The Worst Cars In the World: Cadillac Cimarron

What a major embarrassment! Cadillac was already skidding out of control when the Cimarron was released, and this car did nothing to help them. This huge mistake of a car was actually symptomatic of deeper problems at GM as they were starting to lose market share in a way that they had never known. The Cimarron makes the Cadillac Catera, Caddy’s subsequent attempt to build a small car, look like a fantastic bit of engineering.

Look at the fancy emblems on the taillights.
In the early 80’s the effects of the Middle East oil embargo of the seventies were still being felt and many auto companies were downsizing their vehicles so that they could be more fuel efficient. Front wheel drive was also starting to catch on. Cadillac had a history of building huge land yachts for people who might generally have more dollars then cents. Nevertheless, they felt it important to come up with an offering that would provide better fuel economy but still pamper the driver and passengers with the amenities that were expected in a Cadillac. BMW was having success selling small luxury cars so Cadillac thought that they should join in. Turns out the Cimarron really didn’t have any of the amenities that a luxury car ought to have yet it was priced as if it did.

The driving gloves are just plain silly!
The Cimarron hit the market for the 1982 model year and was actually found in the Cadillac lineup for 7 years. During these very dark times for GM and for the Cadillac line, not very many of these chintzy little pieces of junk were sold and it’s no wonder. The biggest problem with the Cimarron was that it was based on GM’s J-body platform and not much was done to really differentiate it much from other J-body cars like the Chevy Cavalier, and the Pontiac Sunbird. GM at first called the car Cimarron by Cadillac. As if turning the name around made it special or somehow set it apart from other marginal Caddies of the day.

The Cimarron was too expensive for what the customers actually received. The 4 cylinder engines were too weak for the regular Cadillac owners and the overall look and feel of the car were not anything special that could set the car apart from other compact sedans in the J-body family. Eventually a V6 option was added to the line and even made standard but it didn’t really make a difference. You can put a V6 in a tub and it will have more power but guess what, it’s still a tub.

The new redesigned 1986 Cimarron. How exciting!
Some companies get so caught up in trying to save money on the development of new models that they get into the practice of badge engineering. This means that they design a car platform and put several different badges on it. Of course in the end they aren’t fooling anyone, and neither did Cadillac with the Cimarron. Why pay thousands of dollars extra for a car that has nothing extra to offer beyond the hood ornament with a wreath and crest. The only good thing that this Cadillac did for the company was make their other marginal offerings from that time period look a little better.

Cimarron responds? Yes it does to every bump in the road
and every loose interior panel squeak. When you hit the
gas it responds...sometime next week.
If the Cimarron’s only fault was that it pretty much looked like a Cavalier with cushier seats, that kind of a thing might have been forgiven, because looks are subjective. However, the Cimarron made all of the same squeaks and groans that the Cavalier did. The 1.8 liter pushrod 4 cylinder sounded like it was made by the Singer sewing machine company and not the car manufacturer that claimed to set the world standard for luxury automobiles, even the eventual V6 was nothing to brag about since it was only good for around 110 horsepower. The car came with a 4 speed manual transmission as standard equipment. Really! A 4-speed, what a joke!

The Cimarron was a learning experience for Cadillac or at least you would think that it was. Considering the Catera that Cadillac put to market several years after the Cimarron was much better you would think that they learned something from the Cimarron debacle. The Catera though, was simply a badge engineered Opel Omega from Germany. This makes it seem as if Caddy learned nothing from the Cimarron. Since the Catera, Cadillac has not had small car in the lineup again. Maybe that’s the way it should stay.
Oooo! A pink Caddy! I think I just threw up in my mouth a little!

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