Welcoime aboard qwall. The catera is a pretty good car, personally I wouldnt recommend it. My grandpa had one, and it was in the shop like 10 times in 2 years, from brand new. They were plagued (at least the early ones) with many little gremlins that make the check engine light come on. It is essentially a german car (opel) with an american name. I would recommend getting a 94-97 (most likely the same price range as your looking into) eldorado or seville. Gas mileage is going to be about the same any way you look at it.
Welcome aboard, QWall.. Thanks for signing up.. I looked into the Cateras for awhile - and I thought they were pretty nice.. Especially the latest models with the sport package.. What year are you looking into? Can you get a warranty? That's always important.. I don't think they're as expensive to maintain as other Cadillac's.. They don't have Northstars... That's good and bad.. The Northstar is an amazing engine - but, very high tech...
Yes, I think the later cateras were better performers and more reliable. THey may have more aftermarket and/or performance support, since they are opels.
Northstar is a good engine if it was maintained as good, if not better than the book.
IF your looking for really good reliable engine, find a caddy with the 4.9, probably cadillacs most reliable modern aluminum block engine. One of the moderators (kcnewell) has a 91 seville with 158k, and no drivetrain problems, and not that many other problems.
I definetly don't want to work on the car a lot. I have enough of that with my vette and talon, they both spend more time in the air than on the ground. What years would you guys recommend? I don't want to spend more than $17-18k and I really like cateras.
I would still recommend a seville or eldo, you could get most likely a 98 or 99 for 17-18k. It should be a trouble free car IF you can get ahold of service records. If it has been dealer serviced, they can pull it up on the computer, and will sometimes show up on a vehicle history report (not very often though). Along with that, make sure you get it inspected. If the inspection comes out with something bad, either make them fix it or no sale. If they have no service records, you could be fine, but ideally you would want the records.
I would also consider getting an extended warranty. There are online companies like www.autowarrantybroker.com that have many good plans, and cover many parts. I am getting one of these for my Q. You may spend 600+ on the warranty, but once youve made 3-4 claims, its paid for itself.
If you want a Catera, I'd go for the "Sport" edition that was available the last year or so. I personally think it was HOT looking car and not too bad of a performer. Overall, I think the car had a lot of potential even though it doesn't seem to get the respect I think it's due from the Cadillac community as a whole.