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SAAB 9-3

edited April 2014 in Saab
The Saab 900 is old news but I'd like to create a
new forum for new 9-3 owners. We recently leased a
9-3 in Los Angeles and are looking for relevant
input on your new 9-3's.

We have less than 3k miles on the car but were
still pretty happy with the car. The few minor
problems we've had with the car are: the back of
the front seat was poorly finished w/ the pocket
sagging away from the seat at the time of purchase.
We also hear a popping and crackling sound in the
front passenger seat when someone is sitting in

My wife and I are pretty particular about our cars
and would like your input. I think that Saab
could become a long term marquee in our family but
we want to hear from you other 9-3 owners out there


  • Any comment from manual shift owners out there. We've a 9-3 auto, since my wife doesn't drive stick. I've read reviews in auto mags that panned the stick as a too tempermental tire burner at the stop light. I'd also like to hear comments from any new owners of the 200 bhp engine. Is there a real difference from the 185 bhp?
  • Not an owner of the 9-3 stick, but I own a '91 9000T 5-speed, and have driven '98 900 and '99 9-3 5-speeds. While the 2.0 185 hp 5-speed has more "lag" off the line than the 2.3 200hp in the 9K, describing it as "too tempermental" is grossly inaccurate. And in comparing the two engines, the 2.0 is much smoother than the 2.3, which has a sort of "growl" under hard throttle.
  • eckdareckdar Posts: 30
    Am considering leasing a 99 Saab 9-3. Saab is offering great lease rates through Dec 98, a money factor of 0.00092 (2.2%) on the coupe. Am hoping to get some feedback on maintenance costs and resale value. My local mechanic said Saab parts are generally very expensive (he said more so than Jaguar) and that Saabs don't hold value well. He suggested a used BMW 325 or Volvo 850, which I agree are great cars. But monthly payment is an issue for me. I can get into the 9-3 for around $300. Don't think I could get a recent used BMW or Volvo for close to that.
    Thanks for any replies.
  • I just got a 9-3 se with the 200hp engine and 5 speed. You definately have to be carefull not to spin the tires from a standing start when you are in a hurry.
  • prebmwprebmw Posts: 23
    Unfortunately, I agree with your mechanic. As the owner and lover of an '88 9000 Turbo, I have found that parts are expensive, and in the midwestern city that I live in, hard to come by. I had the misfortune of having to replace the front fender and related parts this summer. My bodyshop, which works primarily on high dollar cars, said he had good news and bad news for me. The good news was that if he had to pick a car to be in a wreck in, he would pick a Saab. The bad news was, it was also one of the most expensive to fix. We then waited close to a month for the parts to come in.I was in the market for a new car at the time and was going to get another Saab, he begged me not to. My independent mechanic, himself a Saab fanatic, agreed that parts are expensive. However, if you are going to lease, the cost of parts should not be an issue since the warranty should still be good for the length of your lease.
  • eckdareckdar Posts: 30

    Thanks for the response.

    Does your name "pre bmw" mean that you've decided your next car will be a bimmer? Or did you go with another Saab against your mechanic's wishes?

    Read through lots of Saab posts on the sedan conference this am. More confused now. If I get the 9-3 it will replace my 89 Toyota Camry. Exhaust, brakes and oil changes are essentially all I've done to the Camry. Low, inexpensive maintenance is great, but the Camry isn't exactly an exhilirating ride.

    For the most part I think people believe (hope) Saab reliability will improve with the 9-3, and that the inconvenience and cost of more frequent maintenance is well worth it.

    I've a couple more weeks to decide. Will have the camry checked to see if any substantial cost are looming and go from there. My gut say buy the 9-3.
  • The lease deal they've got on new Saabs are pretty
    good indeed. I am currently leasing a 9-3 SE. Maintenance is no more expensive than a Honda
    Accord. My last scheduled service cost me $124.
    And why should you worry about parts when you are
    leasing. The warranty covers you for 4yr/60K
    miles. I assume the lease is for 39mo.
  • eenereener Posts: 12
    I am considering the 9-3 lease- I have been a Saab owner for 15 years.(stick, turbo's)
    Any comments on which 9-3 is best?
  • prebmwprebmw Posts: 23
    I didn't go with either one - I bought a'98 Camry and a New Beetle instead. I love the Beetle and have the same feelings about the Camry that you stated. I would like to get rid of it this summer and get either a Saab or BMW. However, I live in Springfield, Mo. and would need to go over almost 200 miles to the nearest Saab dealer. Because of past experiences getting parts, I haven't been able to convince myself to go with another Saab, even though I would very much like to.
  • eenereener Posts: 12
    thanks for the information. I will test drive the 9-3 today.
  • I just wanted to correct some info thab "Bo chung" sent. Saab's warranty is 4 years or 50000 miles, not 60000. The first year covers any adjustments. I plan on buying a 9-3 in Aug 99.
  • Yes. Sorry for the typo. Warranty is actually 4 years / 50K miles. Powertrain warranty is a little longer.
  • mznmzn Posts: 727
    Karin, how did your test drive go? Please, give us your review.

  • Thank you "carlady" for allowing this new forum. I've waited for months for new 9-3 owners to start logging on.
  • Thanks for the interest in the new Saab 9-3 forum.
    My wife and I leased a 98 9-3 auto last Aug. and we're both still extremely pleased with the car. I find the turbo lag to be a bit slow but then I'm used to V-8's.

    I love the acceleration of the 2.0 turbo but I am a little disappointed with the fuel economy of our auto equiped car. My 82' Lincoln Mark with a 5.0L engine gets nearly the same of better highway mileage.
  • mznmzn Posts: 727
    I remember that when I did a test drive, the Saab had a marvelous little weather radio channel so that one could always check the forecast. It struck me as a charming Nordic touch.

    Does your Saab 9-3 have one of these? Do you use it?

  • Yes,in fact this weather radio has come in handy believe it or not. The radio will find what ever local weather radio is available as you travel. We live in CA so weather is not so much a factor in our lives unless we're traveling North during the Holiday season over the Grape Vine. Driving this road during the winter time the weather can often be problematic so having forwarning about the road conditions allows us to take the costal route up Highway 101 instead. To be truthful I mostly use the weather radio to check the local surf report.
  • eenereener Posts: 12
    I test drove the 9-3. Loved it, and it did not take very many blocks know I could be a happy owner. Now I am in the price/features/debate. The dealer has too many Saabs on his lot. (as do others around the nation - I have been told Saab Corp. loaded up dealers)
    Anyone purchased one recently? Willing to share selling price? Should I be able to get a much beter deal with cash? Any comments about resale?
    Enthused about doing this, unsure of what I should pay.
    Thanks, Karin
  • eener-

    Your question about resale value was quite pertinent. This was one of the major factors in our determining to lease our 9-3 instead of purchasing. Back in Aug. Edmunds listed the Saab 9-3 as a Gold Star Lease meaning that with all factors taken into consideration the Saab lease ended up costing just 2%.

    At 2% interest rate we determined it was a whole lot of car for the money even though Nissan,and Toyota were practically dying to give us a car at very low, low or no interest rates if we'd just sign up for a purchase. This was not the same for Saab at the time so we determined that we'd lease the car and see if the Saab unique character and utility factors wore well with us over time and in three years if the rather high risidual value, at least in my opinion, that Saab assigned to their leases didn't infact give us a better value for our money over purchasing at a much higher interest rate.
  • eenereener Posts: 12
    Has anyone been driving the 9-3 in the snow yet? What are recommendations for snow tires?
  • The 9-3 "S" (or is it "base"), iirc, comes with michelin MXV4 "V" rated tires. Consumer Reports recently rated tires in this general category, and stated that the MXV4 "H" rated tires had pretty good snow traction. That would make them suitable , imo, for light to moderated snow in flat, urban areas (where snow removal is practiced).

    The "SE" comes with performance tires, and it is a very bad idea to use them in the snow.

    While there has been a lot of activity in the Snow Tire category by many of the major tire makers, the majority of true died-in-the-wool Saabists continue to recommend the Finnish made Nokian Hakkapallita snow tires . These tires, however, are often not locally available. If that is an issue for you, I've found the Dunlop HSxx tires to be pretty good also.

    Saab dealers have access to the Swedish made "Gislaved" line through Saab's parts distribution network. Many people have recommended them, but the ones I got (a decade ago) proved to be inadequate.
  • eenereener Posts: 12
    Thanks for the comments about 9-3 tires.

    Does anyone have experience with purchasing a Saab from Garf Motors in Salt Lake City, UT or Gary Small in Portland OR? I will be traveling to Utah this week and could shop there.
    Is 3% over real invoice what I should expect to pay for the 9-3? I am on the verdge of deciding to buy one this week. I want to know what to pay before I start the final process.
    thanks, Karin
  • rfellmanrfellman Posts: 109
    I just bought a Saab 9-3 with power roof, cd and auto for about 800 over invoice. Unfortunately, I was a little off guard when the Saab dealer offered such a price. You see I had become used to being jacked around by BMW and Audi dealers who felt MSRP was their entitlement for selling a car in demand. The Saab 9-3 is definitely the best value when compared to a BMW 323i or an Audi A4 1.8 or 2.8 quattro.
    I think if you are willing to haggle aggressively, the dealers will go lower than 3% above invoice on a 9-3. Which is pretty darn good on anear luxury car in my considerable experience. I think the 9-3 is a buying opportunity for a smart shopper looking for relative value by brands.

    I grew up in NE blizzards and despite being deeply appreciative of the inherent BMW handling and breaking attributes, I just could not imagine spending that much on a car that was not all weather rated. The Audis were wonderful but lacked any real room and the dealers told me they had a quota and they had to maximize profits on available inventory so no discounts on current model year vehicles.

    Bottom line, the Saab impressed me after about 3/10 of a mile. The BMW only impressed me when I tool it out on the interstate. The Audi was nicer than my living room. It really came down to value between a Saab 9-3 and an Audi 1.8. Quattro. I just felt, for the price of the loaded quattro, I could buy an all wheel drive Durango SLT Plus. Since Audi would/could not guarantee timely delivery, I could only shop their lot and those cars were designed for lease (loaded). I love the 9-3. I will drive to Omaha in a wek and then need to have it serviced for the 1000 mile oil and filter change. What else do they do at 1000 miles.

    I drove a Toyota Camry before the Saab. Never again. If you are fortunate enought to have the income, buy a performance oriented car. It makes you feel young again and isn't that what anyone over 35 enjoys?
  • is all you should expect to pay for a 9-3. If you paid more than that, then you probably have paid too much. But don't expect to pay much less either. We do want to keep them in business so that they can service our cars right?
  • Question? My wife noticed in our service handbook that the 9-3 has a recommended oil change interval of every 5,000 miles. We live in Los Angeles and I'm more used to oil changing every 2,500-3,000 miles. We've had our first sevice by the dealer already and now are approaching 4,000 miles. What is or has been anyone's experience with oil changing on Saabs?
  • 5000 miles is, iirc, the "severe duty" interval, with 10,000 miles (!) being the "easy duty" interval.

    I have used 4000 miles as my change interval decades, after observing when checking the valves that a 5000 mile interval resulted in "etching" on the back side of the cam. I extend my 4000 miles/4 months conventional oil interval to 6000 miles/4 months with synthetics. In Europe, where oil is much more expensive (as is fuel) some are stretching the interval to 12,000 miles, using synthetic oil, with no ill effects.
  • is just fine but don't forget to change the filters too. BTW, 9-3s have oil coolers that helps.
  • Thanks for the reply to the oil change question. We'll get our car into the mechanic right away.
    What should we expect on minor body repair for Saabs. My wife lightly scraped a pole in her parking garage last week and came home nearly in tears. She loves her new car and couldn't even look at it for several days after the incedent. I told her to calm down a bit and we'd think about fixing it after she'd had a little while to asorb the damage. We have many good and capabable "Saab" body shops here in L.A. but should we just take it back to our dealership and let them "professionally" repair our vehicle?
  • rfellmanrfellman Posts: 109
    What is the nature of the damage? Paint, bumper, dents?
This discussion has been closed.