Used 1998 Cadillac Catera Sedan

1998 Cadillac Catera
List price range
1998 Cadillac Catera

Pros

  • German engineering, ride, and handling. Comfortable seats. Attractive styling. Great sound system.

Cons

  • Unproven reliability. Engine needs more power. Interior design is fussy.

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Edmunds' Expert Review

vehicle overview

The entry-level luxury sedan market accounts for nearly 40 percent of all luxury-car sales in the United States, growing rapidly from 25 percent just a few years ago. Characteristically, Chrysler, Lincoln and Cadillac have been lethargically slow to react to shifting luxury-car buyer tastes, while Lexus, Infiniti, Audi and BMW have been actively wooing these customers with fun-to-drive, lavishly appointed sedans and outstanding customer service. While companies from across either pond brought the ES300, 328i and A4 to market, the Big Three produced the Eldorado, Continental and New Yorker during the same time period.

Cadillac was the first domestic luxury automaker to attack the entry-level market head-on with the introduction of the 1997 Catera. A year later, the Catera is still the only American near-luxury model available. Based on the European-market Opel Omega MV6, the Catera features a 200-horsepower 3.0-liter DOHC V6 engine mated to a four-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive. Built in Russelsheim, Germany, the Catera is touted by Cadillac as a blend of the best of German and American engineering. It features antilock brakes engineered for the German Autobahn, dual front airbags, traction control and an engine-disabling theft-deterrent system.

With prices starting near $30,000, the Catera qualifies as a bona-fide bargain in this segment. Options are restricted to a power sunroof, power rear sunshade, heated front and rear seats, a Bose audio system and chrome-plated aluminum wheels. Standard equipment includes power windows with express-down features for all four windows, remote keyless entry, heated windshield washer nozzles and an automatic dual-zone climate control system. Two models are available: a base model and one appointed with leather.

The Catera also benefits from a roomy interior and is classified a midsize car by the EPA. The dash layout is outstanding, providing large, analog gauges and easy-to-use controls. Wood trimming is kept to a tasteful minimum, and the Catera exudes a level of interior luxury uncommon for the class.

But, what about performance? The Catera holds its own, but we suspect there will be sales lost to the BMW 328i, Nissan Maxima and Audi A4 due to the lack of a manual transmission. Cadillac also opted to limit the Catera's top speed to 125 mph so they could fit all-season rubber to the standard aluminum wheels. The result is a smoother, softer ride on America's often harsh pavement, and better wet-weather grip, at the expense of dry-weather handling.

Still, the Catera is a fine effort from Cadillac, priced competitively and offering all the luxury and most of the performance a buyer could want from this segment. All it really needs is some more low-end punch and an optional manual transmission.

1998 Highlights

New radios are available across the board, and a new option is a power rear sunshade. Second-generation airbags arrived during the middle of the model year.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1998 Cadillac Catera.

Overall Consumer Rating

Most helpful consumer reviews

Caterror!
dasmaedchen,03/18/2011
This has been the worst car I've ever owned. I bought it two years ago when I needed a car badly. I'd read a couple poor reviews but was persuaded to at least come look at the car. It looked brand new, had low mileage, and a nice price. I now know that the reason it looked brand new and had low mileage is probably because it was parked, broken, more than actually driven. It is pure garbage. It has had a coolant leak since shortly after I bought it. I have taken it to several different places including a dealership and nobody has been able to stop the leak. This among the many other things wrong with it. It would also randomly refuse to start and then 30 minutes later would start.
Caterible
SgtJeep,02/26/2002
It was in the shop at least twice a month having something repaired. At approx 40k miles the engine all but quit. I had problems with the climate control, moonroof, heated seats, steering, rear sunshield, and others. With 68k on the odometer the engine died. Even though GM told me it was my problem, the dealership is helping me get it fixed. Kudos to Martin Cadillac in Bowling Green, KY. They're the first automotive service center to ever gain my trust and respect.
Low cost to maintain
Rich,09/06/2008
This car cost me less to maintain over these past 10 years than any other car I ever owned.
Absolutely the Worst Car Ever
olive,05/04/2009
i bought this car in May of 2008 with 114,000 miles. First day i got the car, drove to someone's house, go to leave, car wouldn't start. Needed new starter, $334.Within a 11 months... rear main seal, $700. New battery, $100, new alternator $400. Cylinder missfire, $910. Speedometer and odometer went out. Power steering went out. Everytime i braked, steering wheel would jerk and pull car all over the road. Sometimes couldn't pull key out of ignition, have to keep shifting till it came out. Slow coolant leak. finally car would start again, engine problems. just parts estimated $1500. im junking the car. The list goes on. Do you need any more of a reason to NOT buy this car?
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Features & Specs

MPG
16 city / 22 hwy
Seats 0
4-speed automatic
Gas
200 hp @ 6000 rpm
See all Used 1998 Cadillac Catera Sedan features & specs

Safety

IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 1998 Cadillac Catera
Used 1998 Cadillac Catera Sedan Overview

The Used 1998 Cadillac Catera Sedan is offered in the following styles: 4dr Sedan.

What's a good price on a Used 1998 Cadillac Catera Sedan?

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Which used 1998 Cadillac Catera Sedans are available in my area?

Used 1998 Cadillac Catera Sedan Listings and Inventory

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Can't find a used 1998 Cadillac Catera Catera Sedan you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Cadillac Catera for sale - 6 great deals out of 6 listings starting at $17,454.

Find a used Cadillac for sale - 1 great deals out of 11 listings starting at $16,338.

Find a used certified pre-owned Cadillac Catera for sale - 6 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $8,227.

Find a used certified pre-owned Cadillac for sale - 12 great deals out of 24 listings starting at $15,528.

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Should I lease or buy a 1998 Cadillac Catera?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Cadillac lease specials
Check out Cadillac Catera lease specials