Saab 900 / 9000

mznmzn Member Posts: 727
edited March 2014 in Saab
I'm relocating this question from the "What do you
like about hatchbacks?" topic to keep us on track.

There must be some Saab hatchback drivers out
there who can come to the rescue!

Planet is asking:

What can anyone tell me about the saab 9000. I
want one if the price is right but don't know much
about them. Would their owners keep buy another


  • lxvlxv Member Posts: 1
    I drive '97 2dr Saab 900 SE with manual. I'm not sure about the number of 0s in your question. About 900: saab's motto "should the family chauffeur have some fun too" is the exact description of this car. The car is priced about $25k (if you're lucky) loaded (no options except automatic transmission and CD changer and you have everything you can imagine (one cupholder though)), fast and roomy. There are new models coming -- 9-5 and 9-3 to replace 9000 and 900 respectively. It seems that 9-3 would be even more safe with same fun to drive.
  • ywangywang Member Posts: 1
    I would like to buy a Saab 900, but I am concerned about the reliabiliy of the car. Where can I find data regarding this make and model?
  • damon_saabdamon_saab Member Posts: 1
    I own a '99 Saab 9-5 5-door hatch. It's a pre-release (only 5 in the US now) Its an excellent car I got it through a tryout lease I can only keep it till mid-summer and then have to give it up, It is the best car I have ever driven I would buy another any day, Saabs will run for around 23,000 to about 42,000 depending on what you get, has some good information on prices of new Saabs. In fact I'm going to BUY a Saab 9-5 This Summer.
  • mznmzn Member Posts: 727
    Here's something to sweeten the pot! Take a look at our News & Views area to get the skinny on Saab's "Free" Trip to Sweden!
  • goldbergergoldberger Member Posts: 58
    I have owned Saabs since 1977, and have had at least one Saab hatchback since 1978 (a '77 99 5-door). I currently have a '91 9000 hatchback. Before that was the "Long-departed-and-unlamented Simca Collection, which were also all (3) FWD hatchbacks.

    There is just no other "car that looks like a car" that will carry the amount of stuff you can cram into a FWD Hatchback, although a stylish "station wagon" is, IMHO, a viable alternative. The Saabs' rear seats employ a "flip and fold" strategy which allows for a comfortably proportioned seat and still gives a low, flat floor when folded. ("TLDAUL" Simca Collection featured a linkage which lowered the seat down when the back was folded, but current designs with the fuel tanks located under the seat would make that hard to implement.) The Saabs in particular add tremendous longevity and safety to the equation, along with sporty performance and handling. Living here in the "salt belt", corrosion resistance is important. The basic design and the paints and sealants Saab uses are extremely effective.

    Saabs should be less prone to the kind of peculiar reliability glitches in minor parts which have plagued the marque in the past as these bits and pieces are replaced with items which have passed the General Motors certification process.
  • mznmzn Member Posts: 727
    Sounds like a very satisfied customer! I wanted to get the Saab 900 but I wasn't tall enough. The salesman started talking about pedal extenders and my face fell. The decison was final when I wasn't tall enough to reach the hatch to close it. The salesman said, "Please, let me help you with that." I told him this just wasn't going to work unless he planned on taking up residence in the trunk! Oh well, it's a great car for the tall! :-)
  • pure911pure911 Member Posts: 40
    i had questions about Saab's reliablility, but when i saw that a bunch of base, turbo, and V-6 900 went 24,000 miles at the Talledega Speedway at an average speed of 140 mph, i was very impressed. It beat their previous record set ten years ago in a 9000.

    The only thing is I hear they depreciate VERY quickly
  • ldrichardsonldrichardson Member Posts: 1
    I've got just over 5000 miles on my 900 3-door and so far, I couldn't be more pleased. One thing you may or may not be aware of is the current dealer incentives. They're giving $3000 on the 900 series (including the 3-door which is already a good deal) and $4000 on the 9000 series. All this in an effort to clear the supply lines in preparation for the 9-3 and 9-5. I got a brochure on the 9-3 and it looks remarkably similar to the 900, so if you aren't intent on being an early adopter of the 9-3 or 9-5, you can get some really good deals on the 900 or 9000 if the dealers do what they should and pass the incentive along to the buyers, the Saabs are very competitively priced. My wife is also quite short so I did get pedal extenders installed which allows my wife to comfortably drive the car. The seat height adjuster in the 900 gives quite a bit of variability, but the angle of the seat cushion isn't adjustable except on the 900SE with the power seat. If reaching the hatch was the only thing stopping me, I'd dangle a rope or a leather strap or something to pull the hatch into reach. Don't give up so easily, carlady.
  • mznmzn Member Posts: 727
    I don't know. My reaction to the pedal extenders was a mental one. Do I want to feel like I'm driving my Dad's car? Also, for that amount of money, I'd like to think the car would fit me like a glove. It didn't, so I got another car that does. I'll leave the Saabs to taller folks. :-)
  • goldbergergoldberger Member Posts: 58
    As for digging around for a 900 instead of a 9-3...
    The 9-3 will have the 2.0 turbo as the only engine, rather than the 2.3 non-turbo in the 900S 5-door, the suspension has been upgraded, and the seating has been replaced with the new style seats like in the 9-5: i.e., they have the active headrests for whiplash protection and side-bags.
  • mfatesmfates Member Posts: 1
    I am very interested in buying a used Saab 900. I have always feel a fan of the look and feel or the car, but I have also heard a few dicouraging remarks about the reliability and maintenance.

    Any input out there would be appreciated!
  • rmwolrmwol Member Posts: 1
    I am enjoying a 98 900se with one exception - does anyone know how to safely disable the "shift up" light? There doesn't seem to be a dedicated fuse for it and I've heard it is somehow tied into the whole computer diagnostics setup. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
  • goldbergergoldberger Member Posts: 58
    If you put your foot on the floor, the light goes out ;-). Other than that, I'm afraid it's "black tape". The upshift light allows the manufacturer to "short shift" during the epa test, yielding much better mpg numbers and, perhaps, lower emissions than achieved when driving "by ear", which is required during the test in the absense of the upshift light (whew, if my high school composition teacher saw that, she would retroactively lower my grades).
  • goldbergergoldberger Member Posts: 58
    Saab has announced the pricing on the 9-3 (successor to the 900). Prices can be viewed on "The Saab Network" C'mon, edmunds, the 900 and 9000 are ancient history, lets get the 9-3 and 9-5 numbers on the site!
  • mznmzn Member Posts: 727
    You'll find the 1999 9-5 prices right here.

  • goldbergergoldberger Member Posts: 58
    oops, sorry, you're right about the 9-5 pricing...I stopped looking for it...but the 9-3 pricing isn't up yet. List prices are slightly below the corresponding 900 model prices, with added content across the board.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Dear wantasaab,

    I think your success or failure with a Saab depends primarily, in your case, on whether you have a good service facility nearby, perferably an independent shop. The year and model you chose is's new enough that most of the traditional Saab foibles have been corrected. But there's no known cure for bad service and Saab seems to be particularly victimized by this...oh, don't get me wrong, there are a few good dealers around, but it's hit and miss.

    Without a good and reputable service garage, I'd say you won't be happy with the car in the long run.

    Longtime Saab owner
  • ngc33ngc33 Member Posts: 1
    Mr. Shiftright hit the nail on the head. You need to introduce your used Saab to its best friend, the Saab mechanic. Seriously, even a new Saab should probably get acquainted with an independent mechanic instead of the dealership. And the good mechanics are tough to find! Saabs are addictive. I used to drive nothing but Volvos but I got hooked on these unique and mysterious cars. Best wishes on your plunge into Saab-land.....
  • mznmzn Member Posts: 727
    This is interesting! Why take your car to an independent mechanic rather than to the dealership? Is it just a matter of cost?

  • ehpehp Member Posts: 1
    Any service recommendations in the DC/MD area??
  • GeenaGeena Member Posts: 2
    I just test drove my first SAAB, and LOVED IT! However, I really don't know much about them. Can you help?? I drive about 24,000 per year, so I need a car that will last longer than the payments. I intend on keeping it maintained, but is it very expensive to repair? Does it break down a lot? The specific car I am talking about is a SAAB 900SE Turbo, if anyone has information they would like to share with me, I would love to hear it. Thanks!
  • goldbergergoldberger Member Posts: 58
    The 900 is no more expensive to maintain and repair than any other European car. IMHO, the greatest single determining factor is finding a competent service provider, either a dealer or an independent. Most of the horrible "Saab stories" I have heard (or have had to tell) have been traceable back to poorly performed maintenance or repair.

    As for your choice of a 900SE, I don't know how you value fast versus fancy and new versus cheaper.

    The 1999 9-3, a renamed and updated 900, has the full-turbo motor as its only engine, and there have been a lot of minor and not-so-minor changes. These include some suspension upgrades, seating and heating/AC systems with componentry used for the more expensive "9-5", and a bit of restyling that, frankly, I don't even notice. A 1999 9-3 "S" would have all the power of a 900SE and would have all the updates and at a lower price (even with the end-of-year discounts), but would lack leather, sunroof, the fanciest radio, and the automatic climate control.

    If you want an automatic and all the fancy trimmings, but are willing to accept a car with a few miles, log onto
    They have a batch of cars which they placed in some Budget Rental fleets as part of their "PR" program. Since the models for sale have been significantly changed, they have called back the rental cars. You need to buy them from a dealer, but if you post me privately I can give you some guidance as to the "dealer cost" on the cars.

    Good luck and happy hunting
  • mznmzn Member Posts: 727
    We aren't really set up to give service or dealership recommendations here, ehp. If anyone has any thoughts along these lines, please use email only. Thanks!

  • daveincanadadaveincanada Member Posts: 2
    Want a Saab 900, too poor for new....

    I'll buy '84 to ' I might have to monkey with a wrench or two.

    What are they like to work on, reliable are they?

    What should I avoid????

    Dave in Canada
  • andrea4andrea4 Member Posts: 1
    Thinking of buying a '95 900 S with 60,000 miles. I've never even driven a SAAB yet. I read on Excite's profile of this car that the AC system is "unbearable" and that the heating system is inefficient. Can anyone give me any details on what they might mean, especially about the AC? Thanks a lot.
  • mznmzn Member Posts: 727
    Lots of good questions! Saab owners, where are you? :-)

  • tomashtomash Member Posts: 1
    Can't say about the AC, the SAABs with AC I've had were both 9000s. The heating system worked for me, even if it was less efficient than in the older 900 models.
  • mznmzn Member Posts: 727
    Thank you, tomash! I knew someone would come to the rescue. :-)

  • cflemingcfleming Member Posts: 1
    OK. I don't have a 900 but I have driven a 9000T in the desert southwest (Phoenix) for 10 of 12 years I have owned Saab's. I agree that the best thing is to find a good mechanic and that is not necessarily the dealer. I haven't used the local dealer service for 10 years and I have spent, on average, about $600 a year for everything (including oil changes). It's sometime more, sometimes less, but I think that is the same for all cars especially as they get older. I don't know what the fuss about the AC is all about, but I use my AC constantly for about half of the year (as you might guess) and never had a problem with the compressor. The only think I had to do on the AC was replace the fan motor but only when the car was about 5 years old, pretty good in my book. For the record, I drove my '86 9000 for 107,000 miles and then traded it for an '88 and drove it for 129,500 miles. On both cars, I never had a problem with anything major (turbo, drive train, electrical, etc.). E-mail me or post if you want the name of a great mechanic in the Phoenix area.
  • FREDERICKFREDERICK Member Posts: 228
    My wife and I are 99% on our way to leasing a new 9-3 today in the Los Angeles area. It's her B-day present. One thing that really concerns me is that several of the California Saab dealerships have been closed down recently. The story I got from the Orange County dealer was that Saab was buying back the franchises in order to consolidate dealerships into independent stand alone dealers.

    Saab, according to this 14 years sales veteran, has not been given the proper attention by the multi marquee dealers and therefore is consolidating its dealer franchises into those willing to go independent. Sounds like a tough road to hoe in this very competitive car market. Would you give up your Jaguar, or BMW franchise to only carry and sell Saab's? I guess the dealer in Monterey and the one in Manhattan Beach said no thanks.

    We'll see how things turn out over the next three years of our lease. We don't want to have to mess with independent repair people for the initial years of a new car's break in period. Also we'll get to see if Saab's really are all that great of a car at a lower depreciation risk than were we to buy the car outright. With this dealership consolidation my bet will be that Saabs will have an even higher depreciation than calculated in the lease. They better get one hell of a great dealership system going in three years.
  • 080586080586 Member Posts: 6
    We own a '93 9000CS non-turbo 5 speed named Ingrid, and a '94 Camry LE V6 Coupe named Beulah. We got a great Saab lease on Ingrid with zero percent financing, and then purchased her when the lease expired. Ultimately it was a much better deal than the Toyota in spite of a couple of hefty repair bills, (aprox total $2K so far with 55K mi). We both love the Saab, and are ambivalent about the Toyota. The handling is superb in the Saab. The dealer experience was not wonderful, but we found a great independent mechanic who has given me the confidence to keep a car beyond warranty - something I haven't done in many years.

    The hatchback is great! We have been amazed at what that car can hold. It doesn't have the same qualities as the Toyota, but when it comes to safety (active and passive) we'd take Saab first.

    P.S. Ingrid was rear-ended on the Bay Bridge once - Spine and car (with exception of bumper) fully intact - stupid Maxima (tho not driver) totaled.
  • FREDERICKFREDERICK Member Posts: 228
    #080586- Thanks for the confidence building. I loved the new 9-5 too, but they no longer offer a hatchback and I need a wagon kind of set up. We considered the Audi A4 Avant first but the price was a bit too dear. There is a real shortage of them here since in Europe they're all the rage.

    I just took a car load of boxes full of hats down to the UPS station for shipping and I told my wife that if all these boxes would fit into the 9-3 I'd really be a happy camper. I already knew they'd not fit in my Lincoln. Sure enough they fit although, I had to bungee cord the hatch back closed but they all fit!

    I'm really a station wagon kind of guy and I'm hoping that by the time the 9-3 comes off lease the new 9-5 wagon will have proven its reliability. I like the Volvo wagons but they seem a bit too pricey for the higher horse motors. My wife and I both hated the base V70's engine.

    I hope that 080586 will let me know about who his independent Saab repairman is in the Bay Area. We are likely to be moving there ourselves within the coming year.
  • 080586080586 Member Posts: 6
    Frederick - Enjoy the Saab - and her cavernous trunk. Would be glad to give you the name of the mechanic (found him through a fellow Saabite). Also if you need help with info about the Bay Area feel free to drop me an e-mail - I work for a relocation company here - and I work with people who rent in SF. It's been interesting that I've had a rather disproportionately high number of Saab drivers as clients. Enjoy and Good Luck to you both - David
  • goldbergergoldberger Member Posts: 58
    Sorry for the delay.

    In a word, yes, there is that much difference between the 900 and 9-3. The biggest factor, IMO, is that the 9-3's workings have been updated to be essentially like the 9-5. This means the same "safe seat" with side bags and whiplash protection, the same "data bus" connections which eliminated hundreds of wires and simplify fault diagnosis, and improved HVAC. To boot, the entire line is now fitted with the 2.0 turbo, which means that a 9-3"S" will run with a 900SE. That, and the handling improvements and body reinforcements point to the newer car as the way to go.
  • FREDERICKFREDERICK Member Posts: 228
    We just got back from our Labor Day weekend up in the Monterey Bay and enjoyed every mile of our first long drive in our new 99 9-3 automatic. I was amazed at the pick up this car had when going south back over the Grapevine. The first stretch up the mountain is really grueling and the Saab pulled up the grade with real aplomb. I had the peddle only half-way to the floor and we were going 75 mph up the grade.
    The pick up on this 2.0 ltr. engine w/ turbo is something else. We've driven mostly only American V-8's and inline sixes in the past and it's nice to find this engine has the umph to get us going in the manner were accustom to. Having a turbo is really good for wife's indecisive gas peddle pressure because rather than down shifting the transmission the turbo just winds up or down to compensate with out a gear change.
  • rdeschenerdeschene Member Posts: 331
    I have known a few people in University with very well-worn Saab 900s (125,000 to 250,000 miles), and they never experienced any problems with them. They did, however, always perform their own maintenance, always used 5W-30 synthetic (for Canadian winters), always kept to the recommended maintenance frequency, replaced ALL hoses and V-belts every 60,000 miles/2yrs, and throughly cleaned the underbody and then had it oil sprayed every fall. One fellow did indeed have his Saab from around 90,000 to 200,000 miles.
  • mznmzn Member Posts: 727
    FREDERICK, your first long drive over Labor Day weekend brought back some good memories. I lived at the Presidio of Monterey in the late 70s. What a great place for a test drive!

  • FREDERICKFREDERICK Member Posts: 228

    Can we please close this forum since the Saab 900 is no longer being made. I've opened a new forum under the new "Saab 9-3" title
  • mznmzn Member Posts: 727
    Thank you for creating a new Saab 9-3 topic, Frederick!

    For now, I think I'll leave this discussion open for owners of the Saab 900 or folks who buy a used one.

    For those of you who are interested in discussing new Saab 9-3, please join us here!

  • cyndi11cyndi11 Member Posts: 3
    I'm looking for anyone who has had problems with the 1993 Saab 9000.
  • goldbergergoldberger Member Posts: 58
    What Problems? Post me privately for counselling.
  • mznmzn Member Posts: 727
    Hey, that would take all the fun out of it, goldberger! :-)

    Please, let's ask and answer questions here so we can all learn.

  • rfellmanrfellman Member Posts: 109
    You know, putting this forum under hatchbacks hides it from many folks reviewing BMW 323s and 328 and Audi A4s. Acuras and so on. I looked at the Sedan forum for weeks before I bought a Saab 9-3 and determined it to be a "hatchback" rather than a "quasi-sedan".
    Suggest you move the forum if you truly desire to be noticed. Many comparison shoppers are missing out on the most underated near luxury car on the market.
  • mznmzn Member Posts: 727
    Good point, rfellman. Most manufacturers are similarly confused as to what constitutes a hatchback, a coupe, or even a sedan as you point out. So we're bound to miss some folks whereever we are. Still, the diehard hatchback owner who's looking for something special will, I hope, continue to find their way here.

  • goldbergergoldberger Member Posts: 58
    RE: '93 9000 counselling: I have no problem discussing anything, er, Saab related, in the open. I just sensed a very raw nerve from cindi11. Hence the offer.
  • rfellmanrfellman Member Posts: 109
    Regarding the 93 9000 answer, "who was that masked man?"
  • bostnwhalrbostnwhalr Member Posts: 128
    I'm contemplating a 98' 900 SE 5-door for $19,900 with 19k miles. Seems very cheap to me. Is reliability on later 900's versus 1993 models better?

    And yes, I have a great independant mechanic that works on every imported car including Jags (now there is an expensive car to fix). Or do I need a mechanic that only works on Saabs?
  • goldbergergoldberger Member Posts: 58
    1993 was the last year for the Classic 900, except the convertible which carried a 1994 model designation from about January '93 on, until the new generation 900 convertible was ready. Most of the reliability problems with the new generation 900 were addressed by '96, and the '98 model includes such benefits as better seats and a hydraulic clutch. Absent are the improved front suspension and reinforced body upgrades, along with the "safe seat" and data-bus engine and chassis electronics. But, the 900 is still a blast to drive, and for $20,000 it's a pretty attractive proposition. The 9-3 5-door base version goes for the mid '20's, and lacks the leather trim, sunroof, automatic climate control, and bass speakers in the front door. The 9-3 "SE" is above $30,000, so your saving is substantial. Any half-way competent import service mechanic in New England (I'm guessing here, Mr. Boston Whaler ;-)) had better be up on Saabs, but this car still has 3 years/40,000 miles of warranty left, so your dealer will be your first stop for problems.

    The only possible warning flags: if this car is an automatic, check to see if it was a rental car, and if it is a 5-speed, check to see if it was one of the "company cars" used at the 50th anniversary Track Sessions. And of course, check the history to see if it is a reassembled salvage car.
  • rfellmanrfellman Member Posts: 109
    Given the mileage and the year end close out deals on the 98s ($2500 to $3500 as I recall), the price seems reasonable.
  • jimreardenjimrearden Member Posts: 2
    I found the '97 900 to be a total lemon of a car.
This discussion has been closed.