to really learn their names.
Here’s what Buick thinks those people are like:
Ugh, that ad. Sure, the athleticism of that bouquet-catching woman is fun to watch, but watching all those people repeat that catchphrase feels like every time you’ve been embarrassed for someone while watching a terrible sitcom.
On top of all that, there’s Buick’s strange idea that their self-own of people not being able to get it through their heads that a given and allegedly non-terrible car is a Buick is somehow a good marketing idea.
Buick is really into the idea that their cars somehow don’t look like their cars. They even shot a whole other commercial at the same time as that one up there to really drive the point home that nobody knows what the fuck a Buick is:
Congratulations, I guess, Buick? You’ve convinced me. Your cars are so incredibly anonymous nobody can even be bothered to look at the badge to know which cars you make. Take my money?
Seriously, what the hell is going on over at Buick that all they seem willing to talk about is how nobody knows what their cars are?
It’s just getting a little weird, Buick. Stop being so freaking passive and just own it. You make cars. People are capable of identifying those cars. You’ve got to get over this.
Even the name Cascada just reeks of focus groups and “inspiration boards” with pictures of waterfalls and packets of dishwasher detergent pinned to them.
So, yeah, there you have it: Buick managed to take a type of car that should be, at the very least, fun—a four-seat, modern convertible—and somehow managed to distill down the very essence of rental cars and office parks and being stuck waiting in a Staples for 45 minutes and injected that beige, tedious essense right into the Cascada, right in the place where a car’s soul would normally reside.
Bang up job, fellas.