Just when things were looking up for Opel in Germany at the end of the previous decade, the skies suddenly darkened and the company almost went bankrupt. Right then, Opel launched the new and beautiful Astra, a car similar to the Golf Volkswagen or a Vauxhall Insignia – and this was just what the company needed to get back on its feet.But then the 2008 economic crisis hit, and swept General Motors (Opel’s parent company) up into the eye of the storm. General Motors (GM) was facing bankruptcy and its new owners (the US government) had no interest in bailing it out so its European employees would have a place to go to work. And so GM began plans to sell Opel. The automobile manufacturer remained on the market for a long time and luckily, GM stabilized and became profitable more quickly than expected. As a result, GM’s plans to sell Opel were shelved.Now, Opel has completed its full 180-degree turnaround: GM decided to invest once again in Opel, and market it as its main brand in Europe. And in an effort to stop competing with itself by offering a number of options based on similar platforms, it decided to stop marketing Chevrolet in Europe.In this way, Opel is hoping to increase profits in Europe and Israel.The Cascada is one of Opel’s most unique models, which designers came up with during its difficult period.It is a convertible based on the Astra hatchback, but one that has been stretched. The Cascada isn’t just a compact car without a roof like the Renault Megane CC, the Golf Cabrio or the Opel Astra TwinTop, which was based on the previous-generation Astra. It’s a midsize convertible – which is very popular in Europe – that is extremely visually impressive.The body is sleek, the doors are long and the interior seems athletic and purposeful. The windshield slopes so steeply that they had to add another pair of side windows (which is common in minivans). Instead of a rigid roof, which was popular back in the late 1990s, the Cascada has a classic, quality soft canvas roof. The convertible automobile market in Israel is quite small, so none of the importers are expecting incredibly high sales, but the Cascada is not priced competitively enough; therefore, there’s not much chance that its popularity will rise significantly in the near future. Despite its stunning look, the Cascada’s NIS 300,000 price tag is not much lower than the price of an Audi TT Convertible.On the other hand, after I took the Cascada for a long drive on the open road, it was clear to me this was a quality car that gives its driver a feeling of luxury and confidence.I imagine Opel importers are happy with the small number of cars it sells, since just offering the Cascada has done wonders for Opel’s image.I must admit that my drive in the Cascada was the most enjoyable ride I’ve taken in a very long time. Opel did not, however, go the extra mile necessary to turn the car into a truly exciting vehicle. The Cascada was initially intended to be a Gran Turismo coupe, and not a convertible.This is very disappointing because at this price, and after all of the time and energy Opel invested in the design and positioning of the Cascada, I would have expected a more phenomenal experience. Translated by Hannah Hochner.