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.
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