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.