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Saab 9-3 Sedan



  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    > Are all of the 9-3 convertibles turbos?

    Yeah, they all have been turbos for a while. They have come in 185, 205 and 230HP flavors. You can get them all up to 230HP easily with aftermarket products that aren't all that expensive.

    > Are they reliable or should I get the
    > aftermarket warranty?

    The engine is supposed to be a longevity wonder. The car is a dated design, which has pros and cons: it's proven and sorted out, but it is also flexier than some more recent designs.

    > Anything to lookout for while making the
    > purchase?

    The major issue seem to be interior squeaks and rattles. Drive the car, and not only over rpistine pavement, to see if you can live with that. Mind you, most queaks and rattles can be fixed, but they'll eventually turn up again.

    I got an '02 SE convertible, full spec, last year and have loved it. It is quirkier and an acquired taste, but I like the unique value proposition a lot. New as it is, the dealer had to fix several squeaks in the interior.
  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    Was the firm ride you felt for a vehicle without the Sports Wheels Package?

    Ride comfort is of course an extremely subjective thing. The 9-3 doesn't ride as comfortably as, say, a Passat, but it doesn't have the Passat's body roll or softness in corners.

    What kind of tires were on the vehicles you've driven? E.g. some 9-3's have the Pilot Sport HX MXM4's, which are pretty good (not great, though), but they are a bit noisey and do affect ride comfort. Some dealerships, but not all, will let you swap tires, e.g. for Michelin MXV4+'s.

    Finally, proper tire inflation helps too. It's amazing how many dealer demos aren't inflated correctly.

    That all said, though, the vehicle does ride firmly and I can see your concerns with ride comfort.
  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    IMHO, the A4 isn't played out as it's still pretty new (released in the U.S. for the 2002 model year, I believe).

    It does have trade-offs, however. The A4 has some pros and cons over the 9-3.

    - Smaller on the inside; especially the rear seat and trunk.
    - First-year reliability not good.
    - European crash test scores good but not as good as the 9-3.
    - No anti-whiplash head restraints.
    - With the automatic and quattro, the 1.8T strains to really move the vehicle; lots of folks opt for the manual or have to go to the more expensive 3.0.

    + More luxurious and refined inside than the 9-3.
    + Better resale.
    + More prestige if that matters to the buyer.
    + quattro makes a big difference, for sure-footedness if you live in a colder climate, and nice handling even if you don't.
    + Scheduled maintenance for 4 years instead of 3 IIRC.
    + Available in a wagon (Avant) trim).

    Ultimately it comes down to price, though. I think the way Saab has MSRP'ed the 9-3 means that discounts are inevitable, as I don't think that most mainstream buyers will buy a same-priced 9-3 over an A4 (especially if one can get quattro at a similar price). But Saab dealers are aggressively discounting so we all win, and the 9-3 thus stands out really well vs. the A4.
  • vmguam: I completely agree with you in your A4 vs 93 debate as I was in the same situation a couple of weeks ago. Both are great cars, but the discounts and the stupendous low financing offered by SAAB were like a magnet and made the 93more attractive... Under the same circumstances (i.e. no discount and normal financing) I probably would have selected the A4. As an example, the MSRP of my car was 31,610 (launch, touring, 17” wheels. heated seats) while a fully loaded A41.8T 5sp Quattro is $31,681.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    I drove the G35 several weeks ago (6?) and I remember being blown away by it. However, my memory of the subtleties of the drive are gone, and after driving four BMW's in the last few days, I not so sure anymore.

    I remember the speed and the cornering of the G35, but I just can't remember well enough to compare the tightness, refinement, or comfort of the G35 vs. the BMW's I have recently driven.

    The BMW's just have this feeling of oneness, of supreme confidence and competence that I have not experienced in many cars before.

    Before I make a final decision, I will need to drive the G35 and 9-3 Arc back to back with the BMW to truly decide where my priorities lie.

    And I must admit, if I go for the BMW, I don't know if I'll settle for the 325i, so I'm probably looking at $35K for a 330i...which is a little more expensive than the 9-3 or G35.

    Decisions, decisions...
  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    Understood. The BMW does have that exalted driving feeling. While overhyped in the vehicle marketing, it's definitely based on truth. Seems like every manufacturer tries to copy it but they always come up slightly short. Question is always if that n-th degree is worth it.

    Agreed that a back-to-back test is in order. Perhaps when the Arc hits the showrooms Real Soon Now.

    BTW, besides Carter Saab in Seattle, and Barrier Saab in Bellevue, you may or may not have heard that a third Saab dealership is opening up in Fife. It'll be a Cadillac/Saab dealership, an interesting combination that does reflect the corporate roots.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    Fife is a great location for a car is another factor in my decision that I didn't mention. For example:

    I went to Bellevue Saab for my Linear test drive and thought the salespeople were uninformed, and rather low quality. Traffic in and out of Bellevue is a nightmare too...and what's up with that trailer they have for a "showroom?"

    Also, I remember the Infiniti salesman told me they are opening a Tacoma dealership too...probably in Fife as well, I'm guessing. That's a plus because I wouldn't want to go to Kirkland every time I need service.

    You're right about the BMW though. I plan on keeping this car for a long time and want to be completely satisfied. BMW offers tangible superiority in performance and general road worthiness, something I'm willing to pay a premium a certain extent.
  • logic1logic1 Posts: 2,433
    Thanks. I will start looking seriously in March when the Arc debuts. I do plan to keep all posted here.

    I have seen one new red 9-3. I thought the car looked very good in red. The red is as rich and lustrous as any I have seen south of Ferrari. Red really brings out the clean lines of the new design.

    Be warned, it is very bold. The car will definitely be noticed. I am leaning toward the dolphin with the parchment interior myself.
  • jdisanjdisan Posts: 28
    Still a Vector fan, but it seeems like every week a new car is being introduced into this sub $35k "sports sedan" segment. Has anyone test driven the new c230 sports sedan yet (not the coupe) with the six speed?? Or checked it out at all?
  • rgc2200: In a previous post you mentioned that you added steel accents to the interior of your vehicle. I'm looking to add something like that to enhance the appearance of my interiors. I looked at the saab catalog and I couldn't find anything other the wood and carbon fiber interiors. Could you please let me know where did you get it from and how much were the accessories + installation? Thanks.
  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    I went to both Barrier Saab and Carter Saab. I'm not sure if you went to Barrier's old location on Bel-Red, or their new spot co-located with Barrier Audi. The new spot is quite cramped, though. Barely enough room for customer parking!

    I had a negative experience with Carter Saab and am still working on my letter to the dealership/Saab USA. BTW, Carter is in a ramshackle old building with about four customer spots (!) but they are moving to a new building (along with their VW dealership).

    Yes, if you're planning to keep your sports sedan for a long time, you definitely should be happy with it. I suspect the BMW, and maybe the G35, would be the best route to it. Only other vehicle is the MB C230K Sedan but that is not cheap.

    In my own situation, I've decided to lease a 9-3 for a number of reasons. I'm willing to overlook some of its negatives (e.g. less luxury in the Linear, concerns over long-term reliability) since, worse case, it's just three years.
  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    Just out of curiousity, did you ask your dealership about the availability of accessories? I'm a bit confused because much of the Saab on-line catalog says "99-". Does that mean that a lot of the interior accessories from the previous 9-3 fit the current one? Or does it mean that they don't have much stuff for the new 9-3?
  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    I didn't test drive the C230K Sedan with the six-speed. But if it was the same price, I would buy the MB, period. I think it's even safer than the Saab, it has good power, will have better resale, handles better (RWD), and is simply a more refined and luxurious vehicle. At least once you get past the aluminum trim.

    However, the C230K Sedan is relatively expensive when you equip it, and there are no incentives yet. So it was out of my price range.

    Overall, the vehicles I was most interested in were separated by $2k-$3k apiece (once equipped to the level i wanted):

    - VW Passat
    - Saab 9-3 Sports Sedan Linear
    - Audi A4 1.8T quattro
    - MB C230 Kompressor Sports Sedan

    And IMHO, the equation was Passat < 9-3 < A4 < C230K SS.
  • rgc2200: In a previous post you mentioned that you added steel accents to the interior of your vehicle. I'm looking to add something like that to enhance the appearance of my interiors. I looked at the saab catalog and I couldn't find anything other the wood and carbon fiber interiors. Could you please let me know where did you get it from and how much were the accessories + installation? Thanks.
  • I did test drive the c230 last year with 2.3l engine... First it impressed me when I drove on the curry road. But feel under power. Interior is so small , trunk also tiny too.
    My neighbor got one of it. The more I look the more I feel luck for didn't go for it.
    about the incentives I found that in other discuss room someone got $2500 off the MSRP for 2002 model when he bought it at 2002.
    Yes, for RWD on c230 is great on corning. Then I do the same thing on 9-3 I don't feel much different.
    about the 9-3 accessries cat. I picked up from dealer, it's new. Still not many of them, but there are some new feature you can add in on the 9-3.
  • Saab has an accessory catalog for the new 9-3. I really like the steel look of the shift knob, door handles so I added the instrument accents, steering wheel inserts and plate around the manual shifter. They will make available accents on the door. I also purchased the heavy duty winter mats in grey, which are very protective and will not wear down at all.

    If "new" visitors to this site go back to the early December posts there is alot of discussion similiar to what is happening now, ie Audi, BMW, Mercedes v 9-3. I test drove all of the above. I just happen to be a idiosyncratic Saab guy. . . lets see I've had my car for 2 months and I've seen exactly one other 9-3 on the road. I've seen in that time thousands of the others. . . In the end, go with your "gut feeling" and I hope you look forward to getting into your car. Anything over 28K you deserve that much!
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    I agree - people who claim it's *all* rational when it comes to car choice should be driving something far more utilitarian than any of the cars discussed in this topic...

    One way or the other, irrational aspects weigh very heavily when it comes to buying a car, and rationalizing it too much becomes very tedious.

    The only thing that matters is that you're happy, and that the car isn't plagued by issues (even though some people put up happily with them if the car choice is irrational enough to start with... I know a friend with Mercedes CL600 that has his car in the shop for some serious malfunction once a month, and yet loves it)...
  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    Well, my gut feeling tells me that I really want an M3, but somehow I can't rationalize the cost. :-)

    Seriously, though, I doubt if any vehicle purchase decision is made on purely rational grounds. Especially a European sedan in the U.S., when there are usually cheaper and/or more reliable Japanese and domestic alternatives.

    The harder part is picking from the array of excellent European vehicles. Sometimes the gut feel will tell you (as I suspect it will for fedlawman if the price is reasonable), sometimes it won't if you find the vehicles close in your passions.

    Saab obviously can't rely on its hard-core fan base and stay in business, so it was crucial that they created a vehicle that fits mainstream requirements too. They have succeeded.
  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    Hmm the C230K you drove must have been the coupe then and not the Sedan? The Sedan has considerably more space than the coupe (which is shorter, and narrow in the rear). Looks a lot better too IMHO. Though it still has a smaller trunk than the 9-3's and slightly less passenger space too.

    I think the 9-3 gets close to the MB in terms of safety, which is saying a lot. And the 9-3 arguably exceeds the Volvo S60 in that department too. All this and sporty handling at a great price!
  • I heard somewhere along the line that the launch packages witll be discontinued come March, post arc and vector styles. I was a bit suspicious about this at first, but after hearing that PatrickSaab doesn't plan on getting any more linear's with launch, I'm guessing it may be legit. I don't understand the rationale of all this; is it to promote buying the arc which will then have, in comparison, even more benefits?
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