I have 1998 Catera which was purchased with 74k miles and has preformed flawlessly for 31k (I enjoy this car so much I purchased a 2001 also). All normal maintenance has been preformed by an independent shop (I have never been to a dealer). My mechanic is a trusted professional that checks the Cadillac service bulletins and keeps it on the factory service schedule. He also checks the built in diagnostic tools by connecting a little computer to the car. This seems to be the most important item done to the car. The Catera's operating costs are less than my previous car, a brand new 05'Subaru STi, my same mechanic preformed service w/ warranty items to dealer.
Low, Low used price and no @#*% car loan!! You can not find a better equipped car for the going prices (and lots of safety items) Ride is better than an Audi A6. 29 mpg hi-way, and fast! I love the radio controls on the steering wheel and the 3 built in garage remotes on the rear view mirror.
The car is great out of the box - find a qualified mechanic with the proper tools. My wish list item would have to be a 6-speed manual! Would make a killer driver/track car easily crushing the import "tuners" class. A used Catera compares with the Audi & BMW class of car for the price of a Neon.
I love this car, however keeping it on the road has not been the cheapest of ventures. The head controllers, which control the A/C temp cost about $1000 a piece and the car has two of them, my radiator light is always on after much tampering, and the Air Bag light is always on, which could be the result of a $701 part. Last fall, 2007, the car was being driven from Memphis to Atlanta and the transmission gave out. A $3,000 fix, there was a leak in the A/C Tubing and that was around $80- $90, the way things are connected seemed random. I had a fuse blow out and it knocked out my radio, my interior lights, my automatic door locks, and my fog lights. Love to car, just high maintenance.
Drives smoothly and is a blast, just enough power to satiate a craving but not enough to completely trash your gas mileage. Very comfortable.
Very expensive to maintain, lots of places don't even know how to go about routine repairs so it takes them a long time to do simple things like changing headlights.
I have had the car a short time and had no problems so far. I am typically a European car driver and it feels the way I like it to. Solid handling (like to turn off the traction control and go with sport mode) I had the same problem with the water on the floor, it was a very simple fix anyone can do. It is the drain in front of the passenger side for the air intake. You have to remove the plastic grate just behind the hood there is a basin underneath that has a drain at the bottom that (leaves and stuff get caught down there, the water fills up and spills in the fresh air intake) other then that it has been great
Soundsystem! I am a dj and it is great to hear the music the way it is supposed to be the ultra comfortable seats
I think they have the bases covered well, as was said before, this car is not for some kid trying to beat everyone on the street. It is for the adult driver that drives responsibly, but still wants some vigor and vim
Personally I loved my catera, but found that 20 mpg average for a 3.0 sucks, Cadillac parts are very expensive, and things like to break easily and often. Starting with parts, DO NOT buy from dealership, a front lower control arm will run $472, a radiator $500, etc. Always go on ebay and search for the parts you need or look online. I found a front lower control arm for $100 on ebay with 22k miles and a radiator on radiatorexpress.com for $125. P.s I love this car but am into massive subs MTX 9500's and had them in my car but the BOSE system cannot be replaced with aftermarket unless you have the entire audio system rewired, or use a rca interface like me with bad bass levels.
Bose premium sound, four heated leather seats, two front 8 way adjustable seats with drivers being memory, memory mirror with auto dimming. Very cool to play with. Acceleration even with 150k miles was amazing, REAR WHEEL DRIVE, chrome wheels, Cadillac comfort, and on new cateras rear sunshade
Flip out cup holder breaks easily, seals go bad, pricey parts, rear tail light is ok but 2000's were better without the full band, I didn't have a problem paying 3-4 dollars more per fill up for premium fuel to have prime performance and engine problems, oil leaks/overheating but I loved my Catera