1997 Cadillac Catera from North America


Handyman Special


Wheels permanently out of alignment.

Excessive tire wear (I get a flat about once every 2 months)

Bad ignition switch.

Heater blower never turns off, have to pull the fuse out every time I turn off the car, otherwise bye-bye battery.

Warped Rotors.

Loose trunk hinge.

Struts are almost destroyed.

Oil pressure, battery, and coolant gauges have all failed.

Radiator/coolant line touches the battery! Had to install heat shielding after the heat killed a brand new battery.

General Comments:

The Catera is essentially a run of the mill, no frills car built and meant for German consumers IN Germany, not America! GM did virtually nothing to modify it to US usage, except cramming in as much electronics and trinkets as they could to sell it off as a "luxury car". It's as if someone took a Ford Escort and tried to pretty it up to pawn off as BMW 3 series.

This car has constantly failed me. I have had to pull off the highway literally at least 8 times to change blown out tires due to an unfixable flaw with the wheel alignment. I've had the wheels aligned twice, but they go back to the original German Autobahn settings, which are not compatible in the US.

The struts are nearly at their end due to normal driving in the Midwest, I don't live in the mountains, I don't off-road, there is no excuse for this at all.

I would only recommend this car to a masochist, err.. I mean mechanic who has a lot of time and enjoys problem solving. This car handles terrible in the snow, it is simply NOT SAFE. I would never drive children in this car. I'm getting rid of it, Thank God, for a Dodge Neon. That should say a lot, what other "luxury" car would anyone gleefully sell to buy a Neon?

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 19th February, 2007

19th Feb 2007, 19:03

Dodge Neon? That's what we call out of the frying pan and into the fire.

25th Feb 2007, 22:39

I have a 97 catara and my inside dash lights stopped working?? does anyone have the same problem? and the oil light comes on after about 20 minutes. how can I fix the dash lights?

1997 Cadillac Catera from North America


Very expensive to have work done


Car at dealership now, freezes in park, if I manually flip switch under the leather gear shift (yellow) it will come out of park and run fine. Dealership says could be huge problems, also in for new air compressor on ac. Anyone have this problem? thanks.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 9th September, 2006

10th Sep 2006, 06:27

Move along, folks... nothing useful to read here about the Catera...

1997 Cadillac Catera from North America


Its the biggest embarrasment GM has ever created


Front and back brakes, including calipers, rotors, pads, even wheel nuts.

No heat out of heater.

TC/ABS non functional.

Heated seats non functional.

Bearings used with the serpentine belt gone.

Low rad sensor dead.

Rad was cooked.

Right rear door does not open.

Glove box door stays open.

Car shakes at 50-60 km.

Need I go on?

General Comments:

I purchased the car from a ford dealership who was eager to lower the price for a quick sale. I found out why after a short time. What a lemon these cars are. I will have to say that they handle well for the most part. Extremely expensive for brakes. Had the brakes, calipers and rotors done on the front as well as the rad. The bill came to $4100.00. Not impressed. GM service manager whispered in my ear. Get rid of this thing asap, they are all lemons.

Its for sale as we speak. Will probably take a $9000 cut on it in 2 years.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 5th March, 2006

6th Mar 2006, 04:05

No. The biggest embarrassment GM has ever created, was some lethal POS, they created in the 1960's, called the Chevrolet Corvair.

6th Mar 2006, 08:04

Not that the owner needs any more punishment, but this is a perfect example of not doing ANY research before purchasing a car. It's no secret that this model and year had significant problems.

A five-minute search of the reliability of the 1997 Catera reveals all the info you need to stay away from it.

You may have an excuse if you bought it new, but this owner bought it in 2004. Caveat emptor.

6th Mar 2006, 19:33

Regardless of its talents, the Cadillac Catera is an extremely bitter lemon.

Oddly enough, they (Opel/Vauxhall Omega) are regarded as Reliable cars in Europe, where they are highly used as Police cars and Taxis.

But then, the Mercury Grand Marquis is a POS and yet, it s constantly used as Police cruiser and Taxi cab.

Oh well... I guess the Catera it is indeed a car to be avoided at all costs.

BTW: I Agree with the second comment about the Corvair. And I must add, the horrendous Chevrolet Vega from 1972.

7th Mar 2006, 16:12

Previous comment, a Grand Marquis will handle 240,000+ miles in New York City as a cab in 3 years, what kind of car do you have?

1st Mar 2009, 12:27

Hah! You obviously forgot the Cimarron. That was the most embarrassing heap of junk GM ever made.

29th Oct 2009, 17:46

I think the Pontiac Fiero tops them all off.