I used to own a decrepit 1968 Buick Skylark convertible. Though it was a rolling wreck, it reminded me of my childhood – driving with my father in his new Skylark, whizzing down the highway with the top down and the heater on.

So it was with great pleasure that I took the keys to a new 2016 Buick Cascada, the company’s first new two-door drop top in 25 years.

The Buick convertible is back!

Sort of. It’s not really a return to 1960s greatness, and it’s not exactly a Buick.

The Cascada, built by General Motors subsidiary Opel in Poland, is at first appearance a classic four-seat convertible. Stocky and snub-nosed – unlike a Camaro or a Mustang, with their bigger engines and longer hoods – it has a lot more body behind the doors than in front of them.

That means ample leg room in all four seats (the rear ones also fold down for storage) and a roomier cabin than in either the Chevy or the Ford. Though the trunk space has been cut back to make storage room for the convertible top, you could take the Cascada on an overnight trip and not have to send your luggage ahead by courier.

The interior appointments enable Buick to advertise the Cascada as a “luxury” car.

That means snug bucket seats, in heated leather, with dual-zone climate control and other niceties. The Premium model I drove also had 20-inch aluminum alloy wheels and premium metallic paint.

Powered by a four-cylinder, 1.6-liter, turbocharged engine, through a six-speed Hydra-Matic transmission, the Cascada is a smooth operator. It won’t exactly lay rubber, but it accelerates efficiently and comes up to freeway speed without complaining.

Once on the open road, the Cascada chugs happily along, passes confidently, and isn’t afraid of the fast lane. Around town, it can be slipped into “manual” mode and kept in a low gear while slogging through traffic or going up and down steep hills. Visibility through the rear convertible window isn’t great, but the dash features a backup camera. Being relatively small, it’s easy to park.

The handling is comfortable and fairly crisp, and the suspension is if anything a little on the stiff side. This is good in a convertible, which without the firmness of a hardtop can sometimes feel somewhat squashy. The old Skylarks were so sloppy you could mix a daiquiri in the back seat without a blender.

Buick has installed some safety features, like forward collision warning and lane departure alert, but unlike some German and Japanese competitors it won’t step in if you ignore these signals.

But the Cascada does come standard with articulating headlamps that seem to swivel when the steering wheel turns hard right or left – a feature I really appreciate – as well as other amenities like keyless entry and remote start.

It doesn’t offer a lot of options. Though Europeans can buy an Opel Cascada with a 1.4-liter gas engine or 2.0-liter diesel engine, U.S. consumers can’t. So, unlike the convertibles from Ford or Chevy, you can’t break open your piggy bank and, damn the environment, buy a big gas-guzzling V8.

Also, the Cascada sold here comes in only two trim levels – the 1SV and the Premium – and six color options. As with Henry Ford’s Model T, you can have the convertible top in any color you like – as long as the color you like is black.

But it’s a great convertible top. Able to be raised or lowered with a single button, even while the car is in motion below 31 miles per hour, it disappears quietly into a tonneau cover, with no bunched-up fabric spoiling the crisp Cascada lines.

I realize that in this highly technical age watching a convertible top drop down so seamlessly is like going down to the barbershop to watch a haircut. But I still love seeing it done this well.

Not everything about the Cascada is as satisfying. Despite the insulation Buick has put into the fabric top, this is a loud ride. Conversation with passengers in the back seat is strained when the top is up, and impossible when the top is down. (This may be a plus for some families.)

Also, if you don’t install the plastic “air deflector” behind the back seat, which cuts some of the breeze blowing through the cabin, your passengers may wind up with some seriously big hair. (Again, this may be a plus for some people.)

Is the Cascada a little pricey? Considerably more expensive than the entry-level Camaros or Mustangs, this Buick at around $36,000 will be competing with cars such as the Audi A3, BMW 3 Series, Lexus ES350, and Mercedes Benz C-class and S-class cabriolets.

Buick operatives say dealers were flooded with interest when the Cascada was first announced, and received preorders seven times greater than their production numbers. Since the first of these cars were delivered to new owners in January, it’s a little too soon to tell whether it will be a hot seller.

But it’s probably not too soon to know whether the Cascada presages a cascade of other, bigger convertibles. It doesn’t.

America’s highways used to heave with large four-door rag tops. But times change.

Turning some of today’s bigger sedans into convertibles would mean chopping the tops. That destabilizes the ride. Firming it back up would require stiffening the body and chassis. That adds weight, which demands bigger motors. Bigger motors burn more fuel, so … no more fuel economy.

For now, I’m happy to welcome the Cascada. It’s no ’68 Skylark, but at night, with the top down and the heater on, it’ll do just fine.

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