We wanted an affordable luxury automobile, and we were impressed by our test drive of a 1999 Cadillac Catera, so we ordered a fully equipped ivory white version, with dealer-installed rear spoiler. The car looks somewhat bland, but attractive, but from the day we drove it out of the showroom, there were problems. Rattles, rattles, all over the place, and as soon as some were eliminated, others appeared.
But the worst part of it all was the awful quality control. We had half a dozen cooling system failiures, four battery replacements, replacements of an assortment of parts that included the ignition lock, brake light switch (a serious potential safety hazard), oxygen sensor, and gas cap cover.
Although the local dealers were reasonably accommodating, they could never quite get a handle on the extent of the troubles.
Now with the lease due to expire in a few months, the car still shudders when you apply the brakes at 45 miles per hour, and the transmission stick rattles at that speed during breaking and over bumps. The radio still cannot remember a station when you turn it off, and various and sundry rattles still persist. Worse, when the dealer fixed a damanged door jamb, they broke a fitting on the inside door handle and tore some of the rubber molding.
This is but a small part of the ills that plagued us with the 1999 Catera. All Cadillac would offer when we repeatedly asked them to buy it back was an insult, an offer of a $2,000 incentive towards purchase of another Cadillac, such as the new CTS, which is basically a Catera with a bigger engine, some suspension and interior refinements, and a butt ugly slab-like exterior.
General Motors, you lost a customer for life with this turkey.