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.
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.
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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