Cadillac's new entry-level model was based largely on the Opel Omega, a General Motors car built and sold in Europe. The Catera was offered in one well-equipped version, with limited options. It competed in the heavily contested entry-luxury sedan segment against such models as the BMW 3-Series, Lexus ES 300 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. The Catera first launched as a 1997 model in the fall of 1996, although it was rumored to appear in Cadillac showrooms sooner than scheduled.
True to its German roots, the Catera had rear-wheel drive, a fully independent front strut/rear multilink suspension and a stiff body structure. The car was designed for comfortable, secure, high-speed touring as well as around-town driving. It used a specially tuned version of the Omega's compact 200-hp V6 engine and a 4-speed automatic transmission.
As an entry-luxury sport sedan, the Catera came off the assembly line with many engineering, comfort and convenience features as standard equipment. Included among the mechanical items were 4-wheel disc antilock brakes, traction control, automatic height and load-leveling control and power-assisted speed-sensitive steering. The comfort features included automatic climate control, power windows with express up/down, power seat adjustment, central door locking and cassette stereo system.
The few available options included a premium Bose stereo system, a power sunroof and heated front seats. Sometime after the car's introduction, side airbags for the front-seat occupants also became available.
|Model year(s)||List price||Destination charge||Effective date|
|1997||$29,995||$640||September 2, 1996|