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Saab 9-3 Convertible



  • autoeduautoedu Posts: 47
    Drive your convertible in comfort and style with this headscarf; an official clothing item made exclusively from Saab for its convertible drivers
  • nyfocus1nyfocus1 Posts: 11
    I’m ready to purchase a used convertible. A 2003 9-3 SE is on my very short list. I have never owned a convertible or a SAAB before. I have test driven 2 cars – one with 22,000 miles & the other with 35,000 miles. I have a couple of questions:

    1) The car with lower miles seemed to have quite a bit more of body quiver (or “cowl shake”) than the car with higher mileage. The cars were from different dealerships so the roads were different but I can’t really say one road was bumpier than the other. The saleslady said that with used convertibles, the amount of cowl shake will vary depending on the driving style of the previous owned, the tires (both had P6000 Sport Veloce) and variance in build tolerance. What has been the experience of the people on this board

    2) Regarding the tires, I’ll be driving this car year-around. I live 1 hour north of New York City. How does the car handle snow with basic all-season tires.

    3) I forgot to check to see if the rear seats fold. I called both dealerships – one said yes, the other said no. was this an option?

  • saablcpsaablcp Posts: 195
    1)Cowl shake in '03 and earlier 9 series(9-3 or 900)is very noticeable .The body and platform date back to app.1993.The car was considered to be one of the best all around convertibles at time of introduction(1994)however Saab continued with the same chassis dynamics for an entire decade and the car was very much in need of redesign to be market competitive by the end of it's run in 2003.That being said the completely redesigned 9-3 Arc introduced in 2004 has a body that is 300% stronger in terms of "torsional rigidity"and has virtually no cowl shake under any road conditions.My recommendation is spend the extra money if feasible and buy a 2004 model.Most Saab dealers have a ready availability of certified used 2004's that have come off-lease in the last 6 months.A test drive in a 2004 vs a 2003 will make it clearly evident and obvious that the car is well worth the extra money.
    2)Make sure the '03 has all-season radials.If equipped with '17 low-profiles they may not be all-season.Otherwise the basic stock all-season tires should work fine in all but total blizzard conditions.
    3)fold down rear seat:standard equipment on ALL 2003 and earlier convertibles.Not available in any 2004 and later convertibles.
  • jez1jez1 Posts: 6
    What do you think you would get from Carmax if the car is in good condition, with about 54,000 miles, never been in an accident, car includes windscreen, arm rest, both a single cd player and multi cd changer in the back, sport package, dolphin grey?
  • konicoffkonicoff Posts: 1
    I have a 2003 convertible and have been very happy with it except for one thing. I think the handling is awful. If you drive aggressively the front wheel drive tries to straighten you out when acclerating around a curve. Are the new ones any better? Don
  • autoeduautoedu Posts: 47
    Looks great in black color and tan top. All-season convertible engineering perfected.
  • jeep53jeep53 Posts: 49
    I'm in the thinking stage of buying a 2003 Saab Convertible. The reviews haven't been the greatest on I really want a fun convertible but would like to have a back seat (no matter how small) and that's why I thought about the Saab. It's a nice looking car and the '03's are running between $16,000 and $19,000.

    Also, I heard you can buy an after market piece for the center console. Does anyone know where to get them and how hard are they to install? I would appreciate any comments you have about the car. Thanks for your help.

    Steve (
  • jeep53jeep53 Posts: 49
    I've been reading a lot of reviews about the 2003 and 2004 Saab convertibles. The reviews aren't the greatest with respect to the 03's. Better on the 04's. The problem is the price for the 04's are about 6 or 7,000 more. I would like to try to save some money if possible. Can someone tell me are the 2003's that bad?? People are telling me to stay away from Saab. I want a fun convertible that's not real small and has a decent trunk with a backseat.

    Any help you can give would be appreciated. Thanks

  • autoeduautoedu Posts: 47
    The 02-03 is best car in term of reliability for the old generation. The 04 as expected has quite a few improvements, a more rigid body, matching interior top, and some extra electronics. Personally, I think the 02-03 MY are more classic than the current generation. Saab is a great car, very fast, fun, safe and reliable. Mechanically, Saab's 4 cylinder turbo charged engine is the best in world. Once you get to know its minor quirkiness, driving a Saab can be very satisfying. Saab has one of the most passionate drivers/owners customer base unseen in any other car-manufacturer, perhaps only Porsche follwers are comparable. If the the difference is too much I would get two old Saabs :)
  • jeep53jeep53 Posts: 49
    Thanks for your response. I appreciate it. I like the style of the 02's and 03's also. I'm going to see an '03 on Saturday. It has about 40,000 miles on it but from the pics it looks to be in excellant condition. They are asking $17,900. From what I've seen online, that's about the going price. The 04's are in the mid 20's.

    I just want to ask you your opinion about something. I might trade a car in on this deal. Is it true that you get less money for a trade if the car you're buying is cheaper?
    I mean I guess I would get more money for my trade if I was buying the '04 and not the '03. Is that true? I would assume that's how they do it.

    We'll see what happens. Thanks again for your help.

  • autoeduautoedu Posts: 47
    No matter what you buy, you just get less for trade-in period. Try to sell it privately if you can and get more money for your car. It's possible to find a good SS convertible in the low 20s and the OG vert in the mid teens. If the diffence is less than 5K I would go for the newer one. Remember the the 02-03 are the last years for OG (old generation) so most issues and problems have been worked out and refined. Again, the 04 is the first year of the SS (super sport) generation, although much more improved than its predecessor it has a few minor issues of its own.

    If this is how you drive your car then get the SS, it comes with rollover pop-up bar :)
    I just couldn't understand why they didn't make the tail light in the convertible the same as the sedan. The tail lights is what really bug me for the SS vert design.
  • autoeduautoedu Posts: 47
    Again, i don't like the tail lights at all. They should get rid of the light panels that are attached to the trunk lid.
  • keywastedkeywasted Posts: 1
    When various add on tinker toys mention with skirts or without, what are they talking about. I am a newbie owner of a 2004 with 10000 miles and want to add a tow hitch.
  • driver100driver100 Burlington, ON 7 mo/Tampa FL 5 moPosts: 11,699
    My wife and I are thinking of getting 2008 vehicles. She has a 2003 Mercedes C240 estate wagon and I have a 2004 BMW X3. Both are automatics. We will both be 3/4's retired so want more fun vehicles than our very good but utilitarian cars we now have. Also, some punch is expected but we are OK with 4 cylinders if supercharged...we want 6 speed manuals. We are considering;
    Audi 2 litre quattro (probably for me but her 2nd choice if not a Saab)
    BMW hardtop/convertible (for me)
    Saab 9.3 convertible (for her)
    Land Rover L2 (for me)
    We'd like one car to be a convertible for extra fun. Want at least 4 passenger. Want all wheel drive if possible but the front wheel drive on the Saab could be sufficient. What one gets influences the other....she wants yellow so it will be different!
    Any thoughts...what a dilemna (but probably not a bad one to have to have)?

    2012 535ix 2013 Audi A4 2013 Passat

  • hi.

    i am looking at cpo's and non-cpo used 9-3 convertibles as my first car and was wondering: (1) if you could please advise me on the model years that have all the standard safety features included, and (2) would you recommend it as a first car for a new driver? why/not?

    thanks. :)
  • bonsbons Posts: 45
    Actually I like the Audi convertible too, BMW is also nice but Saab is different and uniquely classy. There is something about Saab that makes it more classy than any other convertibles.

    Wow your first car ever and you chose the 93 convertible?
    You've got taste and intellectually mature. How old are you, male or female?

    If you like the older model start with the 02 and 03 these are 93 SE (special edition) with HOT (High Output Turbo) engine. The 04 is more solid and little bit safer.

    Here is the link on the 02 & 03 model info

    Below is link info for 04
  • arigarig Posts: 4
    i previosly owned 1998 Honda cr-v (awesome car) and i was about to buy a 2007 toyota rav4 cruiser L when i was put off by the long waiting list. My dad persueded me to buy a saab as he said they are mechanically well built and are reliable and sporty. I went to test drive them but felt a bit ressentfull after hearing negative feedback such as bad resale value and problems with the vehicle. I decided to go ahead and purchased a 2007 saab 93 linear convertible (black). I have had one problem so far (8 months) which is in all 2003> saab 93 convertibles which is were the rim of the left front tyre becomes smooth. I phoned saab and they said they do not recommened a wheele rotation as it is a waist of money. I am also annoyed as the 2008 saab 93 is coming out and i want to get rid of my swirl marks on the black car which are only visible in the direct sun.
  • arigarig Posts: 4
    I was looking for a safe car for my son and by buying a second hand saab any car in generall you are buying someone elses problems with that money rather buy a 2007 vw golf which i just bought for my son and is incredibly safe and relaible even the polo.
  • d0nmand0nman Posts: 3
    Just adding my own experience... I currently own a 2000 9-3 convertible, at about 78000 miles, 5-speed base model. I owned one previously, a 2001 SE model, but it was an automatic so I didn't keep it. These cars do feel a bit "loose" in stock form and there is cowl shake, as previously mentioned. To remedy this problem, as many have done, I ordered a steering rack brace, the 6-point subframe brace, and the 22mm rear anti-sway bar, and the car literally feels better than new. I cannot believe how much fun this FWD vehcle is to drive now. For a little over $500 this car is completely transformed and for once I find myself not wanting to look into how I could get "something better." I also added the armrest/storage compartment accessory from Saab and that pretty much has perfected it. IMO, no power upgrades are even necessary, though I'm sure someday I will want to do an ECU upgrade and a sport exhaust :)

    I've owned several cars, with the performance oriented ones being an '03 Nissan SE-R SpecV and a '99 Corvette, and for my main vehicle the Saab honestly wins hands-down compared to any of them. Obviously the three are in completely different classes, but the Saab is more comfortable and performs on-par or better than the Nissan (with the mods), and is more practical and easier to tool around in than the Vette. I feel like I will drive this one as far as it will reasonably go, and then move on to another 9-3 convertible. Hopefully someday I get to add another Vette to the stable too for track fun :)
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