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Saab 9-3 Coupe (2002 and earlier)



  • jas28jas28 Posts: 50
    That's why I got mine also - if I hadn't had so many problems with mine, I'd be getting another one. I'd challenge anybody to show me a car that size with that much utility. The only thing I'd ask them to improve (besides their reliability and quality) is that the rear seats fold truly flat (like the Pontiac Vibe/Toyota Matrix). None of the other cars on the market can fit to Labrador Retrievers in the back with such ease!
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,111
    Agreed! I love the hatchback! I don't like the blind spots that come with it! I've fit a Great Dane in my car! Of course she sat in the back for abour 2 minutes and then she came up and sat in the passengar seat!

    2001 Honda Prelude Type SH/ 2011 BMW 328xi / 2011 Honda Pilot EX-L w/ Navigation

  • maynardf1maynardf1 Posts: 127
    Morning paper has a first look at the Mazda 6, successor to the 626. It's going to start as a sedan, but for '03, mazda will offer both a hatchback and a wagon derivation.
    From the review, it sounds as though the thing will be a blast to drive.
    I wonder if saab might do the same thing with the 440: broaden the line-up to include a hatch.
  • huntzingerhuntzinger Posts: 350
    Prior to my Saab, I had had a VW Scirocco. As such, the Saab was a pretty big step up in size, mostly for back seat, but also for cargo volume.

    I spent 2001 looking around for a suitable replacement for the Saab. It went slowly, mostly because of a lot of other commitments which stole my free time. There really aren't that many hatches out the marketplace, although things have heated up very recently in the lower price segment. As per Edmunds, there are exactly 3 hatchbacks in the $25-30K price segment (and 58 SUV's/Trucks).

    Overall, you have a couple of basic issues and product groupings to consider what your personal biases - er "preferences" ;-) are to narrow down the list. Besides price, they are:

    - European, American or Japanese design philosophy?

    - The back seat: is it there just to lower your insurance, or is it really for people (you like) to sit in?

    - Style: genuine hatch, or will a wagon do?

  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,111
    3 hatchbacks & 58 Trucks/SUVs...sad world we live in huh?

    2001 Honda Prelude Type SH/ 2011 BMW 328xi / 2011 Honda Pilot EX-L w/ Navigation

  • hppypaulhppypaul Posts: 43
    Any Viggen owners out there with a story to tell?? Is the performance that much better than the SE?? Any trouble spots worse than what's typically stated here?? With the changeover coming, I'm hoping to get a good deal on a Viggen Ragtop next year when they really want to move them.
  • huntzingerhuntzinger Posts: 350
    That's why I got mine also - if I hadn't had so many problems with mine, I'd be getting another one.

    Exactly the same story here.

    I'd challenge anybody to show me a car that size with that much utility.

    I recall reading a review on like a dozen of the midsize SUV's a few years ago...and when I got to the part on cargo capacity started laughing out loud: my Saab had a greater carrying capacity than all but one of them.

    I'm going to miss the size of the trunk. I'm also going to miss watching hours of CNN in the waiting room down at the Saab dealership.

  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,111
    If you want to get a good deal on a Viggen next year, I'd say go with the 5 door, not the convertible. I had a 2002 SE Convertible as a loaner when I brought my 2000 9-3 5 Door in for service a few weeks ago. WHile it was really cool to have a convertible for the day (especially since it was 60 degrees in the afternooon), the blind spots with the top up were really bad, and structural rigidity seemed to be non-existent with the top down (Read SHOOK LIKE A LEAF). The car felt slower due to the weight increase in the convertible. I noticed the difference while I was driving the convertible, but they were even more apparent when I got back in my car. My 5 door accelerated quicker (even with the less powerful 185hp engine) and felt as solid as my Mom's old 1990 Mercedes-Benz 300E.

    2001 Honda Prelude Type SH/ 2011 BMW 328xi / 2011 Honda Pilot EX-L w/ Navigation

  • jas28jas28 Posts: 50
    Your service department had CNN? I wasn't so lucky - all I got was the opportunity to read the same "History of the Saab 900" book about 500 times. (At least my service department had soda and Starbucks coffee for free. I got to sample it all too many times.)
  • smu1976smu1976 Posts: 110
    O.k. it's not Colorado Springs, but what do they teach you in the Viggen Academy? Any grads out there? Any recent buyers of the Viggen and deals out there yet?
  • dstraudstrau Posts: 17
    Any suggestions rather than paying the ridiculous dealer prices?????have checked a few websites on and have come up empty handed
  • First off all I can say is stay rebate is large enough to put up with this car. You can read my earlier posts from a year ago about all the positives of this car which there are many....but here are the negatives:
    1) Rattles rattles and more rattles. And if it doesn't rattle it squeaks, thumps,scrapes and any other adjective you can think of. To give you an idea I had an 1988 ford with 107K miles on it that was worlds quieter and better put together.
    2)Here's a list of other things that went wrong:
    keep in mind the car has 14K miles...
    Front suspension bushings replaced to remedy a cheap rubbery loud sound when going over speed bumps and to fix the loud thump when going over railroad tracks( I'm talking a thump so loud you pull over to make sure the wheels are still attached)I don't think this is all the car needed but this is all that was fixed after two days.
    The Saab Information display has moisture behind in and was illegible and on its was to burnt out..this was replaced too..Of course this will cost you $500 when the warranty is up. Then the engine light comes on during a u-turn...I laugh and keep driving cause its not gonna be my problem much longer..actually traded it today
    3)Customer service is horrible at the dealer and Saab could care less..I took the time to fill out their survey for service and asked to be contacted regarding the loaner car policy and problems I was having with the car but I was never contacted.
    All I can say is keep shopping ..don't be lured in by the rebates
  • exlegendexlegend Posts: 22
    Sorry to hear about all of your problems. My wife just picked up an '02 9-3SE Saturday and loves it. Why not? All of 100 miles on it so far! I'll admit this is the first car I've ever LEASED, having owned Acuras for the past 15 years, and while they've become somewhat bland, still exhibit near bullet-proof reliability. Hopefully, the problems have been confined to the 1999 through 2001 models, no offense.

    We normally keep our cars 7 to 10 years, with excellent maintenance complementing basic reliability from the factory. I got a little ansy with some of the posts (nyccarguy and huntzinger, to name two) on this site, so, with a money factor of near zero and only 36 months of "ownership," we gave the 9-3 a try. My wife learned to drive on a Sonnet and believes a Saab and a 5-speed is the way to go. We'll see.

    When did all of this heartache start with Saab ownership? When GM bought into Saab? Are there ANY 9-3 owners out there with 1999s through 2001s with positive ownership experiences?
  • I'm not saying that the 9-3 does not have good does..awesome seats, acceleration, handling and an a/c that stands up to the heat hear in Phoenix Az. However a car in this price range should not rattle apart after 1 year of mostly pampered driving. Furthermore the problems I experienced were simply not acceptable in a car that is only a year old...if it sounds like there is a crack baby with a rattle in the back seat at 14K miles what will it sound like at 60 or 80K miles??? I shudder to think because this started at 1500 miles and progressively got worse. Display failure, suspension problems and a check engine light just show the poor build quality. I should also mention that while i was waiting for the service manager to locate a loaner car (which i had to fight for even though they kept the car for 2 full days..again not acceptable when the brochure states loaner vehicles for warranty work) I noticed a repair order for a 99 9-3SE with 56K miles....1)Coolant light stays on
    2)Enginge has oil leak
    3)Engine making abnormal noises
    Besides this I have watched several Saab owners get the bad news of their repairs while waiting for my car to be serviced...$1000+ repair bills and they all left annoyed in rental cars. I do wish you luck on your 9-3...but i'd give it back when the lease is up and get another acura
  • huntzingerhuntzinger Posts: 350
    I'll admit this is the first car I've ever LEASED...

    If I really had my mind set on another Saab, I think I would have leased instead of risking all the headaches that I did. I'd also make sure to have extensive ("extended") warranty up the wazoo to make sure that there's absolutely no doubt that Saab pays for everything - right down to windshield washer fluid :-)

    Overall, this reminds me of a conversation I had at a PCA meeting several years ago, although the subject of discussion was a Range Rover.

    At that time (not sure if this is still true), Rovers were plagued with electrical gremlins and the owner's advice was "the perfect vehicle to Lease instead of buying", based on the ability to be able to walk away from it.

    So if we were to suggest a new topic of:

    "You had better lease these vehicles instead of buying them, because of their poor reliability"

    ...what would we put on that list today, with the Saab 9-3?

  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,111
    There are many positive attributes to my Saab. It is a blast to drive (even with a slushbox), the seats are great, The leather is showing no signs of wear even after almost 3 years (not a long time, but still), the ride, the handling, the acceleration. You made the right decision by leasing (especially coming from Acuras). I've had no major problems with my car (knock on wood), and most of huntzinger's problems occured after the magical warranty period was up. Another poster here has had problems from the get go. Enjoy the car!

    2001 Honda Prelude Type SH/ 2011 BMW 328xi / 2011 Honda Pilot EX-L w/ Navigation

  • maynardf1maynardf1 Posts: 127
    The lease on our '99 9-3 just expired, and we got something completely different (saturn vue, fwiw), but we loved the car for the most part.
    Coming from a '95 900 that had many problems, including a water pump pulley that cracked and took out several engine components with it -- later the subject of a recall.
    The worst thing about the 9-3 was the manual climate control, as many have said. But once the control box was replaced, it worked great.
    There were rattles, but I was able to eliminate most with some foam tape, especially on the rear seats where they meet the upper strut and detach for folding down.
    We had a 5-speed and that's the way to go, imo.
    Another great thing is the safety of the car. I was hit once in the 900, in the front driver's side by truck coming through red light, and once in the 9-3, rear-ended at a stop.
    Neither was a severe accident, but I could drive to the dealer both times and was not hurt at all. The anti-whiplash head rests performed beautifully when we were hit from behind.
    Overall, I'd say the car can be frustrating when it's rattling or the suspension is creaking on a very cold day. But when it's right (and mine was most of the time) it's a joy to drive.
    Hope you and your wife have 3 great years in it.
  • jas28jas28 Posts: 50
    THe car is fun to drive, but should NEVER be owned outright. The reliability just isn't there. Besides, I refuse to put felt tape on a car to quite the rattles when when it's supposed to be competative with a BMW 3-series.

    Only 14 weeks until I can dump my car back on the dealer.

    Anybody ever tried to get out of the disposal fee charged on leases? I'm thinking about asking for an exception since my car has had SOOOOOOO many problems, I could never even consider buying it out at the end of the lease.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,111
    with the amount of problems you've had, I'd be happy to pay them to take the car off your hands! LOL!

    2001 Honda Prelude Type SH/ 2011 BMW 328xi / 2011 Honda Pilot EX-L w/ Navigation

  • dstraudstrau Posts: 17
    Knopck on wood.nothing mechanical yet.for 9 months.just some annoying watrranty stuff.rattle in back,(a Saab trademark!!!!!!) power seat console on driver side came loose but still works.and brakes squeak (only in reverse!!!)
This discussion has been closed.