Posts Tagged ‘3.0’

Test Drive: 2001 Cadillac Catera

On January 6, 2012, I test drove a 2001 Cadillac Catera at Empire Auto Sales in Hemet, California. The car has a beige exterior with a beige leather interior. It has 104,000 miles, with an asking price of $5,999. The Catera has a L81 3.0 liter V6 Engine that produces 200 horsepower @ 6000 rpm, and 192 lb-ft of torque @ 3600 rpm. The car has rear wheel drive, and a 4L30-E transmission, which is one of General Motors’ 4 speed automatic units. The Cateras were not engineered or assembled in the United States. They were originally from Germany. The Cateras are based off of the Opel and Vauxhall Omegas for the European market. There were also Omega wagons for both the Opel and Vauxhall brands. In Europe, many Omegas were used in law enforcement more so than as luxury cars. Between the Omegas and Cateras, there are not many significant differences. The Cateras first debuted in the United States as 1997 models. In 2000, the cars underwent a facelift. In 2001, the Cateras were discontinued, and were replaced by their popular successor, the CTS (Catera Touring Sedan). The Opel/Vauxhall Omega production ceased after the 2003 model year. While the Omegas were well known in Europe, Cateras were not very popular in North America. Now, let’s get back to the test drive.
I first went to San Jacinto which is next to Hemet because on the dealer’s website the car was listed at Empire Auto Sales’ San Jacinto lot. When I got there, I didn’t see the Catera. I asked a salesman if they still had the car on the lot, and he told me it was at the Hemet lot. He called the other dealer to tell them I was coming, and then gave me directions on how to get there. The two dealers were only four miles apart from each other. When I got to the Hemet lot, I met with a salesman named Dave. He pointed to the car outside, and I took a look at it while he was getting the keys. The body style of the car looked sporty, but its roundish shape doesn’t fit for a Cadillac. From a distance, somebody may think it’s a Chevy Malibu, Ford Taurus, or a Chrysler. The Catera did not have many noticeable blemishes. No dents that I can recall; just some scratches on the rear bumper, and the Cadillac crest in the grille was missing. After Dave got the keys, I tried using the keyless entry to unlock it. It was broken so I unlocked it manually. The Catera’s interior looked outdated for a 2001. It looked as if it was from another Cadillac or Buick from the late 80’s to mid 90’s. The driver’s seat was plushy when I sat in it.
When I started the car, I made sure that the electrical parts worked such as the seat, mirrors, and windows. The front passenger’s window switch for the passenger didn’t work (only the switch for the driver worked), nor did the passenger mirror when trying to move it to the right. The rear view inside the car was slightly loose when moving it, but still intact. The shifter knob was unusual because it has a button on top of it and another one on the bottom. The top one I found out was for the sport mode. Dave wanted to go with me on the test drive, so I didn’t get to have the chance to drive it where I wanted to go. When backing out of the space, I thought the rear visibility wasn’t the best when looking over my right shoulder because of the head rest. The car’s V6 engine was not the fastest one I have driven. I’m guessing it would take 8 ½ seconds to go from 0-60 miles per hour; At least when the transmission worked properly. When I came to my first stoplight, it apparently didn’t go to first gear. I wasn’t sure if it had to do with the sport mode. When I tried to take off, the engine revved, but it barely moved forward. After keeping my foot on the gas for about five seconds, it caught up to speed. I wanted to drive the Catera on more open roads with less traffic so that I could get a better feel for the power. I did make a few sharp turns and a U-turn, but I didn’t think it was enough to get to know the car. After turning around on a cul-de-sac, I drove back to the dealership. Dave wanted to know what my cell phone number was. Instead of giving it to him, I give him my mom’s fax number, and of course I didn’t tell him that it wasn’t really my number. The test drive was disappointing because there was traffic, and I was mostly driving straight.
When I got home, I checked the suggested retail value from Kelley Blue Book. It was $4,900, so the dealer was asking about $1,000 more than what it was actually worth. I also read some consumer reviews about the Cateras and I was very surprised by the number of negative reviews I came across. There were a few people that had so many problems with their cars that they couldn’t even trade them in. Many of the problems were oil leaks, blown head gaskets, transmission slips, deteriorating timing belts, electrical malfunctions, and the craziest one I’ve read were the seat warmers burning through the seat cushions! Many have also said that the Cateras were the absolute worst Cadillac ever made! What’s funny is that underneath, it’s not really a Cadillac; it’s an Opel. One of the most common issues I saw in these articles was the tires. A lot of owners stated either that the tire tread on their vehicles did not last long, or that they would lose a lot of air. No wonder why I don’t see a lot of Cateras on the road. These cars are probably junk! Overall, the Cadillac Cateras are sporty looking cars, but they do not have Cadillac looks to them, and they most likely were built with shoddy craftsmanship. After reading other articles, I would never buy nor suggest buying a Catera. If you are planning to purchase a Catera, do it at your own risk.
Photos taken by Empire Auto Sales.


Test Drive: 1989 Chrysler New Yorker Landau Edition

On December 14, 2011, I test drove a 1989 Chrysler New Yorker Landau Edition at Inland Empire Motors in Riverside, California. This car was in light blue, with a light blue leather interior with buttons stitched in the seats. The car has 73000 original miles, and the asking price is $2995. Unfortunately, I did not get a chance to look under the hood. According to the research I have done, this car has either a 3.0 liter V6 (the 6G72 by Mitsubishi), or a 3.3 liter V6 developed by Chrysler themselves. The transmission I am also unsure about. It is either a 3 speed automatic (A670), or a 4 speed automatic Ultradrive (A604). If anyone knows which engine and transmission the Landau has, drop a comment. The tenth generation Chrysler New Yorker debuted as a 1988 model; it got a refreshed look for 1992, and was redesigned for the 1994 model year. I don’t know a whole lot about this car. The main reason why I wanted to drive is was because my grandmother had a 1989 Chrysler New Yorker Landau in dark blue with the dark blue leather interior. I remember the car pretty well. She traded it in when I was 5 for the Acura RL that I now currently drive. These cars are extremely hard to find, especially in excellent condition. When I walked in to the dealer, I asked a salesman if I can have a look at the car. He was more than happy to show it to me. When I saw the car up close in person, I was amazed. It was in beautiful shape. It had no dents or scratches, and the paint made the car look like it sat in a garage all of its life. The interior was clean, and practically had no wear and tear. It was very well kept. The salesman said that it was previously owned by an elderly person who was no longer able to drive. I know there are a lot of people that stereotype used car sales people as liars, but based on the car’s condition, it had to be true. When I started the car, a loud noise came from the back. Supposedly, it was some kind of compressor. I would have also thought it was an abs system warming up. The only issue that I came across after starting the car was a mild burning odor. I didn’t think it was a serious issue. It’s probably just from old age. This New Yorker has the complete digital gauge cluster, which isn’t common in most new cars. I tested the electric windows and mirrors to see if they worked, and they all did. When I drove out of the dealer’s driveway, I floored it. The engine had a deep growling noise, but other than that, it was a quiet car. It wasn’t a quick car, but it wasn’t meant to be either. One thing that I was impressed with for some reason was the silent turn signal clicking. When I made a left turn, I put on my signal, and I couldn’t hear it. Most turn signals in a car are loud enough so that they can be heard; letting the driver know to shut them off if left on by accident. The handling was good for its small size, and the suspension was very soft. I did notice when I came to complete stops, if I gently let go of the brake pedal to when it’s barely moving it vibrates a lot; Nevertheless, I don’t think that is a big issue. After the test drive, I met the manager of the dealership, and he was hoping to make a sale. Neither he, nor the salesman was pushy towards me, so that’s a plus. I got their business card, and then left the dealer. I checked the Kelley Blue Book value on a 1991 Chrysler New Yorker Salon to get an idea of what this car was likely worth. The Landau’s last year was 1990 before being replaced by the New Yorker Fifth Avenue and Kelley Blue Book does not estimate resale values for cars older than twenty years of age. For the 1991 Chrysler New Yorker Salon, the suggested retail in excellent condition was $2940, and fair condition through private party is $1665. I think a good price to pay for this car would be around $1500. It’s low, but fair enough since it is in excellent condition. The New Yorker Landau isn’t meant to be an enthusiast’s type of car. It can be considered a luxury car, but it wasn’t built for flashy looks or sporty performance. Its main purpose is to be a comfortable car to drive in. A majority of people that would own a car like this would likely be above the age of sixty years old. I’m not trying to state that it’s an old people’s car, but they are commonly owned by elders. Even though I’m 20 years old, I think this is an amazing car! If I was looking for a New Yorker Landau, I would buy this one because they’re very hard to find, and it’s in mint condition. I’m one hundred percent sure that the paint and upholstery are all original. It looks just as good as it did the day it left the Chrysler dealer 22 years ago. I pray that its new owner cares for it like the previous one, and keeps it parked in a garage to preserve it. Many have been junked due to reliability problems, and neglect. I don’t think there is a high demand for this type of car because most people don’t find anything special about them. Still, if pampered to keep its original shape, these cars will look great! Overall, The Chrysler New Yorker Landau Edition is a nice practical car to drive. A lot of them might not last long due to wear and tear, but the one I drove has none whatsoever. It’s unfortunate that they aren’t easy to find, and most likely, this will be the last Chrysler New Yorker Landau that I’ll ever see in excellent condition ever again.

Pictures taken by Inland Empire Motors.