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.

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.