10 Times Cadillac Made Downright Disappointing Cars

Cadillac has always been an integral part of the American auto industry. a subsidiary of General engines, the Cadillac brand is over a century old. Over the course of their 120-year history, Cadillac has given the industry some extremely memorable cars.

Cars such as the Cadillac Eldorado, the Coupe DeVille, the Escalade and the sleeper CTS-V have truly earned their place in the car hall of fame. However, it’s impossible that a company as old as Cadillac hasn’t had problems. After all, every brand that’s been around for over a century is sure to have some skeletons buried there that they don’t want you to remember.

There’s no denying that Cadillac has certainly come up with more good cars than bad cars, but when you’re such a big name in the industry, the bad ones really tend to be that much more. Even the greats are wrong, and here are ten examples of when Cadillac produced cars that were downright disappointing.

RELATED: Here’s Where Donnie Brasco’s Cadillac DeVille Is Today

10/10 2013-2016 Cadillac ELR

The 2014 Cadillac ELR Design
via Cadillac

Although we are now fully in the era of electrification, with the gas engine soon to be a thing of the past, ten years ago people weren’t too happy with EVs. The Cadillac ELR, all the way back in 2013, was Caddy’s first EV.

Side view of 2014 Cadillac ELR
via Cadillac

Unfortunately, at a base price of $75,000, the ELR’s price tag was nothing short of shocking, and the brand’s loyal customer base never came forward to buy the ELR. Cadillac ended up selling only 3,000 copies of the ELR, showing how badly they had priced their car.

9/10 2000-2005 Cadillac DeVille

2005 Cadillac DeVille
via ConceptCarz

The DeVille nameplate is truly a special one in Cadillac history. Unfortunately, the eighth generation of the Cadillac DeVille, which started around the turn of the century, was just a huge miss for the brand.

2005 Cadillac DeVille
via Wikimedia Commons

The problem was the engine, a 4.6-liter Northstar V8, which had never been one of GM’s good engines. Not only was the eighth-generation DeVille engine an oil guzzler, many of the units came with the power mill not even properly attached. In addition, the DeVille was limited to a FWD drivetrain, which also made the unreliable V8 no fun to drive.

8/10 1981-1984 Cadillac Fleetwood V8-6-4

1981 Cadillac Fleetwood V8-6-4
via Old Motors

Arguably one of the worst engines ever made, Cadillac’s V8-6-4 engine is exactly what it sounds like. Cadillac already had the bright idea for a variable displacement in their cars in 1980, but the execution was downright bad. Designed to shut down two or four cylinders depending on usage needs, the sensors in the car could never keep up with what was happening in the engine.

1981 Cadillac V8-6-4
via Curbside Classic

This meant that Cadillac’s V8-6-4 cars only had too much or too little fuel in the engine, because the fuel injection system never knew what was really going on. Sure, Cadillac shut down the engine just a year later, but it was definitely a drive system that should never have left the assembly line in the condition it did.

7/10 1987-1993 Cadillac Allante

1987-89 Cadillac Allante
Via MecumAuctions

The Cadillac Allante was a rather expensive design from the American brand, with a ridiculous design. This was because it was Italy-based Pininfarina who designed the Allante. Cadillac Allante models were shipped to Detroit from Italy to fill the lineup, and it was never a good idea.

Via MecumAuctions

This was Caddy’s attempt to compete with Mercedes-Benz, but the V8 engine options failed to impress customers. The price tag was the biggest deterrent, as the base price for the Allante in 1987 was an insane $54,000. Of course, the Allante only managed to sell 21,000 units during its entire seven-year run.

RELATED: A Closer Look at the ‘Color of Money’ Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham

6/10 1997-2001 Cadillac Catera

3/4 front view of a silver Catera in the sunset

The Cadillac Catera came after the disastrous Cimarron, but more on that later. For the Catera, Cadillac decided it was better to team up with Germans than to fight them. For example, the transmission for the Catera was French and the V6 engine was British.

1997 Cadillac Catera: Car of the Year
Via: Flickr

The German manufacturer Opel made all other parts of the Catera. Sadly, but unsurprisingly, too many cooks have ruined Caddy’s broth, and the underpowered engine failed to impress, along with the automatic transmission in sleep mode. The Catera proved to be another dud in Cadillac history.

5/10 1980-1985 Cadillac Seville

1980 Cadillac Seville
Via Mecum Auctions

The first-generation Cadillac Seville, despite its odd design, was quite decent. The ’76-’79 Seville sold well, but in the second generation, GM absolutely missed the mark.

1980 Cadillac Seville rear
via Flickr

Unfortunately, GM came up with the bright idea of ​​equipping the second-generation Cadillac Seville with the disastrous V8-6-4 engine, and the results were just what one can imagine. The Sevilla was never the choice for youngsters, but rather older customers who wanted a comfortable commuter, and the V8-6-4 engine made it quite the opposite.

RELATED: Find Out If This 4×4 Cadillac Seville Will Survive a Truck Pulling Contest

4/10 2004-2009 Cadillac XLR


The Cadillac XLR was the brand’s attempt at making a Chevy Corvette, something they should never have attempted in the first place. The XLR was everything the Corvette never was – big and slow.

2004 Cadillac XLR-V
Mecum Auctions

Cadillac’s usual price issues also plagued the XLR, as the top trim sold for $111,000. For such a huge price, customers expected a blazing-fast car, at least one as fast as the ‘Vette. Unfortunately, the luxury aspects were all the XLR managed to do, but it was never fast or impressive enough for its price, and enthusiasts turned a blind eye to the Cadillac XLR.

3/10 2009-2013 Cadillac Escalade EXT

2013 Cadillac Escalade EXT 2 Cropped
Via mecum.com

Cadillac had the bright idea to turn their best-selling SUV, the Escalade, into a pickup truck. The philosophy behind the Escalade EXT was that it would function as a pickup when needed, but mostly remain an SUV.

2004 Cadillac Escalade EXT Pickup Truck
Via: Mecum

Of course, no Escalade owner wanted to get caught dead in the Escalade EXT, and no one who even remotely liked pickup trucks ever loved the EXT. As always, the Escalade EXT was priced too high for a pickup, and the engine remained sluggish in response with an equally impressive drivetrain.

RELATED: Here Are the Best and Worst Pickups Ever Made

2/10 2004-2016 Cadillac SRX

Cadillac SRX
Via Wikimedia Commons.com

The Cadillac SRX was a fairly successful car for the brand. A mid-sized luxury crossover SUV always finds enthusiasts, and people loved the SRX. Unfortunately, when the time came for the SRX to move to the 2010 second generation, they built the most trouble-free Caddy ever.

2016 Cadillac SRX--car and driver
Via: Cadillac

The 2.8-liter V6 in the 2010 SRX was prone to failure if it had regular fuel rather than premium and the driver decided to push the vehicle. Engine damage under any circumstances is never pretty, and Cadillac had to recall half a thousand units. The following year, Cadillac removed the engine for a better worn one. Of course, things went bad again in 2013, where the SRX had tons of interior accessories and an unreliable engine.

1/10 1982-1988 Cadillac Cimarron

1985 Cadillac Cimarron
Via Hagerty

There is no doubt that the Cadillac Cimarron is without a doubt the worst car to ever come off the brand’s assembly line. It was no secret that the Cadillac Cimarron was nothing but a Chevy Cavalier with a new badge. While the Cavalier was a mediocre car, the Cimarron took it all and made it worse. It didn’t help that it was also very unpleasant for the eyes.

Cadillac Cimarron
via wheels.ca

The Cimarron was Cadillac’s attempt to compete with smaller, more premium German rivals, but it was held back by its lackluster four-cylinder engine that sent power to the front wheels only. It also cost a lot more than the Cavalier, and the terrible engine only delivered a devastatingly low power of 88 horsepower. This was an embarrassing moment for Cadillac, and although the Cimarron was discontinued right after the end of its first generation, it was six years too late.

Leave a Comment