Used 2001 Cadillac Catera Sedan Review
An average entry-level luxury sport sedan in a category full of above-average competitors.
Cadillac was the first domestic luxury automaker to attack the entry-level market head-on with the introduction of the Catera. After its first full year on the market, Catera rolled up sales of 25,411 units, making it the most successful launch of an entry-luxury model in U.S. history to date. 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.
Alas, Cadillac encountered a number of stumbling blocks after the Catera's launch. First-year cars suffered serious electrical problems. An attempt to install standard side airbags in 1998 was a complete failure: thousands of Cateras sat in the dockyard for months waiting to have the flawed systems removed before finding their way to dealerships. In 1999, imports didn't begin until six months into the new model year when a redesigned fuel tank was deemed problematic. And last year wasn't any better when problems at the factory forced the delay of the 2000 version. Furthermore, despite rear-wheel drive and a powerful engine, Catera didn't appeal to enthusiast drivers who wanted a manual transmission.
After tidying up the design and fine-tuning the suspension last year, Cadillac continues attempts to remove the tarnish from the Catera nameplate by adding vented rear disc brakes, OnStar's new version 2.6 and a Solar Protect windshield to the Catera and Catera Sport.
Outside, the Catera's sheetmetal remains unchanged; The Catera Sport's cabin has been tweaked this year, downgrading the 10-way power driver's seat to an eight-way power seat that mirrors that of the passenger.
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