Here’s why we won’t touch the Cadillac Catera with a ten-foot pole

Cadillac may be one of the most well-known luxury automakers of today and yesterday, but that doesn’t absolve the automaker from producing some clunkers. One of Cadillac’s less favorable rides is the Catera. The Cadillac Catera was on the market from 1997 to 2001 before being discontinued by the car giant.


The Cadillac Catera is a midsize sedan with a friendlier price tag than many of the automaker’s cars. While still not cheap, the Catera was actually intended as a way for more people to buy from Cadillac. While this is a great business tactic, the car was not well received as it had several issues. There were performance issues with the car and some notable mechanical mishaps. Because of this, the car never achieved the widespread popularity that Cadillac hoped for. Instead, people consider it one of the worst Cadillacs ever. Unfortunately, so far second-hand cars go, the Catera is relatively inexpensive, so it may be tempting for some.

The Cadillac Catera had many problems during production. The car delivers less than stellar performance, cost buyers an arm and a leg in maintenance costs, and just wasn’t the most attractive Cadillac. Unfortunately, these issues are still there for the car, meaning we wouldn’t touch it with a ten-foot pole. Cadillac may be one of the most popular luxury car manufacturers, but the Catera isn’t one of the reasons why.


The Cadillac Catera engine has reasonable performance

Via Mercurysable90 (Wikimedia Commons)

While Cadillac isn’t always the fastest, people generally know Cadillac for its engines that deliver impressive performance. However, every car manufacturer has exceptions, and the Catera is one of those for Cadillac. The 1997 Cadillac Catera has a 3.0-liter V6 engine with a maximum output of 200 horsepower and 192 lb-ft of torque. This Cadillac luxury sedan is a rear-wheel drive vehicle with a four-speed automatic transmission. As for speed, the 1997 Cadillac Catera is fairly fast. The 3,770-lb sedan accelerates from 0 to 60 miles per hour in about 8.5 seconds.

By the end of production in 2001, the Catera delivered the same performance as on its debut. This continued level of fair performance is understandable given that the car only lasted one generation. Overall, the Cadillac Catera isn’t bad in this category, but it can’t match other vehicles in its class. Additionally, as we’ll mention later, some of the car’s mechanical issues have dampened the Cadillac Catera’s performance.

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The exterior of the Cadillac Catera is bland at best

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IFCAR (Wikimedia Commons

While not the main reason to buy a luxury sedan, the exterior of the car plays an important role in deciding whether to give a new ride a chance or not. Unfortunately, the Cadillac Catera falls seriously short in this area of ​​car development. While not an ugly car by any means, the short-lived Catera is incredibly boring and doesn’t make the same statement as other Cadillacs. In fact, this car looks almost nothing like a Cadillac, which is a shame because people know the automaker for its looks. The Catera just looks like an old sedan and has no identity of its own. One part of the car that seems to belong in the Cadillac stable of rides, however, is the front. It has the usual Cadillac front grille design, adding a bit of luxury to this drab car.

All in all, the exterior of the Cadillac Catera is nothing to write home about. While there are other reasons for this Cadillac option’s bad reputation, we think its largely uninspired design had something to do with its failure. It makes sense that the automaker wanted to market a car to those on a tighter budget, but that doesn’t mean the vehicle in question has to be completely boring. If you want a car with a bit of character that will turn heads, this isn’t the car for you.

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Cadillac Catera Common Problems

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CEFICEFI (Wikimedia Commons)

As with any car, the main reason we wouldn’t hit the Cadillac Catera with a ten-foot pole is that it has some mechanical issues. Not only are these issues inconvenient, but they can also be costly. The most reported problems with the Catera are related to leaks. These leaks are usually from the oil cooler, but leaks from the thermostat seal and water pump have also been reported. While leaks aren’t the worst mechanical problem, they can lead to problems if your fluid level gets too low. As mentioned earlier, the Cadillac Catera also has performance issues. These stem from a malfunction of the crankshaft position sensor. This causes cylinders to malfunction, which reduces the power of your engine’s performance. Overall, this is a ride best avoided.

The Cadillac Catera is a car that comes from a notable automaker but fails to live up to its lofty reputation. The exterior of the Catera is dull, the car has performance issues and overall it’s just a vehicle we’d steer clear of. Cadillac makes some pretty spectacular cars, but the Catera isn’t on that list.

Sources: RepairPal, CarFax

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