Good: 1. It was pretty fast for such a big car (Used to laugh at civic SI's) 2. Got pretty good MPG at 23MPG all around and over 30MPG on the highway if you kept your foot out of it 3. The bench seats are awesome 4. Enough room to fit all your friends in the back seat.. (And it they pissed you off, they could all fit in the trunk on the way back) 5. It gives you a very protected safe feeling 6. Hitting huge pot-holes feels like running over gravel
Now.. Why it got such a bad number of stars.. 1. I bought the car used; it had 68K miles on it. 2. The car started to have over heating issues.. I replaced the radiator with a triple core aluminum dragster radiator off of a chevy dragster. The Thermostat didn't circulate the coolant until it was too late, which at 236 degree's for the system to start to circulate is what caused the issues with the head gaskets on these cars. Pulling the Thermostat and buying one made for a different engine (shortstar) and using that one with a bypass on the two 26K CFM fans cured the overheating issues. (NOTE: you can't do the head-gaskets on the 98-02 Northstar, since the head is structural and the engine will warp when you pull the heads.. Entire engine must be replaced) 3. When it rained the tail lights didn't work 4. The alarm would randomly go off. 5. Replaced the power window motors with other Cadillac ones, Twice, before using Toyota Camry one's modified to work in the caddy frames. 6. Dealership wanted to charge me 150.00 for Windshield washer blades.. (Are they high?) 7. Exhaust rotted off the bottom of the car (Stainless isn't a choice on a 40+K dollar car?) (No matter though some Super40 flowmasters and two 3-1/2in chrome tips sounded great) 8. quality of the interior materials are made from cheaper plastics than rubber maid garbage cans. 9. car had electrical issues, and eventually randomly caught fire. (Ironically after the fire department put it out, all it took was some new ignition wires and it started right back up. )
Verdict: These cars can be fantastic cars for people who have some automotive repair skills, they are also fantastic cars for people who live in area's where there isn't heavy traffic. If you live in the middle of mid-town Manhattan, look for a Fleetwood, which while these look alike the fleetwood LT1 is a much better engine. If you however are stuck on one of these for whatever reason.. Keep an open eye for coolant leaks, oil leaks, transmission slips, and mostly overheating. Have the person start and run the car, wait for the coolant fans to kick in before you buy one. Most of these cars are marketed at needing a "head gasket" however, you can't replace the head gasket on the 98-00 Northstar, the head is a structural part, and pulling it will warp the block, which will result in leaking head gaskets as well as other issues. If you find one without the over heating issue, replace the thermostat with a lower temp thermostat immediately, and replace the coolant fan switch with a manual, or adjustable one, choosing to kick on the fans at a much cooler temp (201 vs 236). Doing this will enable you to have a car that will get you around at a very low price.
Bought the car new in November 1998. It was great for about 7 years/50,000 miles then started leaking coolant. 16.5 years/135,000 miles into its life it overheats going 15 miles down the road. Happily traded it in a few days ago for a new Prius. Cadillacs seem to be great when new but don't stick around for the duration. Northstar engines are economical and powerful but have issues...done with Cadillac
Massaging and heated seats...hands down. Back seat is like a couch.
Bought in 2011 with 92k miles, had to have new front struts put on by dealer. Now at 120k miles, I have had to put new radiator fans, new radiator as fans ruined the radiator, torque converter, TPS sensor, a blower motor which took a week to get a 5 bolt since most are 3 bolt and just recently a water pump. All are expensive to fix. Good running car, but like everyone says, they can be expensive to fix. If you buy one used, make sure you like the car and have some money set aside to fix them. Watch your selling price, weak resale value for a Cadillac. Heated seats don't work. Had to convert rear suspension
It has great features, good gas mileage, rain sense wipers. Seems to have thick windows to give quiet ride. Smooth and has good power. Climate control is auto so you can't put heat our the a/c vents, it decides for you. As long as you can afford to fix it, put premium gas in and possible convert rear suspension from self leveling to a normal spring/shock, it is a good car.
Better workman ship, dash is lifting up, heated seat controls fall through the hole.