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Saab 9-3 Sedan



  • larscalarsca Posts: 60
    I just went to the GM all out test drive in Irvine, CA. They had Corvettes, Cadillacs, Hummers, and SAABs (among others). Having been interesed in test driving a 9-3 for a while, I jumped at the chance to try one out on their track. This was the 9-3 with the big engine and airflow kit, so I was expecting some serious performance. Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure the turbo had broke on this particular vehicle, because NOTHING happened when I put the hammer down. It accelerated like a Geo Metro, so that must have been due to a faulty turbo charger, right?

    This was a test vehicle so I understand that every one and their momma had been in this car, but still... The power seat was broken, the plastic "Oh [non-permissible content removed]"-handle on the passenger side had fallen off, a couple of buttons were coming lose... On and on, the list of things not holding up on this car was long. I would like to hear from you guys who bought a SAAB 9-3 and have owned it for a while, what's your impression of how the interior holds up?
  • My Saab has 20k on it since November 2002. And everything still hold well. Even I got hit so hard on the second days of ownership, you can refer to long previous post to see what I had happen. Feel sad for that dealer did not maintain their car for test drive.
  • OK, a few things...

    (1) A see a lot of posts with people complaining about the 9-3. Ever car has problems. I've had a few, but the dealer fixed the all (mainly rattles). Had a few other misc. issues -- but nothing that hasn't since been fixed. Fact is, many people will "speak up" about problems. Less people will speak about about "good news". It is human nature. But I have no issues with it. I'd rather see the "dirt" aired. This web site helped me pick my Saab 9-3 over the new A4 and Maxima. And I'm still glad I did.

    (2) Is the car perfect? Heck no. But what car is? I've had many cars (expensive and cheap) and they all had their own special problems.

    (3) The car rides nice. And it has a unique look. It is very fun to drive. And it was CHEAP. Especially with the "Launch Package" they sold on the 2003 models.

    (4) The car gets unreal gas mileage for a good sized 4-door with a nice engine. It is no Ferrari, but it does get up and move. I have friends with smaller cars that get worse gas mileage. The EPA highway rating was 30 MPG -- but I get 33-35 MPG all the time (doing about 75-80 MPH on average). That is good. Especially for a mere 5-speed.

    (5) I don't know why Saab got rid of Cosmic Blue. I'm glad I got mine. =8)

    (6) There seems to be an increasing number of new 9-3s out there. I used to see none. Now I see at least three a day (one in the same lot that I park in for work).

    (7) As for the message topic, "Too Many Saabs" -- I was in West Hollywood yesterday having lunch and parked in a underground garage. Walking back to my car after eating, I saw another 9-3 parked right next to mine. It was also a 2003 Cosmic Blue model. Same wheels and everything. There was another person walking next to us (towards their car) and when they split off to the let (going away from where we were -- so I knew it wasn't the person that parked right next to me) I commented to my friend, "look at that copy-cat, they *had* to park right next to me."

    Then, the person who was previously walking next yelled out, "Yea, that is why I parked over here."

    I swung around, and there was a 3rd 2003 Cosmic Blue model in the lot, about 5 cars down.

    Heh. Oops. Me and my big mouth.

    (8) Oh, Saab has been running ads here like crazy (on TV and in the paper). The finally got smart and instead of having "friendly" ads that talked only about the Saab -- they now have a commercial that bluntly compares the Saab 9-3 to the Audi A4. That is how you do marking, not that other "friendly" foo-foo.
  • Hey all - I posted an early message concerned about my tires, and a clunking noise coming from the front. Has anyone else had these problems? and if so what did Saab do about them?
  • (1) Go to the dealer.

    (2) Tell them the problem.

    (3) Insist (if they don't offer) they loan you a tech.

    (4) Put the tech in your passenger seat.

    (5) Drive around with the tech and demonstrate the problem.

    (6) Now that tech actually HEARS problem, they can look for it and fix it.

    Simply documenting it never works. I know this sounds funny. But it helped me a great deal.
  • I just bought the last '03 Linear 5 speed at my local Saab dealer last week for a steal. You can't ignore a car like this when it's priced well below a comparably equipped GLS. My car has the driver's package available in 2003 and has the upgraded Infotainment system (only without the 300 Watt system). This car is a blast to drive and has every bell and whistle I'll ever need.

    I just have a few questions for the other owners out there:

    1.) Can anyone suggest a good powered subwoofer or other stereo upgrade that is reasonably priced? The 7 speaker 150 Watt system is good, but doesn't really deliver at higher volumes.

    2.) What's up with the trunk release button on the trunk lid? I just tried opening the trunk with all doors unlocked and nothing happened. If I press the button with the trunk open I hear the latch mechanism working. Also if I close the trunk and immediately press the button it will open. I called the dealer about this and the guy said that he didn't even realize there was button back there in the first place.....any thoughts? I'm pretty sure it should open if all of the doors are unlocked without needing the key fob.

    I love this car and would recommend it to anyone looking for a great driver's car with personality.
  • I've held off buying a Saab for the moment largely because I find the dash too shiny and the infotainment center too confusing for using whilst driving. After seeing the interior on the SportHatch and fully understanding that it is 'concept' material, I wondered if GM would simplify and handsomize the instrument center stack in the 9-3 series.

    Any idea when/if this may happen?

    Dr. Daryl, with an enquiring mind.............

    PS: After driving the Saab 9-3 Aero and 4 Acuras (TSX auto, TSX manual, TL auto, TL manual...all 2004's), the car that left me the most satisfied overall with the 'drive' was the Saab. I've not yet identified exactly why, but still that is what stuck with me the most. Especially since the TL with the 6-speed is devastatingly fast.
  • Not sure what you mean by too shiny. The entire center stack is matte black - the soft rubberized compound.
  • The dash itself: matte
    The big, surrounding area: too glossy for my taste and plastic looking. Couple that with the late 1970's-technology green-screen and the presentation as a whole comes off looking decidedly cheap.

    But that is strictly personal opinion. :-)

    FWIW, the new Acura TL and it's blue/white/red LED display does pale significantly in the sunshine. I had to turn the brightness all the way up for it to be comfortable to read at a glance. The Saab's instrument cluster was much easier to comprehend whilst driving.

    Thanks for all the input too.
    Dr. Daryl
  • 3and143and14 Posts: 36
    DrDaryl; as you said it's a matter of personal taste with the dash. Upon first glance I was not thrilled with it, but it has grown on me after 2 months of familiarity.

    I can't for the world comprehend why some find it "cheap". Basic maybe, utilitarian (except for the infernal infotainment system), but not "cheap".

    I like the green lighting and it was a small factor in deciding on Saab over Acura; the electroluminescent gauges in Acuras seem gimmicky by comparison, as does the red lighting in many other cars such as the Mazda6s with the sport package. I find such treatments a step toward the tacky 80s digital dash in comparison with the "classic" look of the 9-3.
  • drdaryljdrdarylj Posts: 9
    I agree.

    Prior to test driving anything, I felt that the blue LEDs of the TL were incredibly cool. They are except in regular daylight where they became harder to view.

    Of all the vehicles I drove, the Saab's instrument cluster was the easiest to process mentally and understand while driving.

    What is actually holding me up from placing an order ( I want an Arc w/ no sunroof) is that unworkable infotainment center. I *hope* for either 2005 or 2006 that aspect changes for the better.

    Interestingly enough, the Acura TL has a very highly rated stereo system, yet to me the Saab had a 'better' sound to it. Yes, there is less bass than the American ear is used to, but thats the way we Scandihovians are. The clarity and dynamic expression are splendid. But that is another topic entirely. :-)

    It seems the infotainment center frustrates you yes? Is it the kind of thing where it is easy to set up a basic grouping one likes and simply leave it at that...say radio station display, temp, and time?

    Thanks for any input along that line,
    Dr. Daryl still seriously interested in a Saab
  • drdaryljdrdarylj Posts: 9
    I forgot the last half of my question in the above post so here it is:

    Does your parking brake and matching accessory handle ( the exact word of the thing fails me at the moment but as an owner, you likely know just what I'm talking about...) have huge, rough areas of flashing along the mould parting lines? All 4 of the 9-3's I've been in had them. One was a 2003 Linear, two were 2004 Aero's, and one was an '04 Aero. I was dismayed to be sitting in a $38.5K car and find that.

    Utilitarian doesn't bother me one bit. I prefer, for example, Arcam stereos. Basic looking, but fabulous performance.

    Where "cheap" begins to enter the picture (my opinion only) is the texture/sheen of the main dash. I had cheapy-toys as a kid that had that exact look. The sun-visors also seem to have a chintzy feel. Couple that with the huge amounts of flash present in the center and it makes me begin to worry about their attention to detail as a brand.

    Please understand this is just commentary and I've all but ruled out Volvo for my next purchase and I say that as a Volvo S-70GLT owner. The Saab rates very, very high for me still.

    And what European Car magazine has to say about the 03 Vector has me even more interested.

    Dr. Daryl
  • sastrybsastryb Posts: 6
    Does anyone know if Saab has decided to proceed with bringing the 9-3 Sport Hatch to market? If so, do you know what model year they are hoping to introduce it?
  • buddhabmanbuddhabman Posts: 252
    I thought the 9-3 SportHatch was a definite go. Particularly after the Saab CEO showed it along with the debut of the 9-2X in Detroit. I saw the introduction video at the GM medial Online website. The Saab site still has a prominent link to it.

    The 9-3 Aero is sharp car. I though the interior of the Aero 9-3's was equal to the similar models of BMW - 3 Series, Infiniti - G35, Lexus -IS300, Acura - TL. There is new chip stuff for the Saab 9-3, Parts for Saabs lists the PPC by BSR of Sweeden. This device ups the HP to 245+ and the TRQ to 285+, it lists for about $850-$900. The sweet thing about this device is that you can switch it back to normal trionic 8 tune whenever you need. There are some other tunning items out there from Abbott racing and Wigwam Saab, that are fairly straight foward and would probably keep your warranty in tact.
  • 3and143and14 Posts: 36
    Yes, I have some flashing on the "matching accessory handle" (the so-called credit card holder) but the parking brake finish is OK. I don't blame you for being disappointed in such failings for a car stickering well into the 30's.

    As far as the Infotainment system, it's fairly simple to find an informational display and leave it, although I don't recall if that exact combination you specified is available. The usability problem isn't the display so much as the numerous buttons on the dash and steering wheel; this is exacerbated by the On Star controls which don't function since I passed on that option.

    buddhabman, that chip set sounds very interesting. I'll take a look. Must be sure about that warranty however!
  • brucec35brucec35 Posts: 246
    Perhaps some of you guys are missing something on the "cheap" bits in the interior and the "stickering into the 30's".

    The car's interior does not get substantially upgraded from the base linear level as you go up in models. You get what is basically a $26,500 car's interior. At that price it's pretty good. I actually like the more spartan look too, though I prefer the rich warmth of the Acura's wood and materials.

    A loaded Aero priced $11,000 over a decently equipped Linear will leave you wanting more in interior quality. But with real-world prices for more modest models around the price of a Camry or loaded Altima, it's harder to complain. I love our 9-3 Linear, but the car makes less sense the higher you go up in price. Our Linear Launch w/all the options was $31,000. A BMW 325 comparably equipped would have a nicer interior but would also cost about $6,000 more.

    And a $26,000 less well equipped with toys Linear bought today with a quick 6 minute flash $1000 computer upgrade will at least equal a $36,000 stock Aero in performance. Probably quicker to 60mph. I can live w/o the seat inserts, rain sensing gizmos, notchy 6 speed shifter, metal trim (can be fixed for under $400)etc. Nice, but not worth the price.

    Japanese cars give you more bang for the buck in terms of features and quality than European ones. Fact of life. For a nicer interior in a euro car you'll need to bring more cash. The new Acura TL is hard to beat. But it's not fair to compare every car to this long time sport sedan value leader.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
  • kohinahikohinahi Posts: 103
    Hi! I don't know if I'm going to be out of protocol by asking what people paid for their cars, but forums are meant to help the average consumer and so I'll take the jump and ask what people are paying for their 9-3 Arcs??
    We are looking to purchase an Arc and any help with price and the corresponding detail in options would be greatly appreciated.....Currently, I think I might be able to swing the supplier price which includes about $675 dealer holdback (Consumer Reports new car pricing service) less a $3000 incentive - which puts the car is a great price range.
    I'll just put down the specs we're looking for:
    NO sunroof, Cold weather package, Park Assist and Xenon headlights.

    Your help in getting a good grasp of the price I might expect to pay would be greatly appreciated.

    P.S. Is is standard practice for SAAB dealers to share their factory invoice with you? This invoice shows not only the supplier price, but also a GM employee price......any thoughts???
  • kohinahikohinahi Posts: 103
    Let me also share my “tipnee” (pronounce as ‘tip-knee’ – Hindi equivalent for ‘2 cents’). Ever since the TL came out in 1998 (me thinks!) that was the one car I wanted. So now that we could finally afford one we decided to test-drive (I had my checkbook with a signed blank check!) the new 2004 TL. I had just driven my buddy’s new 2003 3.2TL on which he got a fantastic deal. After driving his car, I was confident that the new TL with 270HP would leave his in the dust. I have never ever been as disappointed as that first time I pressed on the gas. The new TL just didn’t have that initial torque. It is a fantastic car to drive if you can maintain speeds above 70 mph for long stretches, but the reality is that most people just do inner-city driving. The initial lag was just unbearable. I’ve never seen a salesman’s jaw drop as it did when I responded to his question by saying that the car sucked. He could not believe that somebody who had been so considerate and kind just a few minutes ago could be so brutally honest and just plain damn MEAN!!

    I have not given up on the TL YET!!! I intend to drive a different car at a different dealership – this dealership had just one demo with about 1700 miles on it.

    We also drove the:
    Acura TSX – better initial torque, loose steering at 55+ mph – caused swaying.

    BMW 325i – Very sporty, Great car, great handling, great brakes, great everything except price. To quote a recent review – “it could do with more power”

    A4 – Very sporty, great exterior/interior finish, Smooooooth CVT transmission – though I would prefer to ‘feel’ a sports-sedan. One major factor – BAD brakes! (In this class, of course!!)

    G35 – All the power, all the time – 100% sports mode. Did not like the odd/mis-matched shades of color in the interior and the lack of thought put into ergonomics…no telescopic steering, oddly placed seat controls – just small stuff. Power-plant was awesome, little disappointed with the Xenon light coverage area.

    IS300 – Very Sporty, a little crammed, confusing display, a little vanilla – we thought!

    And of course, the SAAB 9-3 Linear and Arc. Just thought I’d clarify something for the purists shaking their heads at my assessment…….in all fairness, I drove ONLY the steptronic, tiptronic, sentronic transmissions…….can’t buy a stick because of the wife. I personally feel it is a waste of money to buy a performance car with an automatic transmission…there is some redemption with these manu-matic transmissions.

    Continuing on to the SAAB. I fly planes (haven’t in the past 4 years, but I like to talk in the present tense!), so naturally I’d like to try out the SAAB. My wife did not even want to stop at the SAAB dealership en route to test drive the G35.

    I told her we’ll be in-out in two minutes. We didn’t make it to the Infiniti dealership that evening. Initially the car seemed OK, little odd, she was not too impressed. Then we got the key and our eyes perked-up. Hmmm…this is little different…a bit cool! Then I tried putting it in the traditional slot and the lady went…“try the center console” We were like, “Whoa..this is cool!” Then she went through the features and asked me to crank up the engine….EVERYTHING came to life!!! I was instantly transported to my plane cockpit. I could hear all my alarms and beeps go off in my head. It was awesome. I loved it. I could not wait to take it for a test-drive. I almost yanked the lady’s arm from her shoulder while closing the door and I think I mumbled something like, “I’ll bee baackk!”

    The first step on the gas pedal was fantastic and just amazingly responsive, the car (in auto mode) was doing what I expected it to do,. I had this huge grin on my face…..I think it was the same grin that I had when doing 90 degree, 3.5g turns for the first time in a Cessna.

    I moved it to manual and it drove like a dream. My wife drove it and she had the same exact grin on her face. We just LOVED the car. It was just very well coordinated with what we expected from a sports-sedan. BTW, this was the Linear, so just a 175 HP. We came back and talked price and we were just amazed…..we could get a fully loaded vehicle for the price of a base 325i with automatic transmission. We were sold and asked the sales-lady to look for one with the options we wanted.

    My wife was very enthusiastic about the SAAB, but being smart consumers decided to test drive the two remaining cars in this class and our budget – the G35 and Audi A4. She also wanted to test-drive the beamer again.

    We test drove all of them and though the G35 is a not-so-close second choice, we were very surprised that we dropped the 325i from the list. We felt that the 325i seemed a little underpowered.

    So we will test drive the TL again this weekend, and probably have a SAAB located by the coming Monday.

    In conclusion, we made multiple trips to each dealer, and test drove some cars twice, but every time I go to the SAAB dealership, I itch to drive – I just want to take it out. I do not feel the same with the G35 or the BMW.

    Many people have voiced not-so-positive opinions about the complex controls and display – I feel that a car should have something challenging to keep you excited. My wife and I personally LOVE the display – she loves having the information in her line-of-sight! And I’m sure I will appreciate it even more once I learn how to work everything.

    So I think it comes down to two major reasons we’re looking at getting a SAAB:
    1. My wife for the first time in her life is really excited about something technical/mechanical/electrical/etc., and,
    2. Every time we drive it we have that BIG GRIN on our face!!
  • mrblonde49mrblonde49 Posts: 626
    I have an '03 Arc, and I paid about $500 over invoice (less rebates) when I bought almost a year ago. But that was also right after the Arc and Vector hit the street. I think that you can now get it for invoice. That would be my target.

    The dealer showed me the invoice before I even asked, and I know that has happened with pelnty of others, so I would think it's common practice.

    Good luck. Let us know what happens
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