1997 Cadillac Catera 3.0L 24-valve DOHC from North America


An outstanding low-cost high-performance car with a not-so-good reputation


Alignment adjustment at 67500 (40 bucks).

Rear driver's side window doesn't operate (motor still works, chain might be loose or broken -- getting manuals in the mail to check on this).

Read defrost button doesn't seem to work (again will check it out when I get the service manuals).

Service manuals cost me 41 bucks brand new for the set of 3.

General Comments:

Despite what others are saying about the Catera, mine seems to operate great. Maybe I just got lucky? I don't think so.

I've done a lot of research on the car, and the most problematic years are 1997-98.

The car had revisions done for 99-01 and they're apparently pretty much flawless.

Even so, my 1997 (though I've only had it for a few months) seems outstanding. All the issues I've had so far are typical of buying a used car on an impulse (got it at a car auction). Previous owner took great care of it (except some interior wear and tear, but hardly any).

Very strong engine and quick take off. Sport mode from first to 3rd will yield about a 6 second 0-60.

Unfortunately, not a very good aftermarket car -- I can't find much beyond a high flow air filter to beef this baby up. Anything I do find will be for the Opel Omega B, the german counterpart of the Catera (thus, expensive!)

Interior could be better, some cheap components, but these things don't affect the performance of the car :) Most of these little things are fixed in the 99-2001 models.

Gas mileage is much better than expected for this kind of a car. It really does zig, but doesn't drain the wallet.

Basic point is, know how to treat a car, and you won't have problems. I call foul on most of these negative comments -- people are either scared or just don't know how to maintain any kind of car. Don't be intimidated by nay-sayer incompetant car owners. Get a 99-01 if you're not confident--but don't miss this car, it is a load of fun for the price you can pick one up for now.

As with ANY used car purchase MAKE SURE the previous owner took care of it! Or their problems will become yours. This stands for *ANY* car, not just the Catera.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th November, 2005

5th Nov 2005, 08:06

As a current 1997 Catera owner I could not agree more, This car has gotten such a bad rep that its not even fair. As for the high service cost, I own a 92 Honda Civic also and when I get it service from the dealer it's just as costly. I only had my Catera for about 3 months and it's been fine, but I only use it as weekend car anyway, so I guess time will tell. If I feel the car is causing me too many problems then I will get rid of it. So until then the only problems are: Driver side door latch gets stuck sometimes in the lock position and the ABS traction control light come on once in a blue moon.

1997 Cadillac Catera from North America


Flush, the sound of money going down the drain!


A month after I purchased the car I hit a pothole and dented the alloy rim. $400 for the rim and $120 for a new tire I was on the road again.

Six months later the electrical unit inside the car that controls the heat and ac broke costing me over $500 to replace.

The timing belt snapped and destroyed the engine, Cadillac issused a recall and refunded the money, but as a college student it was tough waiting on the check to arrive.

Around 100,000 miles the transmission went out and was replaced and now 18 months later it is on the verge of going out again.

Just recently the blower for the A/C unit went out leaving me without Air during the summer in a black car in the South.

Just recently the engine block cracked. I am selling the car for salvage because that is pretty much all that it is worth at this point.

General Comments:

Buy this car if you prefer handing your $ over to the repair shop instead of actually flushing it down the toilet.

I will never buy another GM automobile because of the experience that I have had with this car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 25th October, 2005