1997 Cadillac Catera Base Consumer Reviews | Edmunds
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1997 Cadillac Catera - Consumer Reviews

Average Consumer Rating

67 Total Reviews

1997 Catera Consumer Reviews

Base 3.0L V6 4-speed Automatic - (67 reviews )
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Worst Car I Ever Owned
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By nestornajwa
on

Vehicle

1997 Cadillac Catera 4dr Sedan


Review

I bought a new 97 Catera in late 1997, thinking I was getting a good deal with discounts/rebates. Catera was not without its virtues. It handled very well, had a fun sport suspension setting and was pretty comfortable. I overlooked the bland styling. None of these things mattered when the car began falling apart within weeks. First, the gas tank was removed to fix a broken sensor. Soon after, a gasket blew. Then the fuel pump died. The most persistent problem was with the door locks, which malfunctioned often and prevented the doors from closing. Lindsay Cadillac service (VA) was terrible, with many return visits for door locks. All of this happened within about 16 months of purchase.


Favorite Features

Agile handling and a firmed-up sport suspension setting. Fun to drive when it ran, the "Check Engine" light wasn't lit, and I didn't wake up to find it parked in a puddle of fluid, and whenever the doors didn't bounce open when I tried to close them. Driving to the dealership while holding onto the door to keep it closed was... less fun. The leather interior and supportive seats were nice for an entry-level luxury car. Comfortable driving position. Decent, but not great acceleration.


Suggested Improvements

Reliability, Reliability and perhaps Reliability. Exterior styling was laid-back and boring, looking more like a round economy family car than a sporty luxury car. The styling hid the one real virtue of the car, which was its aggressive handling.


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Cadillac Catera 97
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By _catera97_
on

Vehicle

1997 Cadillac Catera 4dr Sedan


Review

This is an amazing car. Yes it has a few problems we are going to have to work on. But my dads psycho ex girlfriend parked it in the grass and took the chip out of the key. That's the reason for most of the problems. It is a 15 year old car, so yes it's going to have other problems to. But before it was taken off the road because of the crazy psycho it was running fine. The ride is smooth just like a Cadillac should ride, the Bose stereo system is beyond amazing and the speed and look of the car fits my personallity to a key. This car is one of the most amazing cars I have ever seen.


Favorite Features

Bose stereo system, speed, interior, look, comfort!!!


Suggested Improvements

Nothing really.


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Reliable, but can have costly repairs
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By map64
on

Vehicle

1997 Cadillac Catera 4dr Sedan


Review

Bought in '02 with 36K miles for $7K ($32K new in '97. 136K miles/9+ years later, can't complain. Spent $800 on leaking oil cooler, timing belt/tensioner warranty replacement, $300 on timing belt replacement at 106K miles, $70 twice to replace heater control valve and $100 on oxygen sensor. Got climate control module for $25 to replace defect. Serviced spark plugs, trans fluid and brake pads. The timing belt is due to be changed in the next 10K or so. The only annoying thing to me is the electrical gremlins like the TC/ABS lights and the radio shutting off if the volume is too loud. If you do the work yourself, this can be a fun car to own because it has never left me on the side of the road


Favorite Features

Comfortable seats, good gas mileage (422 highway miles before low fuel light comes on), beautiful instrument panel features and layout (especially at night), a/c performance , huge truck, good road handling and solid at triple digit speeds.


Suggested Improvements

Fix the electrical gremlins, heater control valve (leaks every 50K-60K miles), climate control defective on certain VIN #s, lacking about 50 hp/50 ft lbs of torque, lower overall vehicle weight, longer seat travel for taller driver's and 17 inch wheels.


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Must have got the one diamond amongst the broken glass.
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By jlblack
on

Vehicle

1997 Cadillac Catera 4dr Sedan


Review

While everybody else hates this car, I love it! I bought last year for $2000. I immediately had to buy a new radiator for it for $200 that I installed. I was quoted up to $750 for one, so call around when buying parts. I abuse this car! The sport button is on half the time, I take corners at above twice the recommended speed. This car is glued to the road. It sails at 90 mph with no problem. If you can work on cars yourself and want cheap luxury then this is the car for you. For what I paid for it if a major repair comes up then its off to the junk yard, but until then, get out of my way! You can buy a Haynes repair manual for an Opel Omega from the UK. Same car. I did.


Favorite Features

Love the sport button. Almost makes me forget how great stick shifts are. The 10 speaker Bose stereo is incredible. The memory driver seat/mirror with 3 presettable positions is good too. Just hold the button down and the seat and all mirrors go back to the way you like them. Good trunk for the overall size of the car. Traction control off button on the dash. Like the auto turn on headlights and the rear view mirror that automatically dims once for night time and dims further when bright lights are behind you. Good loud horn. Rear wheel drive is good. Love the front/rear weight dist. Great suspension.


Suggested Improvements

Deeper dashboard for aftermarket stereo. New CD deck sticks out about an inch. Also had to spend $129 for a Bose adapter module for the amp/speakers. Don't like the traction control method. My last car's worked by applying the brake to the slipping wheel, where this retards the engine power. Permanent cup holders. Also, the passenger door could not be unlocked if you tried to open it while it was locked. Sticky mechanism in the latch assembly. Had to take the door apart and relubricate. Now its fine. Low brakepad light comes on sporratically, esp. when weather's cold. Too much plastic under the hood. The old radiator water inlet tore like a styrofoam cup it was so worn.


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Paying for the name only
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By mary
on

Vehicle

1997 Cadillac Catera 4dr Sedan


Review

This car is a great ride. That's it. I can not find anyone to fix whatever is wrong. Dealers laugh at the cost to fix it. It runs for a week and then quits. Over and over again. I feel like driving it through a dealer window, but bought it privately. I will stick to Toyota from past experience. I thought since the motor was made in Germany that it would be a good car. I was wrong! This car needs to have permanent retirement in a junk yard. I would feel guilty selling it to anyone as gullible as I was. I should have known better (what was I thinking not buying a Toyota?).


Favorite Features

It's a great and comfortable ride, that's it.


Suggested Improvements

A reliable engine, transmission, and electrical system is needed on this car, like most other American cars. It's also a bit squirrely on the road, especially loose gravel and ice.


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Too much fixing
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By Nash
on

Vehicle

1997 Cadillac Catera 4dr Sedan


Review

I recently to have a look at a used car it turned out 2 be a 1997 catera. I fell in love with this car the moment i saw it..it was so beautiful inside out and in great condition 4 a 1997. The owner was selling it 4 $3500 and he was sad..so sad because he kept repeating how much money he spent on it to keep it running. I am sorry for him and glad i didn't buy it.


Favorite Features

Heat Seats, beautiful interior, soft engine sound, great body.


Suggested Improvements

need ...


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This car could kill you
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By Garrie
on

Vehicle

1997 Cadillac Catera 4dr Sedan


Review

This car almost killed me when the engine literally blew up on the highway(It stopped dead and I was in the middle lane with a huge truck on my tail.) It had 62,000 miles on it and was regularly serviced. Like a fool I replaced the engine. At 92,000, just after it had been serviced, the motor froze and stopped dead again. Rather than get a new engine, I gave it to a charity and watched my beautiful car being dragged away.


Favorite Features

it sometimes ran


Suggested Improvements

Make it run all the time


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I hate this car
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By Cory Bouton
on

Vehicle

1997 Cadillac Catera 4dr Sedan


Review

I bought this car from a private seller, and it worked fine for a few years then when one thing broke and it was just down hill from there. Currently the AC and heat don't work because of electrical problem I can't even afford to have diagnosed professionally, I have a major radiator leak that won't be worth the repair cause when I do fix it, something worse will just come up. So now I just carry extra fluid with me. The tranny failed, twice, thank goodness for warranty, and now that the tranny is fixed I got smoke coming out the exhaust. So I don't drive it unless I have to. The Sunroof was working until I brought it back from tranny shop, now it don't work, again. I hate this car.


Favorite Features

Nothing.


Suggested Improvements

Better engineering.


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Excellent Machine
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By Luxury Dream Machine
on

Vehicle

1997 Cadillac Catera 4dr Sedan


Review

Although, the interior has mechanical issues those who are complaining about cost do not buy a Mercedes Benz or BMW after all it's German made. Foreign parts are expensive but I love it & I don't care how much I have to pay. My motto is if you treat it right. It will treat you right. IF you hate this you will hate a 98 ford Contour. I have 181,000 miles on it & it does not drive or sound smooth like the catera. My wife & I are spoiled with the catera. So do not buy this car for looks. Buy it for responsibility. Don't worry about what people say form your own opinions. I would rather have a German machine than an American made machine. They tend to fall apart after it reaches 180,000 miles.


Favorite Features

The comfort of the seats, heated seats, quiet engine sound. The stereo. The controls are just like a Mercedes Benz 300E. They are easy to operate. Body Style is luxury. The skin of the car felt like silk.


Suggested Improvements

The dealership should bring the Catera back.


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The Money Pit
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By Charlie
on

Vehicle

1997 Cadillac Catera 4dr Sedan


Review

Since the purchase, this car has broken down once a month. Each time we take it to the dealer (usually via tow truck) the repair costs range between $1500.00 & $2000.00 We bought it for $22,000.00 in 2000 and have spent $16,300.00 in repairs since. GM will not even talk to us about this car, and parts are now hard to get. This is by far the worst car we have ever owned. We looked around to see what they are selling for now, and see that top dollar is $3000.00. We are donating it to the Kidney Foundation, and the tax receipt deduction for our income tax will be more than what we can sell the car for!


Favorite Features

Great fit and finish of the interior, good handling, fun to drive (when it's not in the shop), good looks, creature features (when they work). Nice car if it came with a working power train, and Nissan electronics. The car knows it's own way to the closest Cadillac repair shop !!!


Suggested Improvements

Same improvement GM made - Discontinue this car


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