2019 Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet vs. 2019 Buick Cascada

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The E-Class Cabriolet’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Cascada doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The E-Class Cabriolet has standard front and rear seat side-impact airbags and head airbags, which act as a forgiving barrier between the passengers and the door. Combined with high-strength steel door beams this system increases protection from broadside collisions. The Cascada doesn't offer rear-seat side-impact airbags, only ones for front seat occupants.

The E-Class Cabriolet has a standard Active Brake Assist, which uses forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The Cascada has a collision warning system without the crash-mitigating brake feature that could reduce stopping distances.

The E-Class Cabriolet offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Cascada doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

The E-Class Cabriolet offers an optional Surround View System to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Cascada only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

The E-Class Cabriolet’s optional blind spot warning system uses digital cameras monitored by computer to alert the driver to moving objects in the vehicle’s blind spots where the side view mirrors don’t reveal them and moves the vehicle back into its lane. The Cascada doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.

To help make backing safer, the E-Class Cabriolet’s optional cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The Cascada doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

The E-Class Cabriolet’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Cascada doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the E-Class Cabriolet and the Cascada have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front and rear seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras and available lane departure warning systems.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Mercedes vehicles are better in initial quality than Buick vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 14th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 3 more problems per 100 vehicles, Buick is ranked 16th, below the industry average.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Mercedes vehicles are more reliable than Buick vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Mercedes 2 places higher in reliability than Buick.

Engine

The E 450 Cabriolet’s standard 3.0 turbo V6 produces 162 more horsepower (362 vs. 200) and 148 lbs.-ft. more torque (369 vs. 221) than the Cascada’s 1.6 turbo 4 cyl. The AMG E 53 Cabriolet’s standard 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. hybrid produces 229 more horsepower (429 vs. 200) and 163 lbs.-ft. more torque (384 vs. 221) than the Cascada’s 1.6 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the E-Class Cabriolet’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Cascada doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The E-Class Cabriolet has 3.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the Cascada (17.4 vs. 14.3 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission and Drivetrain

A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Cascada.

All wheel drive, available in the E-Class Cabriolet, provides the best traction for acceleration in wet, dry, and icy conditions. In corners, all wheel drive allows both outside wheels to provide power, balancing the car. This allows for better handling. The Buick Cascada is not available with all wheel drive.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the E-Class Cabriolet’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Cascada:

 

E 450

AMG E 53

Cascada

Front Rotors

14.2 inches

14.6 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

14.2 inches

14.2 inches

11.5 inches

The E-Class Cabriolet’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Cascada are solid, not vented.

Tires and Wheels

The E-Class Cabriolet’s optional 245/35R20 front and 275/30R20 rear tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series front and 30 series rear profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Cascada’s 40 series tires.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires available on the E-Class Cabriolet can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The Cascada doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

For superior ride and handling, the Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Buick Cascada has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

The E-Class Cabriolet has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the E-Class Cabriolet flat and controlled during cornering. The Cascada’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

The E-Class Cabriolet offers an available driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The Cascada’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The E-Class Cabriolet has a standard automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The E-Class Cabriolet’s height leveling suspension allows the driver to raise ride height for better off-road clearance and then lower it again for easier entering and exiting and better on-road handling. The Cascada doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

The E-Class Cabriolet’s drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The Cascada doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the E-Class Cabriolet’s wheelbase is 7 inches longer than on the Cascada (113.1 inches vs. 106.1 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the E-Class Cabriolet is 1.2 inches wider in the front and .6 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Cascada.

For better maneuverability, the E-Class Cabriolet’s turning circle is 1.2 feet tighter than the Cascada’s (37.5 feet vs. 38.7 feet).

Passenger Space

The E-Class Cabriolet has 2.9 inches more front headroom, 1.5 inches more front shoulder room, .3 inches more rear headroom, 1.3 inches more rear legroom and 2.6 inches more rear shoulder room than the Cascada.

Cargo Capacity

With its convertible body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the E-Class offers cargo security. The Cascada’s non-lockable remote release defeats cargo security.

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the E-Class Cabriolet. The Cascada doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the E-Class Cabriolet’s power trunk can be opened or closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Cascada doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening trunk.

Servicing Ease

The E-Class Cabriolet uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Cascada uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

The engine in the E-Class Cabriolet is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Cascada. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because the accessory belts are in front.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Mercedes service is better than Buick. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 6th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 18% lower rating, Buick is ranked 9th.

Ergonomics

When three different drivers share the E-Class Cabriolet, the memory system makes it convenient for all three. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver and front passenger’s seat positions, steering wheel position and outside mirror angle. The Cascada doesn’t offer a memory system.

The E-Class Cabriolet’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Cascada doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The E-Class Cabriolet offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and navigation instruction readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Cascada doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The E-Class Cabriolet’s standard power windows have a locking feature to keep children in the rear seat from operating them. Buick does not offer a locking feature on the Cascada’s standard power windows.

Keyless-Start standard on the E-Class Cabriolet allows you to start the engine without removing a key from pocket or purse. The Buick Cascada doesn’t offer an advanced key system.

The E-Class Cabriolet’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Cascada’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the E-Class Cabriolet detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Cascada doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

When the E-Class Cabriolet is put in reverse, the passenger rearview mirror tilts from its original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirror into its original position. The Cascada’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

The E-Class Cabriolet has standard automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Cascada has an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the E-Class Cabriolet keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Cascada doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

Both the E-Class Cabriolet and the Cascada offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the E-Class Cabriolet has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Cascada doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

A built-in pollen filter removes pollen, exhaust fumes and other pollutants from the E-Class Cabriolet’s passenger compartment. This helps prevent lung and/or sinus irritation, which can trigger allergies or asthma. The Cascada doesn’t offer a filtration system.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the E-Class Cabriolet offers an optional Distronic Plus, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The Cascada doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

The E-Class Cabriolet’s optional Active Parking Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Cascada doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

The Mercedes E-Class comes in coupe, convertible, sedan and station wagon bodystyles; the Buick Cascada isn’t available as a coupe, sedan or station wagon.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the E-Class Cabriolet owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the E-Class Cabriolet with a number “5” insurance rate while the Cascada is rated higher at a number “10” rate.

The E-Class Cabriolet will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the E-Class Cabriolet will retain 44.54% to 45.17% of its original price after five years, while the Cascada only retains 35.55% to 35.99%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the E-Class Cabriolet is less expensive to operate than the Cascada because it costs $234 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost less on the E-Class Cabriolet than the Cascada, including $86 less for front brake pads and $1 less for front struts.

Recommendations

The E-Class was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” in 2018. The Cascada has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

The Mercedes E-Class outsold the Buick Cascada by over 10 to one during the 2018 model year.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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