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Saab 9-3 Sedan



  • has anyone purchased the stereo-upgrade offered by saab for the 93s?
    i'm debating whether to get it done elsewhere or to order it to the dealer's via saabstore. any suggestions/ opinions?
  • filimonfilimon Posts: 7
    Anyone tried these on the 9-3? Any complaints about sore butts? etc. Since rear seating is always a challenge, it seems that these might save space.

    Please let me know your comments.

  • ambullambull Posts: 255
    Saab has tweaked the Trionic 8 engine management system to smooth power delivery.
  • filimonfilimon Posts: 7
    Lot's of different numbers presented in previous messages. Please help me understand.

    Some of you are saying invoice +500 minus the 3K discount????

    Or are we confusin MSRP and "invoice"?

    Please clarify, I am anxious to pull trigger.
  • mrblonde49mrblonde49 Posts: 626
    Yes, what you wrote is a good deal. Nets out to $2500 below invoice - and, depending on options, roughly $4000 to $4200 below MSRP
  • filimonfilimon Posts: 7
    OK. All hype and new car honeymoon aside.

    1. For those of you with many months of 2003 9-3 miles behind you, has your opinion changed?

    2. Do the bells and whistles ring less clearly?

    3. Does the performance stay as tight?

    4. Reliability?

    5. Comfort?

    6. Do any of you LOVE your 9-3?

    7. Are there options you bought but don't need?

    8. Are there options you wish you had bought?

    PS - New 9-3 looks are understated to say the least. This morning i saw a 9-3 but hardly noticed it - it could have been any one of the tens of honda type cars out there. It definitely does not stand out like old form. I can live with that if the "inside" and performance will keep me charmed.

    PPS - looking at reviews of 9-3 and audi, there is a clear difference between the enthusiasm of owners - saab people seem to glow, while audi people spend most of their time on discalimers - "not so roomy", "not so powerful" etc.

  • filimonfilimon Posts: 7
    The light color looks sharp but what happens when I'm a bit grungy and sweaty, or my two kids...

    Dealer says leather is protected, cleans right up, etc. I would like to think that saab thought of this before offering light interior, but who knows.

    Do any of you have good/bad stories about the light colored interior after months of wear and tear????

  • kretch41kretch41 Posts: 13
    I've had my Vector for 3k miles and over three months. (all options except auto trans & touring package ->xeon lights & 6 disc)

    1. I like the car better each road trip I take.

    2. Bells & whistles are fine. I hated dash with the 1000 buttons, but I find I need to use just a few to get things down.

    3. Perf is fine. I stepped up from a 97 Jetta VR6 and am quite impressed with the 4cyl turbo. I love the little turbo whine. 1st gear seems a bit weak (and the turbo gauge never goes into the red zone) but 2-5 gears seem to rock.

    4. OnStar went out after a few days and I only got around to taking it to the dealer a couple of weeks ago. It only took about 5 minutes to fix. Other than that, the only issue is the terrible noises from the doors. See earlier posts about this.

    5. Seats are great..I appreciate the memory on the seats. The back seat is small but I usually only have my nephews there a couple of times each month. They don't complain b/c the rear windows go all the way down.

    6. Love the car. Haven't regretted the purchase at all.

    7. Not really. The Vector does have terribly low ground effects in the front. It looks nice but I have to be really careful about it.

    8. 6 disc would have been nice but not worth it for me. The only other major problem are the tires. I live in chicago and haven't figured out what I am going to do in the winter.

    Hope this helps.
  • dbozmandbozman Posts: 23
    I leased my 2003 9-3 Linear in February. I currently have a touch more than 5k miles on it. Yes, I still love the car. I've had one minor repair, when the ABS module went out. Saab handled it in an exemplary manner; best customer service I've ever had from a car company.

    I haven't had the OnStar activated yet. I have a minor glitch in the display, where miles (dte, etc.) aren't displayed correctly. Will have that fixed when OnStar is activated.

    I find the look of the car to be timeless and classy. I got the 5-speed and still find the clutch action to be, well, a little strange, but I've gotten used to it. Very minor rattles in the door frame. The car could be quieter; road noise even with 16-inch wheels is pretty high. The stereo, even with the software upgrade, is miserable.

    Otherwise, I can't complain. I think, overall, this is the best car I've owned (and I've owned many). I drove everything in class and found the Saab to be the one that spoke loudest to me.
  • filimonfilimon Posts: 7
    9-3 Arc, Steel Grey/Grey Int. - sunroof, touring, etc. - but no sport. I was really stuck on colors for a while but while some of the dark colors look great clean - I can imagine what a NH winter will do. I also preferred parchment but with kids and mud - white just didn't make sense.

    Pick it up Saturday.

    Invoice minus 2500, plus they threw in various knick-knacks I picked from catalog worth a few hundred.

    PS - i had the linear out for a night with sport package and noticed a huge difference in engine power, and much choppier ride w/sport suspension.

    I will report back on how the car treats us.
  • regfootballregfootball Posts: 2,166
    did you also test a Mazda 6s? I thought the Mazda 6 was excellent until i tried the Linear 9-3. I would love to take a Vector out, but i can't afford a vector so i don't want to torture myself.

    I would have to say the TSX is on my list now, as maybe the Maxima and low end a4. BMW 3's are too spendy.

    Oh and GTP?...hahahahaha NOT!
  • frisco5frisco5 Posts: 1
    I have a new Arc just purchased a month ago, couldn't be happier overall, but the slight rattling in both door panels is driving me bonkers, has anyone exp this? Have a fix for it?
  • filimonfilimon Posts: 7
    Your post mentioned linear and vector. Why not opt for the arc if you can't afford vector? Same power as vector (big difference from linear) but smoother ride. Take it for a drive. i wouldn't want the sport suspension any way as it is way to choppy. You feel every teeny tiny pebble and crack in road. Arc is not a loose drive, just smoother ride than vector and thousands less. I got into mine at 31.4K and could have done a wee bit better if I had pressed. Your difference in monthly payments will probably amount to money you throw away anyway.

    Although it may be early for me to be making recommendations - lol - I don't pick up the car for another 46 hours and 28 minutes and 14 seconds.
  • dbozmandbozman Posts: 23
    Yep, drove the Mazda 6s and i, as well as a 325, A4, Passat, S60 and a couple others. Money was obviously as object for me, but I wanted a very nice car. I was also in the market for a lease, rather than a buy.

    It really came down to the A4, Passat and Saab for me. Didn't like the Volvo at all, the BMW was very nice (probably my favorite overall) but was far too spendy. I didn't see any additional value.

    I really did like the Mazda, but it's not really the same "class" of car. Fit and finish are far removed from the Saab. It feels cheaper, but it is fun to drive. I was pretty close on it, actually, but at that time (February), no one could get me even close to the car I wanted and they weren't offering decent lease rates.

    I liked the Passat, but it didn't quite do it for me. I love the A4, but it's a touch small for me (I'm 6'2") and the lease rates were for four years with some out of pocket.

    Once I drove the 9-3 and saw the lease rates Saab was offering at the time, the looking was over. I signed the papers the next day. I have a 3 yr/12k lease with $1k out of pocket, total payments (incl. tax) of $360 a month. I thought it was a very fair deal. Mine's steel gray w/ gray int., too, great color combo.
  • regfootballregfootball Posts: 2,166
    i don't much care for the wood trim in the arc.
  • kpflegerkpfleger Posts: 14
    I've prepared a quantitative analysis comparing many of the best sport sedans, including the 9-3, 330i, A4, C320, G35, etc. The comparison particularly emphasizes safety, but also aims to identify cars that are fun-to-drive. All of the information comes from published results of independent road tests and crash tests. I think the 9-3ss stacks up very well. Since no major changes are in store for any of these vehicles for 2004 (as far as I know), this info should be appropriate for at least the next year.

    Feedback is welcomed. Also, feel free to pass this pointer on to others.


    As link:

  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    Very thorough examination.

    I am curious, though, whether the comparison should have included the MB C230 Kompressor Sports Sedan. It went up against the 9-3 Arc (but not the Linear) in Motor Trend's comparo and fared quite well, at a much lower price. The interior trim is not up to a C320's but neither is a Vector's. I know you went for higher trims, but you'll find the C230K is no slouch in the C-class lineup.

    Some would also argue that the new Acura TSX should be in this comparison. Though it will fall behind the 9-3 in safety, especially given the EuroNCAP scores of the European Accord.

    I disagree with the projection that the 9-3 will have "above average reliability." I don't know if you can base it on the 9-5 as much, especially given how much the 9-3 is part of the "new Saab" with more GM influence than ever. There have been enough posts here that point out concerns. Frankly, I'd be happy with just "average reliability."

    Some notes on the points you brought up.

    - I agree that the 4-star NHTSA scores for the MB's are surprising. We'll see if the 9-3 scores the same or better.

    - Please note that the Brake Assist system on the 9-3 are not as advanced as those on the other vehicles, like the MB. I think the 9-3's is purely mechanical while more advanced systems are electromechanical.

    - The ESP level revision in the Ssab and Audi are one or two versions behind what's in the C-class. They're licensed from either Bosch or Continental-Teves, but I think MB gets the latest versions as part of their original development of ESP. Whether that makes much actual difference in the effectiveness of the stability control system is not known.

    - Does the 9-3 have pretensioners for rear-seat occupants as well? I think some of the vehicles have them for the outboard rear passengers as well. Not a priority if you don't carry rear seat passengers, but certainly an additional safety feature if you do.

    - Since you brought up some value propositions for the vehicle, you should probably include projected resale. Obviously there are no hard and fast numbers but you can start off with lease residuals first, but then compare them not to MSRP (as the residuals are based on) but acquisition cost. Unfortunately, even with deeply discounted selling prices, the 9-3 probably won't fare as well here.

    - Since you also mentioned handling and various characteristics of the vehicle, you should also mention ride comfort. Some of the definition of a true sports sedan is being able to handle sharply, but still have a relatively compliant ride. Not an isolated floaty ride, but absorption of sharp bumps and lack of "business." Unfortunately, 9-3's don't do as well here (I can attest to that based on the seat of my pants), and the Linear is even worse (I'm sure you saw the comments in CR's report). Some of the other vehicles have sport suspensions yet are pretty good at removing harshness from the ride. I'd recommend a comparative series of test drives to see for yourself.

    - Technically the 9-3, C-Class, E-class have EuroNCAP 5-star scores. Personally, I think in such a safety evaluation one should ignore the star ratings and go strictly with the front and side impact scores (and I'm glad you did that in your tables).

    EuroNCAP has compromised their rating system with their recent use of awarding 1 or 2 points to the "crash safety" score based on having seat belt usage warning systems. To me, that's less indicative of crash performance. In fact, if one removes those extra points, there is no vehicle sold in the U.S. that meets the EuroNCAP 5-star criteria (the Volvo XC90 comes the closest, I believe, but is one point shy).

    Nice comparison.
  • kpflegerkpfleger Posts: 14
    Wow, a very thorough response. I'm impressed. You addressed many things I thought about while writing my page, and that I don't expect most people to know. Some responses to the issues you brought up:

    I haven't read the Motor Trend tests of a Linear (Jan) and an Arc (more recently), but I wonder whether something isn't a bit fishy with the Arc they got as a test vehicle because it pretty much got trounced by the Linear in acceleration time and didn't really do any better in their slalom test. I believe the Arc did not have the sport package, but I don't know if the Linear did. If Motor Trend tests a Vector at some point, I'll try to find time to add the numbers to the table. (Same for Road and Track. And I'd love to get the numbers from Car, the British mag, from last December, but it's hard to find back issues in local libraries and the info doesn't seem to be on-line.)

    If I had infinite time, I'd make a parallel table of the lower trims with the C230, a Linear, 325, A4 1.8T, etc.

    Fair enough on reliability. I backed off and changed the text just now to say at least average, which is still quite a bit better than the BMW, Audi, Merc.

    Also, I agree with your comments about the EuroNCAP star system and the belt reminder being a lame way to get 2 more points. I just added a note about that in my footnote about the stars, and yes, that's why I just reported the numbers in the table.

    On the issues of versions of brake assist and ESP and of ride comfort: I decided when I started to make this as objective as possible. In other words, I wanted to stick with published easily available info from uniform sources as much as possible. Things like the version of ESP are just too detailed to be reported in most places. Even if I could find it for one or two vehicles, it would be too much of pain to get it for all of them. Also, as you say, it's pretty clear that stability control is much better than not having it, but it's not clear at all that the latest version is significantly better than the last version. People can test drive and form their own opinions or read the many professional or personal road test reviews about things like ride comfort. There are no objective numbers, just point scales humans put down. I did include noise levels since objective measurements are easily available (and note that Car and Driver had quite a different experience with their Vector than Edmunds had with their early production Linear with 17" tires and no sport suspension).

  • needashaveneedashave Posts: 91
    Both of you have done a great job of analyzing the feature sets of these fine automobiles and I applaud you. However, what you fail to mention is the emotional aspects of an automobile purchase. Namely, how does the car make one feel while behind the wheel. Does it inspire confidence? Does it excite you to take short trips to the 7-Eleven? Some may even argue that the emotional elements play more into a purchase decision than the feature comparos. This is very personal and very subjective stuff, so please don't flame me. When I purchased my Arc, I could just as easily selected a BMW, MB or Audi. Really, all these cars would have provided about the same ownership experience in my opinion. I decided that the Saab was the european car for me for the brief time I will own it, maybe 4 years max. And you know, 4 years from now I may pick a new BMW, MB or Audi. In the meantime, I look forward to driving to 7-Eleven.
  • hungshyhungshy Posts: 74
    I am totally agree what needashave said about that feeling over everything. I did the same thing. while I tried MB c230, BMW3, Audi4, Lexus and saab. Saab is the only one made me feel too excited... even after owning it for 6 months. Now I am still proud to own Saab Linear with textile interior... why? same as that commercial said.. "not like others" Yes, this is the point most driver want... to be different, to be the one.
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