The most economical Cadillac since 1984…

After debating the fuel economy of the 3.6L Cadillac SRX versus her competitors, I wondered what the most economical recent Cadillac was.  The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) publishes comparative miles per gallon for a variety of models since 1984 at  Because the test model changes from time to time, the charts for all years are kept up to date to the current test specs.  The original window sticker values for each model using the test at the time are also available.

2012 Cadillac CTS

For the 2012 models, the Cadillac CTS 3.6L RWD Sedan or Coupe are the leaders, at 18 mpg city and 27 mpg highway.  The DTS that ended production in 2011 on the current test would do 15/23, so no improvement there.  The SRX is heavier with the same drivetrain, so worse mileage than the CTS.  The 2008 XLR got a similar 15/24 mpg.  The 2010 Cadillac CTS with 3L V6 and manual transmission was 16/26; close, but no cigar.

The Escalade Hybrid comes to mind, and it does very well for a fullsize SUV at 20/23 mpg for the RWD model.  Still worse mileage than the CTS.

If one goes all the way back to 2003, the CTS had a 3.2L V6 and could be had with a manual transmission, but hit 17/24 mpg.  The 3L Catera? 16/23 mpg.

Diesel Seville?  Nope, under the current system a 1985 Cadillac Seville Diesel would be rated today at 17/26 mpg.   It was rated 19/28 mpg at the time.

To beat the current 318 hp CTS 3.6L we have to go all the way back to the 1984 model, 2L, 4-cylinder manual transmission Cadillac Cimarron.  On today’s test it would be rated 21/31 mpg.  Now, the difference in performance between a 2L Cimarron and a 3.6L CTS is beyond remarkable.  But the little-loved Cimarron was certainly economical.

If we include export models, the Cadillac BLS with 1.9L diesel was rated in the UK at 49.6mpg for imperial fuel mileage, urban combined.  An imperial gallon is 4.546L and  a US gallon is 3.785L, so that would appear to be around 41 mpg after conversion, but is not done to the same test method. It stands to reason that if we had EPA figures, the Cadillac BLS would be the most economical recent Cadillac.

In the absence of a home market BLS or other 1.9L Turbo-Diesel however, the current Cadillac CTS is in fact the most economical Cadillac sold in the US since the Cimarron.  We’ll see how the upcoming Cadillac ATS fares with its 2.5L 4-cylinder standard engine — it should be our new MPG leader.


2000 Cadillac Catera

Catera Summary

New For 2000


  • Front and rear fascias
  • Hood design, quarter panels
  • Headlights, cornering lights, fog lights and rear taillights
  • Cowl with wet-arm windshield wipers and integrated wiper nozzles
  • Outside rearview mirrors
  • High-intensity discharge (HID) Xenon headlights (Sport)
  • 17-inch aluminum wheels and H-rated Goodyear tires (Sport)
  • Sapphire replaces Sky Blue, Rainforest replaces Forest Green exterior paint, Cocoa is discontinued


  • Instrument panel, I/P upper and center console (Sport)
  • Door panels with integrated window controls and storage in all doors
  • Side-impact air bags standard (Sport only in ’99)
  • Neutral replaces Shale
  • Charcoal replaces Ebony leather (Sport)
  • Brushed silver trim (Sport)

2000 Cadillac Catera


  • Standard three-button OnStar system
  • Revised 12-disc CD player Bose® entertainment system
  • Oil-to-air transmission oil cooler
  • Gas-pressurized rear struts
  • Quick power brake booster

Target Demographics

Age: 35-49
Gender: 50 percent male/50 percent female
Household Income: $75,000+
Education: College graduate
Occupation: Professional/managerial

Key Competitors

Mercedes C280, BMW 328i, Lexus ES300, Volvo S70 GLT, Lincoln LS

Assembled At

Ruesselsheim, Germany

Sales History (Calendar Year)

1999      4,755 (Through May ’99)
1998     24,635
1997     25,411

Vehicle History

Launched in the fall of 1996 as a 1997 model, Cadillac Catera is part of a global GM vehicle family that includes the Opel and Vauxhall Omega MV6. Catera was developed as part of a cooperative effort between the Opel Technical Development Center in Germany and Cadillac’s world headquarters in Michigan. It is built at the Adam Opel assembly plant in Ruesselsheim using components from GM’s German, French, British and North American suppliers. Catera Sport joined the lineup in May of 1999 to appeal to the sport-oriented set — buyers with a keen interest in expressive styling as well as the desire for a higher level of handling and control.

Catera Sedan Sports Exterior & Interior Freshening For 2000

Sporting a freshened appearance inside and out and several new safety features, the 2000 Cadillac Catera is poised to become a more compelling player in the hotly contested entry-luxury segment.

Since its introduction three years ago, the German-bred, American-luxury-appointed Catera has become the No.1 conquest vehicle within General Motors. In a fourth quarter 1998 study, 45 percent of Catera buyers were non-GM owners, representing an increase of 10 percentage points over 1997.

Overall, the 2000 Catera’s new look remains decidedly European in style, but the exterior lines are crisper and the curves are more tailored to flatter the body.

From front to rear, the Catera features a new front fascia, headlights and redesigned hood that artfully contours around a smaller, matte-black, chrome grille. The redesigned front cowl keeps new wet-arm windshield wipers and washer nozzles discretely hidden from view.

The body has been fitted with revised quarter panels, outside rearview mirrors, cornering lights and fog lights. The rear appearance has been completely reworked with a new fascia, separate left and right LED taillights, center brake light, revised Catera badges and a signature wreath and crest emblem.

The Catera Sport has several updates for the 2000 model year, including larger 17-inch aluminum wheels mated to Goodyear Eagle H-rated all-season tires, high-intensity discharge (HID) Xenon headlights, matte-silver chrome grille and brushed-silver interior trim.

Several significant changes have been made to the Catera’s interior to complement its tailored exterior. Front seat occupants will immediately notice the new shape and richer grain on the instrument panel and steering wheel. The redesigned center console is equipped with an additional auxiliary power outlet, and new center stack for the entertainment system and climate controls. The center armrest has also been redesigned and holds two integrated cupholders.

Other changes intended to increase comfort and convenience include new door trim panels with integrated door handles, power window switches and clever latch-type storage bins fore and aft. Side-impact air bags are standard on every 2000 Catera. New cupholders and integrated upper child seat tethers have been added to the rear passenger compartment. Optional heated seats include a new three-position rheostat control for wider comfort range.

Functionally, the 2000 Catera features an improved up-level Bose® entertainment system, new oil-to-air transmission oil cooler, revised rear damper design, improved power brake booster and recalibrated steering gear system.

The 2000 Catera adds the convenience, safety and security of a new three-button OnStar system as standard equipment, replacing OnStar’s first generation system, a programmable cellular telephone offered as an option on the previous Catera.

For Cadillac division, Catera keeps pace with its luxury import brethren by successfully attracting buyers eight to 10 years younger in age than typical Cadillac buyers, and achieving close to a 50 percent male-to-female split.

No car segment in North America is growing quite as quickly as that of entry-luxury. According to R.L. Polk registrations, the segment grew more than 55,000 units in the ’97 calendar year and increased 33,000 units in calendar year 1998.


Catera’s unibody-constructed, five-passenger, four-door body receives a number of changes for the 2000 model year. Starting at the front, the changes include a new front fascia and headlights, five-mph rated bumpers and a redesigned hood with a smaller, matte-black, chrome grille. The redesigned front cowl keeps new wet-arm windshield wipers and washer nozzles discretely hidden from view. The overall body length measures 192.2 inches, representing a 1.8-inch reduction from 1999.

The body also has been outfitted in all-new quarter panels, outside rearview mirrors, 16-inch aluminum wheels, cornering lights and fog lights. The redesigned exterior also includes a new rear fascia with separate left and right LED taillights, a new center brake light, revised badge and signature wreath-and-crest emblem.

First introduced in May 1999 as the flagship model within the lineup, Catera Sport will continue to offer appearance and performance features not found on the standard Catera. The more aggressively styled rocker moldings and decklid spoiler are unchanged. However, sport-sedan enthusiasts will applaud the addition of larger 17-inch aluminum wheels mated to Goodyear Eagle Mud and Snow P235/45R17 H-rated tires, high-density (HID) Xenon headlights and matte-silver chrome grille.

Cadillac offers a total of eight exterior colors in the Catera palette: Ebony, Ivory, Sage, Sand, Cranberry, Platinum, Sapphire and Rainforest. Sapphire replaces Sky Blue and Rainforest replaces Forest Green for the 2000 model year.

The Sport is available again in three colors — Ebony, Ivory and Platinum.


Several significant changes have been made to the standard Catera’s interior to complement its tailored exterior. Designed to be efficient and functional, yet sumptuous and roomy, the Catera boasts more interior volume than several of its competitors, including the BMW 328i, Lexus ES300 and Volvo S70 GLT. Catera’s large, flat trunk has a low lift-over height and measures 14.5 cubic feet.

Slipping inside the 2000 Catera, front seat occupants will immediately notice the new shape and richer grain on the instrument panel and steering wheel. The redesigned center console is equipped with an additional auxiliary power outlet and new center stack for the entertainment system and climate controls. The center armrest has also been redesigned and holds two integrated cupholders.

Other changes intended to increase comfort and convenience include new door trim panels with integrated door handles, power window switches and clever latch-type storage bins fore and aft. Side-impact air bags are standard on every 2000 Catera. New cupholders and integrated upper child seat tethers have been added to the rear passenger compartment. Optional heated seats include a new three-position rheostat control for wider comfort range.

The Sport is outfitted in specially contoured sport seats with leather seating surfaces, a power height adjuster and manual lumbar and thigh adjusters. Heated seats, a theft deterrent system and a universal three-channel programmable garage door opener are also Sport standards. Interior changes for 2000 include new brushed-silver interior trim around the instrument panel, ashtray cover, shifter console and door.

All 2000 Cateras feature front buckets and a rear bench seat with leather seating surfaces. The three-way, split-folding rear seat permits trunk access from either side or through the folding rear armrest in the center panel. An eight-way power driver seat with memory is also standard.

Catera continues to offer a full complement of white-on-black analog gauges, including speedometer, tachometer, temperature, oil pressure, voltage and fuel.

The automatic climate control system includes separate temperature controls for driver and passenger and an air recirculation setting. Incoming air passes through a new charcoal-covered pollen filter for improved air quality.

The 2000 Catera windows feature the convenience of express power up and down at all four outboard seat positions.

Bose® Entertainment System

The changes to the interior led to a minor modification to the optional Bose® entertainment system with 12-disc truck-mounted CD player for improved equalization.

This premium system features eight acoustically located speakers with two sub-woofers in the rear package shelf for rich, full-sounding music reproduction. The system provides a National Weather Service channel for immediate weather updates. In addition, radio data system (RDS) technology permits scanning for a particular style of music, listening to traffic and stock reports as well as receiving information such as radio station call letters and format, song titles and artists’ names.

Catera is equipped with a standard AM stereo/FM stereo cassette audio system and eight speakers.


Standard convenience lighting features include illuminated entry, time-delay interior lighting, illuminated vanity mirrors and glove box, adjustable map lights and rear reading lights.

Cadillac offers three interior leather colors in the Catera palette: Neutral, Charcoal and Stone. Neutral replaces Shale on the standard Catera. Charcoal replaces Ebony as the sole Sport interior color.



Every 2000 Catera is powered by a 3.0-liter, dual-overhead camshaft V6 engine. The engine produces 200 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 192 lb.-ft. of torque at 3400 rpm to the rear-wheel-propelled drivetrain.

The iron-block, aluminum-head engine is equipped with an efficient and reliable high-energy ignition system. A multi-ram induction system delivers a smooth, consistent flow of air to the intake valves, while sodium powder-filled exhaust valves dissipate heat from the combustion chamber. The combination of more efficient airflow and denser air-fuel mixtures means power on demand across the rpm band. A dual, stainless steel exhaust system also contributes to engine breathing efficiency.

A two-piece propeller shaft connects the powertrain to the rear differential. This balanced design is engineered for improved smoothness.

The induction system and valvetrain assembly enable the Catera powertrain to provide a balance of low-speed efficiency, spirited performance, fuel efficiency and a low-emissions vehicle (LEV) classification.

Although the new LEV standards do not take full effect until the 2001 model year, Catera has been compliant since 1999. At that time, several changes were made to the 3.0-liter engine. They included new powertrain control computers, the addition of electronic throttle control and broad-range heated exhaust oxygen sensors, new multi-layer steel cylinder head gaskets, 3.5-mm top-land pistons, a coil-at-plug ignition system, a revised camshaft profile and 160K torque converter. A new fuel tank and improved vapor recovery system were also added.

The electronic throttle control and torque converter first introduced in the 1999 model year have the added benefit of significantly improving off-the-line launch feel.


An electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission with overdrive is designed to deliver smooth off-the-line acceleration, quiet cruising and on-demand passing power. The driver can select between three modes of shift operation: normal, sport and winter. The normal setting is for everyday driving. The sport setting makes for more aggressive shifts and adds more engine braking. The winter mode offers third-gear starts in slippery conditions.

All 2000 Cateras are equipped with a new, stand-alone oil-to-air transmission oil cooler for improved engine cooling and air conditioning efficiency.



The four-wheel independent suspension includes front and rear coil springs with MacPherson struts and advanced hydraulic control arm bushings. The multi-link trailing arm design of the rear suspension is tuned for secure, predictable handling. The rear suspension also features automatic load leveling for improved stability and full suspension travel under varying load conditions.

The damper valving of Catera’s fixed-calibration, gas-pressurized struts has been revised to deliver more body and wheel control without sacrificing ride quality.


In keeping with its German sport-sedan pedigree, all Cateras are equipped with dual-circuit, four-wheel disc brakes and a Bosch-designed ABS/ASR 5.3 anti-lock and traction control system. The traction control system keeps the engine from overpowering the tires on wet and slippery road surfaces and provides brake control for the two rear wheels. Then, when necessary, the system transfers drive torque to the wheel with the most traction.

A calibration change to the power brake booster is designed to deliver a more confident brake-pedal feel.


Catera’s speed-sensitive steering gear calibration is designed to handle low-speed driving and parking maneuvers as well as spirited driving and highway cruising.

Wheels and Tires

The 2000 Catera wears new five-spoke, 16-inch aluminum wheels mated to Goodyear Eagle RS P225/55R16 H-rated tires. Catera Sport is equipped with new five-spoke, 17-inch aluminum wheels and P235/45R17 H-rated Goodyear Mud and Snow rubber.

Catera Preliminary Specifications

Alternator (amp) 120
Bore x Stroke (in./mm) 3.4 x 3.4 / 86 x 85
Compression Ratio 10.0:1
Cylinder Head Aluminum
Displacement (in3/cm3) 181 / 2962
Emission Control LEV, OBD II, catalyst
Engine Block Cast iron
Engine Type 3.0L DOHC V6
Horsepower (bhp/kW @ rpm) 200 / 150 @ 6000
Ignition System 12V coil at plug
Induction System 3-stage ‘multi-ram’ air induction system
Recommended Fuel Unleaded premium
Redline (rpm) 5500
Torque (lb.-ft/N·m   @ rpm) 192 / 270 @ 3400
Valvetrain 24V DOHC, belt driven cams
Drive System Type Rear-wheel drive
Gear Ratios
1st 2.856:1
2nd 1.62:1
3rd 1.0:1
4th .723:1
Reverse 2.0:1
Overall Final Drive Ratio 3.9:1
Transmission Four-speed electronic shift control, auto,
Hydramatic THM 4L30E
Braking System Dual circuit, 4-wheel disc front vented, solid rear, Bosch ABS5.3
Front Disc Size
(dia. x thick.) (in./mm)
11.65 x 1.1 / 296 x 28
Rear Disc Size
(dia. x thick.) (in./mm)
11.26 x .47 / 286 x 12
Shock Absorbers Gas preloaded
Stabilizer Bar Diameter (in./mm)
Front 1.02 / 26
Rear .59 / 15
Steering Ratio 14.8:1
SteeringType Recirculating ball, speed-sensitive
SteeringWheel Turns
lock-to-lock 3
Front MacPherson strut lower control arms with hydro bushing and coil spring
Rear Multi-link, coil springs
Tires Goodyear Eagle RS-A all season P225/55HR16
Traction Control System Full range Bosch ASR5.3
Turning Circle, Curb-to-Curb (ft./M) 33.47 / 10.2
Turning Circle, Wall-to-Wall (ft./M) 36.26 / 11.05
Wheels, Five-spoke Design (in./mm)
Standard 16 x 7 / 406 x 178 cast aluminum
Optional 16 x 7 / 406 x 178 chrome/painted
Body/Exterior Dimension
Body Type Unibody
Curb Weight (lb./kg) 3770 / 1710
Drag Coefficient 0.33
Ground Clearance, Minium (in./mm) 5.24 / 133
Height, Overall (in./mm) 56.4 / 1432
Length, over (in./mm 192.2 / 4882
Overhand (in./mm)
Front 40.2 / 1021
Rear 46.3 / 1177
Tread (in./mm)
Front 59.3 / 1506
Read 59.8 / 1520
Vehicle Type 5-passenger, 4-door sedan
Weight Distribution (%, front/rear) 53.2 / 46.8
Wheelbase (in./mm) 107.5 / 2730
Width, Overall (in./mm) 70.3 / 1786
Interior Dimensions
Front Rear
Head Room (in./mm) 38.7 / 982 38.4 / 975
Hip Room (in./mm) 54.9 / 1394 55.2 /1401
Knee Clearance (in./mm) 3.7 / 95
Leg Room (in./mm) 42.2 / 1071 37.5 / 953
Shoulder Room (in./mm) 54.6 / 1388 55.9 / 1419
Vehicle Class Mid-size
Volume (ft3/L)
EPA Interior (inc. trunk) 112.7 / 3191.3
Interior Cabin 98.2 / 2780.7
Battery (volts/cca) 12 / 300
Cooling System (qt./L) 10.57 / 10
Fuel Tank (gal./L) (est.) 16.0 / 60.56
Oil (qt./L) 6.0 / 5.75
Tire Inflation Pressures (psi/kPa) 32 / 220
Towing Capacity (lbs./kg) 1000 / 453.6
Trunk (ft3/L) 14.5 / 410
Cruising Range (miles/km) (est.) 384 / 618
Fuel Economy, EPA Rating
City/Hwy (mpg) (est.) 18 / 24
City/Hwy (km/L) (est.) 8 / 10
Standing 1/4 Mile (sec.) 16.5
Top Speed (mph/kPh) 125 / 201
0-60 mph (0-96 kPh)
Acceleration (sec.) 8.5
60-0 mph (96-0 kPh)
Braking Distance (ft./M) 132 / 40
Ruesselsheim, Germany

A round-the-clock Cadillac customer assistance center is available toll-free at 1-800-458-8006. Customers can also contact the center through Cadillac’s World Wide Web site.