Forget the duck. Forget Cindy too. And forget anything you've heard about this being the Caddy that Zigs. For the year 2000, Cadillac's Catera has grown up, matured even. No more cutesy catch lines, no more thinking that its target buyers are MTV Gen-Xers. After all, when was the last time you saw a Catera with a surfboard on its roof or a pair of Rollerblades on the back seat? Or someone stepping out and saying, "Hey, Dewd!" to the valet parker?
You haven't. People who buy so-called near-luxury sedans — these are the ones in the $30-grand price range — don't buy fashion statements. If they want the world to think they're Everest climbers, they buy a sport-ute. They want quality, prestige, class, lively performance and crisp handling, plus all the comforts of home.
So, for 2000, Cadillac is relaunching the Catera. The cartoon duck has been ditched. Cindy Crawford in her micro-mini and leather boots has gone back to the cover of Cosmo. And those ads talking about the Caddy that Zigs have been zagged.
More important, the Catera itself has been given a welcome makeover. It now comes with a sexy, new look, a classier interior, and more of the features people want.
Cadillac is also going to be making much more of the Sport model, which quietly slipped into the Catera lineup last May without too many people knowing about it.
A modest evolution
OK, so the changes are more of the evolution rather than revolution variety. Revolution comes in a couple of years' time when the Catera gets a dramatic — and we mean dramatic — new look and a new, more potent propulsion. It'll also be built in the United States, instead of at GM's Opel plant in Germany, and designed by U.S. designers.
But that's way in the future. What will be available in November is a fresh-faced Catera that's worth close investigation.