Was the Cadillac Cimarron Really All That Bad?

For those of you who are too young or don't remember, the Cadillac Cimarron was a weak attempt by GM to lure luxury compact buyers who would have otherwise gone for BMWs and Audis.  It was an embarrassment to GM and Cadillac because it was little more than a Chevy Caviler with a slightly upgraded interior and exterior.  I was just a kid when they came out and my neighbor had one but even though I was only 9 or so I could tell it was just a Caviler.

But GM did improve it over time.  Last year at an auto show I saw a pristine 1988 Cimarron.  Although it still looked a little like a Cavilier, its outside finish and trim were very nice.  It had a much more powerful V6 engine in it.  The owner told me that the interior was original, and from the looks of it, that interior was a huge upgrade than the initial Cimarron.  The owner and I went for a test drive and while the handling still wasn't up to the European compact rivals, it was much, much better than the other GM "J" cars.  

The owner made a point that GM rushed this car and the Pontiac Fiero into production.  Both cars ended production in 1988 and with both cars, the final iterations were the ones to have.  Had GM further tested these cars over time instead of rushing them into production, could these cars have stood a better chance?   Given that the last iterations of both cars were much improved, there's a chance they could have.

1 Answer

  • 1 month ago

    Well...it wasn't good. The Cimmaron was a "badge-engineered" car - obviously a Cavalier with Cadillac badges and a higher price tag.  The person who told you it had a "much more powerful V6" was telling you a lie of omission - yes its V6 was more powerful than the pitiful 86-88 hp 4 cylinders you could also get in a Cimmaron, but the V6 made the exact same 130hp it made in every other GM car, including the Cavalier!

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