The Catera was introduced by Cadillac for the 1997 model year, and was really thought of as not much more than a rebadged 1993 Opel Omega MV6. A compact vehicle, the Catera featured a new front fascia (in comparison the Opel Omega MV6), new mirrors and new headlights. Airbags were also included, starting with the 2000 model year. The Catera is famous for being the only Cadillac that Cindy Crawford was the official spokeswomen for, she also was featured on the commercial for the vehicle. Also very notable, the Catera was the only Cadillac built outside of the U.S. at that time.
Providing 200 horsepower, the Catera was powered by a 3.0liter V6 engine that was mated to a four-speed automatic transmission. Unlike other Cadillacs, the Catera was unique because it was a rear wheel drive vehicle. Many considered the Catera to be less of a vehicle than most Caddies, the Catera was known as the 'Caddy that Zigs', and it was marketed at a much younger market than normal Cadillac's. The Catera was much smaller, and even featured less power, and as a result, was much more affordable than the Seville or the Deville. The Catera was a great attempt by Cadillac to market more the entry level buyers, so as they grew older, they would be more used to luxurious vehicles and would simply continue to upgrade to a more luxurious Cadillac. The Catera was considered to be a serious competitor to the Infiniti I30, the Lexus EX 300, the BMW 328i and the Mercedes Benz C-Class.
Also in an attempt to market to the younger crowd, the Catera featured numerous options that made it very popular. Tractional control, anti-lock brakes, dual front airbags and daytime running lights were some of these features. Other available options were a dust and pollen filter, power windows, 16 inch alloy wheels, a tilt steering wheel, a fold down rear seat, electro-chromatic mirror, programmable locks and power seats. Even more features included a theft deterrent system, automatic climate control and radio controls that were located on the steering wheel. Optional luxe options included a powered sunroof, front and rear seat heaters, chrome wheels, leather upholstery and a Bose audio system.
The Catera was one of the first Cadillac's in 2000 to meet the new low emission standards. It also was equipped with side airbags. For this same year the whole styling of the Catera was refreshed in a positive hope to boost sales. The interior received new headlights, a chrome grille, a new rear spoiler and 17 inch chrome wheels. The following year the only change were the solid brakes being replaced with vented ones.
Unfortunately sales were not as prosperous as Cadillac had hoped. Cadillac purchasers wanted more car for their money, and the Catera was considered to be too small, and not as luxurious as people expected from the Cadillac brand. The American made Catera couldn't compete with other entry level vehicle cars available on the market at that time. In 2003 the Catera was replaced with the CTS.By Jessica Donaldson