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Saab 9-3 Coupe (2002 and earlier)

2456711

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    qbrozenqbrozen Member Posts: 33,065
    for the review. I'm thinking about going to check out Saabs tomorrow (and an A4 down the street from me). I think the new ones are an incredible deal. I wish I could afford it. Normally, I could, but the negative equity on my trade-in is the killer. Oh well, maybe somebody has a nice 99 9-3 for me.

    '11 GMC Sierra 1500; '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '13 Fiat 500c; '20 S90 T6; '22 MB Sprinter 2500 4x4 diesel; '97 Suzuki R Wagon; '96 Opel Astra; '08 Maser QP; '11 Mini Cooper S

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    dsciullidsciulli Member Posts: 1
    I'm taking delivery of a 2001 9-3 SE within the next few days and am seriously considering upgrading to the Saab sport exhaust right off the bat. All the literature that I've read claims a 7 hp increase. The dealer claims it is more like 3 hp. Does anyone have any insight on this? Also, how does the sport exhaust affect the torque curve? I haven't seen any info. on that whatsoever. Has anyone seen or heard of any quantitative documentation such as the hp/torque curves with the sport exhaust installed. Any insight whatsoever is appreciated.
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    snoopy20snoopy20 Member Posts: 1
    Hi -

    I'm looking at buying a 9-3. Does anyone know how long the $4700 rebate is going until??

    Thanks.
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    driver36driver36 Member Posts: 57
    Does Saab 9-3 comes with full size spare? Any feedback would be much appreciated!
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    ckenedickenedi Member Posts: 16
    Rebates are anyone's guess, but FWIW I think they will continue so Saab can keep the factory going until they come out with the new "9-3".

    dsciulli - why not wait till you get it? 3-7 HP is going to make more of a mental then a physical difference. Your gear technique and road conditions will have more impact. It definitely has a different sound and the exhaust tip is way cool.
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    sstrzsstrz Member Posts: 3
    snoopy20 -

    Please be aware that there is NOT a $4700 REBATE - the $4700 is a Manufacturer to Dealer INCENTIVE, not a Manufacturer to Consumer rebate!

    Check around if you are serious about getting a Saab 9-3 - I got one this month at dealer invoice less the $4700 incentive. How? E-mail! It was the easiest sale the dealership had all month!
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    r34r34 Member Posts: 178
    I was told by several dealers the manufacturer to dealer incentive ($4700 for base, $5500 for SE, etc) will be ended on March 31. Most dealers will give you that incentive. Edmunds said you will be taxed before the incentive. My dealer didn't put any MSRP or Incentive information on the sale contract, he put down only the final sales price. My sales tax was charged after the incentive.

    9-3 doesn't have full-size spare tire.

    The car has 4 air vents (2 on each side and 2 behind the "armrest" for rear passengers.

    The strange wind noise and short remote range seem to be common problems.
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    floppymfloppym Member Posts: 3
    While buying a new 9-3 (wohoo!) I talked with a couple of dealership folks about the 2003 all-new 9-3. I was told that there is no hatch version planned, and that Saab salesfolk were pushing for Saab to reconsider, since the hatch is not easily available in the near-lux market and it is a selling point with some customers. Apparently salesfolks would like there to be a hatch version in addition to the (upcoming) sedan and wagon.
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    floppymfloppym Member Posts: 3
    If anyone finds out how to do this, please post. In some Saabs, apparently there is a fuse for it. In 99 9-3's, there is a known wire to cut. But in 2000 and 2001 9-3's, I haven't found anyone who knows what wire to cut, and there isn't a fuse for it. Any info apreciated.
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    dhinchidhinchi Member Posts: 2
    Do I understand your post correctly, floppym? The Hatchback is the main reason I've loved my Saabs - just upgraded to a 2001 9-3 and am already a little disappointed that the cargo area isn't completely flat like my old 900... but NO hatchback at all? The good news is -- should impact my resale value in a positive way!
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    bill_1bill_1 Member Posts: 97
    I am new here, but in general am interested in all things hatchback ; ). My question is this... is it that they are not going to make the hatchback at all or is it that they are not going to import it into the American Market? If it is the latter GM might change their mind pretty quickly since hatchbacks seem to be regaining popularity in the American Market. Heck GM would have to be crazy to let Mercedes have that market if they do have a hatchback that they can import. If they just didn't design a hatchback (Kind of strange for a European Car that traditionally has had one) then things might be tougher, bean counters at GM may not want to pay for the cost of developing one.
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    tedchatedcha Member Posts: 1
    Anybody know if they've extended the dealer incentive for the month of April?
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    handydoghandydog Member Posts: 19
    I am interested in buying a new 9-3, since the incentives bring it within my price range. While things like the strange ignition switch location does not bother me, reliability problems do. I really like Scabs, but can't afford thousands of dollars of repairs each year. Could some Scab owners give me an honest assessment of the maintenance cost of the car without thrashing it or praising it; there seems to be little middle ground here.
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    danielb3danielb3 Member Posts: 2
    I just purchased a 2001 4-door silver 9-3 service loaner from a dealership in Akron, Ohio. After researching the vehicle pricing on line, I e-mailed the (2) Saab dealers in my area and asked for pricing on the entry-level car.

    The one dealer couldn't help me, he only had some 2000 loaners available and without the incentive, they were priced higher than new 2001's. The other dealer had a silver 4-door, (the color I wanted), with the heated leather seats, automatic, sun roof, metallic paint, etc. My target price was $23,247, but the first number the dealer came back with was $24,857. After test driving the car and then walking away, the dealer e-mailed me with a lower price of $24,357. I told him I could probably locate a new 9-3 without any mileage for that price. He came back a couple days later with $23,857. I considered holding out, but since I really wanted a silver car, thought I better not get too greedy. I picked up the car the following weekend with 3,883 miles on it.

    My complaints so far reflect those in message #51. The electronic key has a terrible range. Most of the time I have to be almost next to the car for the buttons to work. I also am disappointed with the wind noise at highway speeds. My car tends to pull to the left on the highway regardless of what lane I am in. Finally, the CD player skips at slow speed or when driving over bumpy roads. The car is going into the shop this week to have the player looked at.

    I have owned (2) new Aura Integras and put over 170,000 miles on each car with minimal mechanical issues. I was looking for a slightly more substantial car this time around that would offer some decent storage capacity as well. The $4,700 incentive was my motivating factor in going with the 9-3 instead of a Subaru Outback or Passat Wagon. I hope I won't be disappointed in the long run when it comes to maintaining the vehicle.

    I can't say I am in love with the car yet. I do like the unique styling and the fact that I saved at least $4,700 versus the Passat or Outback.

    Good luck to all of you shopping for Saab's.
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    pocahontaspocahontas Member Posts: 802
    Sorry to hear about your problems. In addition to having the CD player looked at, I would think they could probably do something to help with your alignment and electronic key.

    Btw, I had a similar problem with my vehicle's remote entry. And although it's not a Saab, the fix may be similar. It took a few minutes for the technician to extend the receiver antennae with a small piece of wire, and the range increased drastically.

    If it's a matter of it just being a weak unit period, perhaps enough complaints about could encourage Saab to issue a tsb on it... and upgrade the unit. That is if one hasn't already been issued yet. You may want to check with the nhtsa website to see what tsb's and complaints are already listed. Knowledge is power. Good luck.

    Pocahontas
    Host
    Hatchbacks/Station Wagons Message Boards
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    td01td01 Member Posts: 7
    Folks:
    I have a Nissan Maxima and I am looking to buy a SAAB 9-3 automatic (don't laugh - too much traffic for manual). Any suggestions/advice would be great.
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    r34r34 Member Posts: 178
    td01:

    I found that a base 9-3 is NOT a city car. The weight and turbo lag probably make it moves like that. I am quiet disappointed with city driving.
    Since you were from Maxima, you may have to get used to it.

    However, once you rev enough or exceed 50mph, the car moves. It is good on highway driving and curves.

    Also, the interior especially the center console and the air vents are ugly. There are not that many storage room. The cup-holder is dangerous/useless. However, the leather used in the seats are very good. The hatchback is very useful.

    I don't feel I am in a luxury/near luxury car but it is liked a car for "professionals with different tastes".
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    gomergomer Member Posts: 7
    Hello-I've owned a 9-5 for a couple of years, though I originally intended to buy the 9-3 (incentives at the time made the price of the 9-5 less than a 9-3SE.) Anyways, the car has been outstanding for me. I haven't spent a dime on repairs, though I have done all of the Saab recommended maintenance. My dealership experience has been very good as well, as I've bought an Suburu from the same dealer and the treatment is worlds different.
    From talking to other Saab owners (and going to saabnet.com), it appears the 2000 and 2001 models of the 9-3 are better than the 99's.
    Just my .02.
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    ckenedickenedi Member Posts: 16
    Coming from the Maxima I would look at the Passat 1.8, Audi A4, Volvo s40 or s60 and the 9-3. The 9-3 is definitely the oddest choice, but it is the one I choose over the others. The cash dealer incentives are apparently gone, but there is 0% financing according to the Saab site.

    I love my (new) 9-3. My only annoyance is that there is no auto-up window, the remote is too short ranged and the sunroof has no auto-open or close (The passat has these things). Its a joy to drive with lots of its own thoughtful touches. It is definitely not perfect and has other quirks that drive other people crazy. The speakers are weak.

    R34: I know you are a consistent and thoughtful contributor, so I want to say I definitely respect your views, but I do find it to be as okay a city car as a manual can be. On the other hand, my commute has several 45mph straightaways, so I get to take advantage of the midrange oomph. I am finding I can anticipate and incorporate the turbo lag. I prefer the base 9-3 because of its softer ride and 15" tires for winter driving.

    I also don't think it's ugly. Although I think the early 900s are a little more charming and distinctive. Its not exactly a headturner of a car, but the overall package for the price is a good deal and it is a little different than what is out there. I don't have leather and sort of wish I did, but didn't care enough to pay for it.

    FWIW, Chris K
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    r34r34 Member Posts: 178
    Chris:

    I just think the center console especially the air vents are ugly but the exterior of the car is beautiful. I like yellow rear lights and hatchback a lot.

    Mine is an automatic. I couldn't feel much difference using the Sport mode. Maybe I have to rev it more.

    At first I was looking at an Accord but i would like to try something different and better. I looked an A4 1.8t. I like Audi's name , interior, and reliability. Then I decided to save some money by looking at a Passat 1.8t. My friend got a 2000 S40 and I test drove a 2001 S40. They are smoother/quicker than Passat 1.8t but I don't think a S40 with sunroof worth that much. I was ready to buy a Passat but I can't resist the $4700 incentive.

    At first, I didn't like a 9-3 especially the one with beige interior. After I sat in a charcoal interior one and test drove it on a freeway, I liked it more and more everyday. I am still happy about my decision on a base 9-3.
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    snaab93se1snaab93se1 Member Posts: 69
    I purchased a 2001 Saab 9-3 SE about a month ago. I test drove the base model and the SE... the SE with 205 HP and automatic is quicker and more fun to drive than the Base with 185 HP. The SE also comes with a sport tuned suspension and low profile larger tires which improves the handling dramatically. I owned a 1995 Maxima a few years ago and to compare the two.. The Saab has much more comfortable seats, better air conditioner (its already hit 90 here in Phoenix) and handles better. I was able to get a 2001 service loaner with only 1000 miles for well below the edmunds TMV and the sales associate was the best I've ever dealt with...he gave me a great price in only 15 minutes...and most of that time he was researching incentives and calculating the price. I'd be happy to give anyone his name if you want to buy a car from Arizona. I like this car so much my Lexus LS 400 sits in the garage most of the time...Lexus boring..Saab fun :>)
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    runningrabbitrunningrabbit Member Posts: 2
    I am not a car buff, by any means, so any/all insights would be greatly appreciated!

    I want a 2-door car which is very reliable, and which I can drive to the ski resorts, without fear of sliding off the slippery roads.

    Last winter, I looked around the ski resort parking lots, and saw tons of SAABS (as well as SUVs, Trucks, and MiniVans). Why is it that SAABs are so popular with skiiers? Is it the skiier personality, or, is the SAAB better than other cars in snow? Is the SAAB traction control better than others- i.e. the Acura CL's traction control?

    THANKS!!
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    ckenedickenedi Member Posts: 16
    I think they are one of the best FWD cars in the snow. I tested it in Michigan during a storm and it was fine. I don't actually think the TCS (or even the brand of car) makes as much difference as:

    1) Driver's skill and confidence,
    2) Drivetrain (4WD>AllWD>FrontWD>RearWD)
    3) Tires (snow tires if appropriate)

    Having said that, the Saab 9-3 has an intelligent braking system, and they are great hill climbers, probably the best around. Most TCS systems are pretty comparable IMHO, they will mostly help with wheelspin from a standing start and a little in turns. Don't expect miracles from TCS.

    The Saab is also great for carrying skis (the hatchback w pass through) and it has, what may be, the best and easiest roof rack ever designed. It takes 1 minute for two people to set it up and 3 minutes for one person. The mounting holes are built into the car, there is no fiddling around. This only works with the "Saab" rack I believe, which fits Thule components.

    For overall stability I was most impressed by the Audi A4 1.8t w the quattro AND ESP options. The ESP really kept the wheels on the road. But it is a pricey, smaller and less powerful car. I also just didn't like the car (or the dealers) as much.
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    runningrabbitrunningrabbit Member Posts: 2
    I think that you are absolutely right, that Driver's Skill & Confidence, is, perhaps, the most important factor in driving in snow.

    I think I will test the Audi A4 1.8t with quattro and ESP options, just for comparison.

    Question: When I told the Acura dealer that I wanted the CL that would be best in the snow, he thought the CL (non-type S) would be better than the type S (which has more horsepower and wider tires). This seems contrary to what I would have thought. Any insights?
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    susie701susie701 Member Posts: 4
    We are trying to decide between a new 9-3 SAAB or a 325xi BMW. The BMW would be a base model with just the AWD & CD option. We own a '96 SAAB and have had pretty good luck with it (with the exception of the lack of heat for 3 years which the dealer could never figure out.) Our daughter now has it at college in VT and there are so many SAABs in VT (very few BMWs) The SAAB would be about $4000 less. Does anyone know which one would be better? We keep our vehicles for normally 10+ years. Thanks
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    rbmarkrbmark Member Posts: 2
    Found out from you that Saab 9-3 base 2door was discounted $4700; dealer said he had a manual trans with my color on boat still from Sweden. It was worth the wait; car is an international hatchback, not a mere Swedish peculiarity as some repute. What a refined surprise. Had been looking at VW GTI or Golf TDI; none available in my neighborhood. Saab shines!
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    vicky7vicky7 Member Posts: 1
    I Leased (thank God) my 99 93 and have had no problems until it wouldn't start one day after I had seen my last client. I had it towed thinking it was the battery and a simple servicing that I needed, but was notified the next day that there was something wrong with the transmission. The dealer stated that it was Sabb's policy to replace the transmission instead of having the dealer even check and see what's wrong with it. Now this is fine with me, but seems really fishy. Tell me guys ... you think they're just jerkin my chain?
    sorry to see this happen would have bought this one but that old tinker bell rang just before I wrote the check and said... why not lease to make sure you won't regret this one? now it's probably gonna go back.
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    bill_1bill_1 Member Posts: 97
    That seems kind of fishy to me... was it an automatic or a manual? Generally a transmission does not fail without at least some warning and even if it does it usally won't stop the car from starting.. a bad clutch would but that would only affect manual transmissions. I am not saying it isn't possible, just that it doesn't seem likely.
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    rbmarkrbmark Member Posts: 2
    Vicky7, whether or not you bail from Saab, still you pose an interesting question; post it on the Saabnet.com bulletin board under 9-3 and see what the historied owners say.
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    dnirenbergdnirenberg Member Posts: 3
    can anyone clarify current incentives -- is the $4700 incentive still around, and if so. . . for how long? also. . . what is the price i could expect on an SE?
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    jas3rdjas3rd Member Posts: 2
    The incentives for 9-3's in the Boston area for April are:$4,300 for base car and $5,000 for SE down from $4,700 and $5,500 last month. These were confirmed at two different dealers.
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    jas3rdjas3rd Member Posts: 2
    The Edmund's TMV now listed for 9-3 options is WAY below invoice. For a 9-3 5 spd base with leather, sunroof, heated seats and metallic paint the TMV on these is about $1,000 below invoice. Give this, the TMV for a base 9-3 5 spd and these options is $23,595. Has anyone been quoted a price like this?
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    snaab93se1snaab93se1 Member Posts: 69
    I purchased a 2001 9-3 SE just about a month ago and I was able to buy it for below TMV. The car I bought was a service loaner with 1000 miles on it but was offered to me at more than $2000 below TMV including the options. I'm sure that even with the rumored reduced incentives that you can buy one of these at TMV or maybe even a little below. Great car... if you want o buy one in arizona I can give you the name of the salesman...best transaction ever...no three ring circus acts or games.
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    vigorous1vigorous1 Member Posts: 15
    I'll double up on an earlier poster's view that those considering purchasing a Saab 9-3 ought to go fishing for comprehensive information on Saabs at Saabnet.com.

    Sabbers are the highest users of the internet of all car owners at 86% connected (last count).

    Sabbers also run one of the oldest, finest car forums of any, rated by the National Post of Canada as one of the best of any car sites. It's been going since 1988. Check it out before you get wrong or misleading information.

    Cheers
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    ckenedickenedi Member Posts: 16
    Thoughts on Accessories for the 9-3.

    Purchased a red manual 9-3 5dr w heated seats and roof two weeks ago and have put 1300 miles on it.

    My wife and I absolutely love it. It is a classy, fun car that exhibits well-controlled power and really rewards driving as opposed to just providing transportation. The more time I spend with it on different types of roads, the more I appreciate and am able to push/ take advantage of its power and handling.

    Accessories that I got with the car - I negotiated them into the price and got them at cost: all-weather mats, roof bars, the side cargo net and the sliding armrest. I also put in new 3.5" dash speakers and stoneguard on the lights.

    The all-weather mats are good for us because we sometimes wear hiking boots and track in mud and water that turn to slush or ice overnight. Otherwise I would not bother and definitely not "Saab" mats for $100.

    The side cargo net is also, IMHO not worth $100. There are lots of aftermarket versions available. Saab makes a big deal about dealer installation, and my dealer installed it for free to be nice, but it looks pretty easy to do. Moderately useful for grocieries, especially if you buy wine.

    The sliding armest is great. I can adjust it for long drives and put it away. Loss of the rear cupholder is no great loss, unless you have kids I guess. I highly recommend it and its worth every penny of retail.

    The roof rack is phenonomal and for a serious biker, skier or kayaker should be a significant selling point. At $100 retail it is the best buy in the catalog. It is a joy compared to the Thule we had on our corolla. The rack lived on the car for the spring/summer/ fall it was such a pain to put-on/ remove.

    The speakers were well worth the upgrade. Crutchfield has infinity kappas on sale for $65 or so and for us non-audiophiles they made a difference. We put one in and played with the balance between it and the factory speaker and loved the new ones. We probably will not put in door speakers or upgrade the amp.

    My wife commutes 40 miles 2-3 x week and shares the highway (rt 23 in MI) with trucks and her VW bug has had her share of rocks so we put on the stoneguard. Easy to do, although a few air bubbles. It does not interfere with the wipers and looks fine. Just put it against the wiper rests so they don?t get caught. Seems like it will be thick enough to avoid the foglight replacement syndrome.

    I am thinking of trying to fiddle with the resistor/ thermometer in the seats to turn it into a 9-5 style adjustable butt warmer. I may also replace the drivers side mirror w the european aspherical (but $125, ouch for a piece of glass).

    Despite any gripes it is a great car, and I am very happy I choose it over the V40, Audi A4 1.8t and the Passat, all of which are fine cars that I looked at extensively and have driven.
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    srs5srs5 Member Posts: 1
    According to a dealer I spoke with in the Boston area, the factory to dealer incentive is different based upon whether I pay "cash", take advantage of the Saab lease incentive or the 0% financing. Is this true?

    For example, he said when leasing, Saab offers a very low money factor (interest rate) and a $2000 discounted cap cost for the $339/month instead of the $4000-ish incentive if I financed it myself.

    Should I be able to get a comparable lease for less than $339 (9-3, heated seats, sunroof, metallic paint, no leather)? What is a good price if I want the 0% financing on that same vehicle?
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    gotnadsgotnads Member Posts: 19
    I am just about to sell or trade my beloved 2000 VW Golf TDI 5 speed. My back was injured by my 5 year old son. Seems we were wrestling, and I thought we had stopped. He thought we hadn't. So when I laid face down on the bed he jumped on the middle of my back and herniated a disk. So, sitting and driving my Golf has become an excruciating experience. I can't comfortably shift gears anymore, and the shape of the seat does my back no good. I am wanting to get a Saab 9-3 (never owned a Saab before, but I have been a fan since the 70's) since I have found their seats to be comfortable. My question is, how do the base 9-3 drive with an automatic? Is it slow? Does it shift smoothly? What kind of gas mileage can I expect with mostly highway driving? Needles to say I have been spoiled with my Golf's mpg, which has hit over 65 mpg at times.

    Thanks for the help.
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    lccalvert_1999lccalvert_1999 Member Posts: 69
    Since Edmunds Rebates and Incentives part of the website no longer works, I was wondering if anyone really knows what the current incentives on the 9-3 SE are. I am looking to purchase one, and would like to know if the TMV of edmunds is still correct. I live in the DC market. Thanks for everyones help.
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    lccalvert_1999lccalvert_1999 Member Posts: 69
    VOB just got a brand new shipment in. I asked if they could go to invoice like the other SAAB dealers in the market. He said they are bargaining and will basically do anything but lose money to make a deal. His name is Dennis Hughes at VOB. Tell him I referred you, and maybe he will give us both a good deal. I plan on going this weekend to check out the SAAB. I plan on targeting the 27,500 for an SE with Auto and Metallic Paint. I would be really glad to get a $36, 000 auto for 28,000. Let me know if you talk with Dennis. THanks.
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    ahflawahflaw Member Posts: 1
    I was about to buy an audi a4 1.8t, until i drove a saab. The sticker is much higher than the TMV. I also could not find info on rebates. If the TMV is true, I might be buying a saab. I was also wanting to know about European Delivery Program. I hadn't really considered a saab until I noticed the Vail Police driving them. I could use any information please. Thanks
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    ckenedickenedi Member Posts: 16
    gotnads: The seats are great, the warmers also help. I have a manual 9-3, but tested an auto as well and it was good. Others have praised the auto as well. The S (sport) and W (winter) mode seem to actually make a difference. Our mileage has been around 28 with mixed driving. It improves with premium.

    Edmunds says they don't post rebates because they are not being universally offered, only in markets where there is excess inventory. I beleive this includes the midwest MI/OH that I know of. Saab is also offering a 0% APR and a subisidized lease on its website saabusa.com. This also has info on euro delivery. For more info see saabnet.com BB.

    AHFLAW: Euro delivery, I believe, includes a 5% discount and plane tickets and some lodging but NOT the current incentives. I was able to do slightly better than the TMV in Michigan, so it is possible.

    Thoughts to others mentioning prices and salesmen, you should know that many dealers read edwards BBs.
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    shenbyshenby Member Posts: 1
    I'm in Atlanta however I will drive for that kind of discount. Who is VOB in Boston
    Thanks
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    ryman2ryman2 Member Posts: 7
    VOB: Thanks for info. I live in DC area also and have been regularly checking VOB and International Saab in Falls Church to keep tabs on inventory. We are looking to buy in Sept/Oct but might consider earlier if great deal. Let me know if they are willing to do SE for around 28,000 and if that includes 0% financing. If you can get that it sounds awesome. I am keeping my eyes peeled for dark blue/ beige leather interior. When I visited VOB this week it seemed like sunburst green and silver were the two most popular colors on lot. I hope you find one you like.

    We are also thinking of doing European delivery, although I want to make sure it's not huge price difference. If anyone has done Euro delivery, could you let me know how your experience was and if any hidden charges.

    Thanks to everyone for all the great info on site!
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    saabgcfsaabgcf Member Posts: 3
    We also went to vob this week looking for a 9-3 convertible and spoke to James Walton. We love the car and we are willing to share information to get the best deal for all. We have not gotten into really sitting down to crunch numbers yet. He says the couldn't possibly sell it for less than 500 over invoice. That's as far as we've gotten. We plan to check out International tomorrow. Do you have any more information? Would love to here from you.
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    r34r34 Member Posts: 178
    Sometimes when I started the car, I heard some "boiling water" noise (similar to the engine noise of a small boat). Is it normal ? Is it actually the nosie from the turbo/turbo cooler ?

    Also, I saw a small amount of grey smoke coming out of the exhaust when my wife started the engine.

    My car is only 850 miles.....
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    vigorous1vigorous1 Member Posts: 15
    Starting the car will not activate the turbo. You can tell when your turbo "spools up" from your turbo guage, at speed.

    I cannot identify with your noise. Check it out when you replace your oil after the break-in period. At that time, the dealership will look things over.

    Alternatively, take your inquiry to Saabnet.com and ask around. There, you will find the single most tuned-in Saab (or any auto) community online. Saabers are the most inclined to use the net of any auto owner at 86% when last measured. This is a very tight community of interest. Many have owned Saabs for years and are just getting used to the 9-3/9-5. Saabers are among the most loyal car owners anywhere, with a super-high re-purchase rate. (Second most loyal of the Euro-car owners after Porsche according to Cartalk.)

    Our '99 9-3 puffs out a very thin cloud on start-up. This is supposed to be one of the cleanest-burning engines on the market.

    This car works like a charm after 47K km (30K miles) and still "puffs" at startup. I have to think it has something to do with the clean-burning system this car has.
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    ryman2ryman2 Member Posts: 7
    Test drove a base 9-3 at International Saab today in Falls Church, VA. Had not driven a Saab since 900 series. What a wonderful car the 9-3 is. I have read a lot of reviews on different websites and discussion groups about the turbo lag problem. While I respect everyone's different opinion, I have to say that I found it unnoticable. To anyone who is scared off by reading such posts discussing turbo lag, don't be scared off. Go test drive one. I think the only people who may have a problem are the extreme high end sport car junkies for whom every split millisecond counts. For the average person who wants a fun, quick, responsive car, I think the car satisfies all those needs.

    The amazing thing about the 9-3 is its practicability and versatility. I also read some web sites that complained about having to live with Saab's unique features day in and day out. On the contrary, I found Saab's unique features to be its strongest selling point. The hatchback rocks and provides as much if not more USEFUL capacity than my Jeep Cherokee. The seats- aaahhh!- what to say- they are the most comfortable and most beautiful looking seats I ever have sat in. Better than the Audi A-4 and Mercedes C Class in my opinion. And for the cost conscious, you get all the adjustment variety in the manual seats of a Base model without the added cost of power seats. Finally is interior space. For a car with relatively small outer dimensions, it feels quite spacious and roomy inside. The headspace is amazing due to Saab's "older" design, and the backseat has an amazing amount of room. I'm 5-10 and 195 and the car fit me like a glove. With the driver's seat adjusted for me, I still had room to sit comfortably behind the driver's seat. And because of the deep footwell on passenger side, you can bring the seat up pretty far to allow a very tall person to sit in back and still have plenty of leg room up front. I have to admit though, the stereo speakers are pretty bad. They do an adequate job for listening to the radio/CD, but try to crank them and they get very staticy. If you want to play music loud and cruise, upgrade the speakers- $500 to upgrade to SE speakers in Saab's catalogue. Last thing, for those who like center armrests, oddly there is one in back seat but not in front seat on base model. BUT, Saab catalogue has two different kinds for 43 and 75 bucks which dealer can install.

    Re price- I dealt with Ron at International Saab near DC. Real nice guy- try to deal with him if you go. We didn't get down to nitty gritty, but the factory to dealer incentive is still available in DC and is $4000. There is also 0% financing, but you can't use both dealer incentive and financing- one or the other kids. Still, either one is good price. It pays to work your numbers on Edmunds monthly calculator to find out which is the better route- for me I think if they still have the dealer incentives when ready to buy, they will be way to go since interest rates are so low right now and my wife has a credit union. Do your homework before you buy and I think you can get this car for a real steal. Good luck to everyone.
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    saabgcfsaabgcf Member Posts: 3
    you'll probably say we could have done better, but we got the convertible at invoice with the o% financing and a few extras. saab is allowing a 2.2% holdback, which allows the dealer to go straight to invoice. the 0% is over 5 years -- you really can't do any better than that anywhere! (we could have bargained for a bit more--couple of hundred maybe, but over 60 mths, the difference would have been negligible. anyhow, i believe the dealer's allowed to make a few bucks too.) servicing through 30,000 is free. bob martin was very easy to deal with. this is the third saab we've gotten at international and they always seemed easier to deal with than VOB. they do replacement cars for repairs and servicings.
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    saabgcfsaabgcf Member Posts: 3
    by the way, the break even on the 0% vs the $5,000 credit (with 7.5%) on the car is about a $4,000 down payment (0%) vs a $10,000 down payment $5,000 credit). just depends how much you want to put down on which is the better deal.
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    ryman2ryman2 Member Posts: 7
    Thanks for the info. It will help me a lot when my time comes. I think you got a good deal. I agree with you, International has seemed much more friendly and helpful. I am glad you mentioned the loaner cars for repairs- I didn't know about that but it is a really nice perk, especially when you only own one car.
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