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Saab 9-3 Coupe (2002 and earlier)

15791011

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    maynardf1maynardf1 Member Posts: 127
    A more comprehensive source for would-be saab drivers is saabnet.com.
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    huntzingerhuntzinger Member Posts: 356
    ... is typically a "you bought it" type of proposition.

    The difference is that instead of paying some amount and having a zero balance at the end of the term, you pay something less, and at the end of the term, you owe some additional lump sum amount, which is what is called the "balloon".

    FWIW, if you don't have the cash, some balloon loans are set up so that you're able to effectively re-finance the balloon amount over the next couple of years.

    For a totally made-up illustration, with bogus numbers that are guaranteed to be wrong, consider the following:

    Assume: $20K financed @ 8%

    Normal 3 year loan: $626.72/month

    Hypothetical Balloons

    #1: $1/month, with $25,200 due at end of period
    #2: $300/month, with $14,000 due at end of period
    #3: $626/month, with $20 due at end of period.

    And so on. Basically, you're paying interest on cash and not paying off some percentage of the principle.

    The basic idea behind the balloon for car loans is to still buy the car (and generate principle) while keeping the payments as low as a lease (where you never generate any principle).

    The trade-off with cars is that cars depreciate. If a car depreciates to a value lower than your balloon residual, you're stuck behind the power curve pretty nastily.

    -hh
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    22sub22sub Member Posts: 9
    thanks for the input guys. i'm actually very familiar with the mechanics of how these programs work (i.e. low payments, high final payment). the only reason i would consider using one of these programs is with the option to give the car back at the end of the payment term, just like with a lease (these programs exist, or at least they are fairly common in this part of the country). you simply pay a fee (probably $100 - $250) to give the car back instead of refinancing or paying it off. i have 2 partners who are currently doing this - 1 w/ mercedes, 1 w/ ford.

    what i am really trying to get my hands around is: if i can own the car within a balloon-type program and have payments as low as with a lease, plus avoid the tax that exists with a lease, is there still an argument for why i should still lease and not buy? (nyccarguy) i presume that 3-yr free maintenance would exist on the same car whether i buy or lease right? this scenario seems to point to taking advantage of the balloon, unless i'm missing something?

    thanks,

    22sub
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    boonsboroboonsboro Member Posts: 22
    When I looked at this the big difference is the effective interest rate. Saab is currently offering a money factor of .00001 on a 3 year lease and a money factor of .00055 on a 4 year lease. The equivalent interest rate is basically 0% for the 3 year lease. The credit union with the "smart lease" (balloon loan) wants something like 7% interest.

    Compare the extra interest cost from the balloon loan to the personal property tax (which is probably deductible on your federal taxes) and see which is the better deal. I'm going to guess that you are better off with lease.
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    nyccarguynyccarguy Member Posts: 16,557
    I can offer no further comment as I don't really know about these types of loans. I think Huntzinger said it best in his explaination (he usually does). Maybe there's a law in Texas that allows this type of transaction.

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2022 Highlander XLE AWD, 2022 Wrangler Sahara 4Xe, 2023 Toyota Tacoma SR 4WD

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    22sub22sub Member Posts: 9
    thanks again for the input - the money factor vs. interest rate might be the difference i'm looking for. i will let you know if i find out more good information. cheers,
    22sub
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    peacefrogxpeacefrogx Member Posts: 2
    if so, what is the offer? and as far as the premium package, is it possible to pick and choose different aspects of the package and toss out what you don't like? For instance - Saab is offering full maintenance coverage and checkups
    every 10k/20k/30k miles despite the fact that the car would be under a bumper-to-bumper 4yr/50k mile warranty... which should be sufficient for a 3 year lease.

    any thoughts out there?
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    mpg5mpg5 Member Posts: 68
    i am seeing base 9-3 lease of $2990 total due at signing $239.00 per/36 mos. tax/tags extra. rolling tax into payments came to $251 per with $13700 approx buyout. 12k miles per year. looks pretty good to me, but i'm afraid of all the "SAAB" stories i am hearing. for potential buyers, one local dealer told me saab is offering $4000 cash back now. if they need to offer deals this aggressive, there must be some merit to the poor build quality/design issue. i really want one, love the esoteric design/utility of a cavernous hatchback coupled with 200hp turbo and sports car handling, but haven't been able to take the leap of faith.....yet.
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    huntzingerhuntzinger Member Posts: 356
    If I had to do it over again, I'd lease.

    Overall, my Saab was reliable for the first 3 years. It wasn't until it it 36K miles that it went downhill.

    -hh
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    BlokeBloke Member Posts: 10
    Another reason for the aggressiveness is the simple fact that there is a totally redesigned 9-3 on the way. I made the leap just a few weeks ago, and so far am very happy with the car. I am not too worried about long term reliability, as I am leasing.
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    hppypaulhppypaul Member Posts: 43
    I think it would be nice if somebody started a conversation about how great the 9-3 can be when it's running well. I

    find mine to be the most balanced car between "fun to drive" and "practical" that I've ever owned. I used to be a vw guy, and looking back, my GTI and Passat needed more repairs over time than the 9-3 ever has. Lots of little aggravating stuff that made them rough around the edges.

    Enough about lease rates and problems, how about some positive feedback about what you can do to customize, and make the car even more fun. The only thing that bugs me is that the new 9-3 is supposed to drop the hatchback. It's why I got it in the first place. If they do this, I'm gone anyway. If you agree send an e-mail to saab.
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    jas28jas28 Member Posts: 50
    but your key statement was "when it's running well." I'll get off of my problems with my car, but it's still an important aspect of the ownership experience - enough of an issue for me to count down the days to the end of my lease in July!
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    nyccarguynyccarguy Member Posts: 16,557
    I find my Saab to be extremely practical. Coming from a 1998 Ford Explorer Sport I was worried about losing room. Fold down the rear seats and my Saab swallows cargo. I've moved a friend back and forth from NYC to Ithaca, NY with all his stuff (no furniture). I moved countless bags of clothing and various other items from my old apartment on the east side to my new apartment on the west side.

    My Mom takes my car instead of her CLK when she goes on runs to Costco or a large grocery run.

    The few times we've had snow over the duration of my lease since December '99 I have not missed my 4WD Explorer one bit.

    I've taken the Saab skiing with 4 people (myself and 3 others) with skis and equipment in the trunk (skis fit nicely through the pass through). The Turbo works great on those high altitude hill climbs from the NYS Thruway to the mountain.

    I Love the effortless power, tightly wound suspension, night panel, & everything that makes it a Saab.

    I don't like the stock rubber that came on the car. I also don't like the look some people give you when they find out you drive a Saab. For me it cost about the same as many SUVs out there.

    When I was looking to lease in late '99, I was quoted $525/month for a GLX Passat & $475/month for an Accord EX Sedan (Both with $0 Down 36 months/ 36K). For $398 & change I pay, the Saab was way more fun to drive! I think I made the right choice!

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2022 Highlander XLE AWD, 2022 Wrangler Sahara 4Xe, 2023 Toyota Tacoma SR 4WD

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    mpg5mpg5 Member Posts: 68
    when you say downhill, approximately how far did it go?
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    nyccarguynyccarguy Member Posts: 16,557
    he means down a very long, steep, down hill. Scroll back through the last hundred or so posts and you'll find it. Huntzinger had lots of trouble with his car.

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2022 Highlander XLE AWD, 2022 Wrangler Sahara 4Xe, 2023 Toyota Tacoma SR 4WD

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    mpg5mpg5 Member Posts: 68
    thanks.
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    huntzingerhuntzinger Member Posts: 356
    There was a handful of little stuff, which I was willing to overlook. The big stuff was:

    36K - first clutch replacement
    45K - loss of lubrication without any loss of oil.
    It ate alive its timing chains & gears.
    47K - second clutch replacement

    I would have accepted any one of these problems as "bad luck", but this was more along the lines of: "3 strikes and you're out."

    The clutch problems were due to a failed bushing, which evidentally was not "self-lubricated for life" like it was supposed to be. It would begin to bind, which would erode itself even more. It would eventually cause the clutch cable to break and leave you stranded. This is an Engineering design/manufacturing defect and it cannot in any way be attributable to the operator's driving habits.

    My Saab's warranty listed transmission "wear items" as being covered for only 1 year/16K miles from time of purchase instead of the normal warranty duration. The catch is what exactly is and is not on this list. The clutch cable and release bearing are, but if I had to do it all over again, I would get a list of specific part numbers for the items excluded as a condition of vehicle purchase.

    BTW, the Saab Customer Assistance Center's phone number is 1-800-955-9007. They're open M-Fri, 8AM-8PM Eastern Time USA.

    -hh
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    pocmonsterpocmonster Member Posts: 15
    Unfortunately, I do not get enough time to spend with my '99 Saab 9-3. As a college student in New York City, I have no need for a car in the city, and I only get to drive it when I go home for breaks, but those few moments that I do get to drive my car bring me such incredible feelings of joy. Now that I am used to the turbo engine (automatic gearbox), I find naturally aspirated engines weak and unsatisfactory.

    I got my car used. It had something like 55K miles on it already. There are a few squeaks and rattles, but nothing even remotely annoying. Of course, I must admit that getting those in a used car is considerably less disturbing than on a new car. My air control dial was malfunctional, but repaired at $200. Since I also got floormats that day at the dealer, they threw them in for free. This is 128 Saab in Massachusetts, by the way.

    I got Bridgestone Potenza RE950's, which work beautifully. I have noticed that there is something not quite right with the steering however. It's precise, but not really centered correctly, even though I have had three alignments done already. Firestone provides free lifetime alignments for $99. So when I go in to the dealer for the big 60K checkup this summer, I will have that checked. Also, the autobox shifts a little harsh between first and second sometimes, so I want to have that checked as well. Does anyone else find that problem?

    Other than that, my car has been absolutely perfect. My mother drives it regularly, and likes it more and more each day she spends away from her '97 MPV. I do not think Saab 9-3's are any more unreliable than other cars. If you look at the other car boards, there are really just as many problems.

    Anyway, just thought I would share a positive experience.
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    ligartligart Member Posts: 109
    With the new 9-3 coming soon, I sincerely hope you KEEP a hatchback in the lineup. This is a KEY ingredient in making a SAAB useful. (It was a pity you discarded the hatch on the 9-5, especially when the hatch model looked like a trunk anyway.)

    If you read any of the internet discussion groups (e.g. Edmunds.com) you will see people LOVE their SAABs because they have a hatch and are VERSATILE.

    Please please don't go to a trunk! If you give in to the common notion that "no one wants hatchbacks" it will be a BIG disappointment!
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    huntzingerhuntzinger Member Posts: 356
    If you read any of the internet discussion groups (e.g. Edmunds.com) you will see people LOVE their SAABs because they have a hatch and are VERSATILE

    Agreed. The presence of the hatch & folding rear seats was a very big part of why I originally bought mine, instead of a 3-Series BMW.

    -hh
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    jas28jas28 Member Posts: 50
    That's why I got mine also - if I hadn't had so many problems with mine, I'd be getting another one. I'd challenge anybody to show me a car that size with that much utility. The only thing I'd ask them to improve (besides their reliability and quality) is that the rear seats fold truly flat (like the Pontiac Vibe/Toyota Matrix). None of the other cars on the market can fit to Labrador Retrievers in the back with such ease!
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    nyccarguynyccarguy Member Posts: 16,557
    Agreed! I love the hatchback! I don't like the blind spots that come with it! I've fit a Great Dane in my car! Of course she sat in the back for abour 2 minutes and then she came up and sat in the passengar seat!

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2022 Highlander XLE AWD, 2022 Wrangler Sahara 4Xe, 2023 Toyota Tacoma SR 4WD

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    maynardf1maynardf1 Member Posts: 127
    Morning paper has a first look at the Mazda 6, successor to the 626. It's going to start as a sedan, but for '03, mazda will offer both a hatchback and a wagon derivation.
    From the review, it sounds as though the thing will be a blast to drive.
    I wonder if saab might do the same thing with the 440: broaden the line-up to include a hatch.
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    huntzingerhuntzinger Member Posts: 356
    Prior to my Saab, I had had a VW Scirocco. As such, the Saab was a pretty big step up in size, mostly for back seat, but also for cargo volume.

    I spent 2001 looking around for a suitable replacement for the Saab. It went slowly, mostly because of a lot of other commitments which stole my free time. There really aren't that many hatches out the marketplace, although things have heated up very recently in the lower price segment. As per Edmunds, there are exactly 3 hatchbacks in the $25-30K price segment (and 58 SUV's/Trucks).

    Overall, you have a couple of basic issues and product groupings to consider what your personal biases - er "preferences" ;-) are to narrow down the list. Besides price, they are:

    - European, American or Japanese design philosophy?

    - The back seat: is it there just to lower your insurance, or is it really for people (you like) to sit in?

    - Style: genuine hatch, or will a wagon do?

    -hh
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    nyccarguynyccarguy Member Posts: 16,557
    3 hatchbacks & 58 Trucks/SUVs...sad world we live in huh?

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2022 Highlander XLE AWD, 2022 Wrangler Sahara 4Xe, 2023 Toyota Tacoma SR 4WD

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    hppypaulhppypaul Member Posts: 43
    Any Viggen owners out there with a story to tell?? Is the performance that much better than the SE?? Any trouble spots worse than what's typically stated here?? With the changeover coming, I'm hoping to get a good deal on a Viggen Ragtop next year when they really want to move them.
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    huntzingerhuntzinger Member Posts: 356
    That's why I got mine also - if I hadn't had so many problems with mine, I'd be getting another one.

    Exactly the same story here.

    I'd challenge anybody to show me a car that size with that much utility.

    I recall reading a review on like a dozen of the midsize SUV's a few years ago...and when I got to the part on cargo capacity started laughing out loud: my Saab had a greater carrying capacity than all but one of them.

    I'm going to miss the size of the trunk. I'm also going to miss watching hours of CNN in the waiting room down at the Saab dealership.

    -hh
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    nyccarguynyccarguy Member Posts: 16,557
    If you want to get a good deal on a Viggen next year, I'd say go with the 5 door, not the convertible. I had a 2002 SE Convertible as a loaner when I brought my 2000 9-3 5 Door in for service a few weeks ago. WHile it was really cool to have a convertible for the day (especially since it was 60 degrees in the afternooon), the blind spots with the top up were really bad, and structural rigidity seemed to be non-existent with the top down (Read SHOOK LIKE A LEAF). The car felt slower due to the weight increase in the convertible. I noticed the difference while I was driving the convertible, but they were even more apparent when I got back in my car. My 5 door accelerated quicker (even with the less powerful 185hp engine) and felt as solid as my Mom's old 1990 Mercedes-Benz 300E.

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2022 Highlander XLE AWD, 2022 Wrangler Sahara 4Xe, 2023 Toyota Tacoma SR 4WD

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    jas28jas28 Member Posts: 50
    Your service department had CNN? I wasn't so lucky - all I got was the opportunity to read the same "History of the Saab 900" book about 500 times. (At least my service department had soda and Starbucks coffee for free. I got to sample it all too many times.)
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    smu1976smu1976 Member Posts: 110
    O.k. it's not Colorado Springs, but what do they teach you in the Viggen Academy? Any grads out there? Any recent buyers of the Viggen and deals out there yet?
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    dstraudstrau Member Posts: 17
    Any suggestions rather than paying the ridiculous dealer prices?????have checked a few websites on saabnet.com and have come up empty handed
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    snaab93se1snaab93se1 Member Posts: 69
    First off all I can say is stay away...no rebate is large enough to put up with this car. You can read my earlier posts from a year ago about all the positives of this car which there are many....but here are the negatives:
    1) Rattles rattles and more rattles. And if it doesn't rattle it squeaks, thumps,scrapes and any other adjective you can think of. To give you an idea I had an 1988 ford with 107K miles on it that was worlds quieter and better put together.
    2)Here's a list of other things that went wrong:
    keep in mind the car has 14K miles...
    Front suspension bushings replaced to remedy a cheap rubbery loud sound when going over speed bumps and to fix the loud thump when going over railroad tracks( I'm talking a thump so loud you pull over to make sure the wheels are still attached)I don't think this is all the car needed but this is all that was fixed after two days.
    The Saab Information display has moisture behind in and was illegible and on its was to burnt out..this was replaced too..Of course this will cost you $500 when the warranty is up. Then the engine light comes on during a u-turn...I laugh and keep driving cause its not gonna be my problem much longer..actually traded it today
    3)Customer service is horrible at the dealer and Saab could care less..I took the time to fill out their survey for service and asked to be contacted regarding the loaner car policy and problems I was having with the car but I was never contacted.
    All I can say is keep shopping ..don't be lured in by the rebates
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    exlegendexlegend Member Posts: 22
    Sorry to hear about all of your problems. My wife just picked up an '02 9-3SE Saturday and loves it. Why not? All of 100 miles on it so far! I'll admit this is the first car I've ever LEASED, having owned Acuras for the past 15 years, and while they've become somewhat bland, still exhibit near bullet-proof reliability. Hopefully, the problems have been confined to the 1999 through 2001 models, no offense.

    We normally keep our cars 7 to 10 years, with excellent maintenance complementing basic reliability from the factory. I got a little ansy with some of the posts (nyccarguy and huntzinger, to name two) on this site, so, with a money factor of near zero and only 36 months of "ownership," we gave the 9-3 a try. My wife learned to drive on a Sonnet and believes a Saab and a 5-speed is the way to go. We'll see.

    When did all of this heartache start with Saab ownership? When GM bought into Saab? Are there ANY 9-3 owners out there with 1999s through 2001s with positive ownership experiences?
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    snaab93se1snaab93se1 Member Posts: 69
    I'm not saying that the 9-3 does not have good attributes..it does..awesome seats, acceleration, handling and an a/c that stands up to the heat hear in Phoenix Az. However a car in this price range should not rattle apart after 1 year of mostly pampered driving. Furthermore the problems I experienced were simply not acceptable in a car that is only a year old...if it sounds like there is a crack baby with a rattle in the back seat at 14K miles what will it sound like at 60 or 80K miles??? I shudder to think because this started at 1500 miles and progressively got worse. Display failure, suspension problems and a check engine light just show the poor build quality. I should also mention that while i was waiting for the service manager to locate a loaner car (which i had to fight for even though they kept the car for 2 full days..again not acceptable when the brochure states loaner vehicles for warranty work) I noticed a repair order for a 99 9-3SE with 56K miles....1)Coolant light stays on
    2)Enginge has oil leak
    3)Engine making abnormal noises
    Besides this I have watched several Saab owners get the bad news of their repairs while waiting for my car to be serviced...$1000+ repair bills and they all left annoyed in rental cars. I do wish you luck on your 9-3...but i'd give it back when the lease is up and get another acura
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    huntzingerhuntzinger Member Posts: 356
    I'll admit this is the first car I've ever LEASED...

    If I really had my mind set on another Saab, I think I would have leased instead of risking all the headaches that I did. I'd also make sure to have extensive ("extended") warranty up the wazoo to make sure that there's absolutely no doubt that Saab pays for everything - right down to windshield washer fluid :-)

    Overall, this reminds me of a conversation I had at a PCA meeting several years ago, although the subject of discussion was a Range Rover.

    At that time (not sure if this is still true), Rovers were plagued with electrical gremlins and the owner's advice was "the perfect vehicle to Lease instead of buying", based on the ability to be able to walk away from it.

    So if we were to suggest a new topic of:

    "You had better lease these vehicles instead of buying them, because of their poor reliability"

    ...what would we put on that list today, with the Saab 9-3?

    -hh
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    nyccarguynyccarguy Member Posts: 16,557
    There are many positive attributes to my Saab. It is a blast to drive (even with a slushbox), the seats are great, The leather is showing no signs of wear even after almost 3 years (not a long time, but still), the ride, the handling, the acceleration. You made the right decision by leasing (especially coming from Acuras). I've had no major problems with my car (knock on wood), and most of huntzinger's problems occured after the magical warranty period was up. Another poster here has had problems from the get go. Enjoy the car!

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2022 Highlander XLE AWD, 2022 Wrangler Sahara 4Xe, 2023 Toyota Tacoma SR 4WD

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    maynardf1maynardf1 Member Posts: 127
    The lease on our '99 9-3 just expired, and we got something completely different (saturn vue, fwiw), but we loved the car for the most part.
    Coming from a '95 900 that had many problems, including a water pump pulley that cracked and took out several engine components with it -- later the subject of a recall.
    The worst thing about the 9-3 was the manual climate control, as many have said. But once the control box was replaced, it worked great.
    There were rattles, but I was able to eliminate most with some foam tape, especially on the rear seats where they meet the upper strut and detach for folding down.
    We had a 5-speed and that's the way to go, imo.
    Another great thing is the safety of the car. I was hit once in the 900, in the front driver's side by truck coming through red light, and once in the 9-3, rear-ended at a stop.
    Neither was a severe accident, but I could drive to the dealer both times and was not hurt at all. The anti-whiplash head rests performed beautifully when we were hit from behind.
    Overall, I'd say the car can be frustrating when it's rattling or the suspension is creaking on a very cold day. But when it's right (and mine was most of the time) it's a joy to drive.
    Hope you and your wife have 3 great years in it.
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    jas28jas28 Member Posts: 50
    THe car is fun to drive, but should NEVER be owned outright. The reliability just isn't there. Besides, I refuse to put felt tape on a car to quite the rattles when when it's supposed to be competative with a BMW 3-series.

    Only 14 weeks until I can dump my car back on the dealer.

    Anybody ever tried to get out of the disposal fee charged on leases? I'm thinking about asking for an exception since my car has had SOOOOOOO many problems, I could never even consider buying it out at the end of the lease.
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    nyccarguynyccarguy Member Posts: 16,557
    with the amount of problems you've had, I'd be happy to pay them to take the car off your hands! LOL!

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2022 Highlander XLE AWD, 2022 Wrangler Sahara 4Xe, 2023 Toyota Tacoma SR 4WD

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    dstraudstrau Member Posts: 17
    Knopck on wood.nothing mechanical yet.for 9 months.just some annoying watrranty stuff.rattle in back,(a Saab trademark!!!!!!) power seat console on driver side came loose but still works.and brakes squeak (only in reverse!!!)
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    vigorousvigorous Member Posts: 15
    This black, Toyota-box automatic sunroofed, leathered 1999 9-3 is by far the _best car_ I have ever owned.

    Fast, classy-looking, comfortable, safe and RELIABLE, the UK AutoClub placed the '99 9-3 FIRST, tied with three Japanese cars in reliability with zero (0) faults found after two ((2) years.

    Faults on ours included (1) the heaterbox, replaced under warranty and (2) a bushings squeak in v cold weather from startup lasting 10 minutes.

    If you have only ONE car to buy, it should be this one. More Saab people, per owner, are online than any other car. No other car sells to strongly on a single test drive than Saab. No other car has so many dog owners per unit than Saab. Most people (surveys say) will think you PAID MORE FOR IT than you did.

    Bottom line is loyalty. Saabs placed 6th overall behind only Porsche among Eurocars and a few Japanese cars for buyer return purchase. I'd buy another one in a New York Minute if I needed another one but Saabs last so long, you're not always turning 'em over; longer, in fact, than Toyotas and Mercedes in engine life.
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    jas28jas28 Member Posts: 50
    Which 3 Japanese cars were those? (If they're Suzuki, Isuzu and Manzda, that's more believable than Toyota, Honda and Nissan!)

    While I'll admit that I have a lemon which is far worse than the average Saab 93, between the other Saab owners I know and every time I walk into a dealer and see what problems people are having, I'd have a hard time believeing that Saab is that good.

    Just my 2 cents...
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    huntzingerhuntzinger Member Posts: 356
    While I'll admit that I have a lemon which is far worse than the average Saab 93, between the other Saab owners I know and every time I walk into a dealer and see what problems people are having, I'd have a hard time believing that Saab is that good.

    Same here. It seemed that there were always a ton of cars always waiting for repair, and invariably, it seemed that there was always someone there for the same problem I was having (and this included my engine rebuild from that "mysterious" loss of lubrication that happened somehow without any loss of oil).

    -hh
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    nyccarguynyccarguy Member Posts: 16,557
    you both will like this one. I do love my 2000 9-3! While I haven't had anywhere near the problems that huntzinger had during ownership and jas28 during his lease period, I decided long ago (when I signed the lease agreement) that I was just going to turn the car in at the end of the lease (nothing against the car, but I've never been a lease, then buyout kinda guy) and look for something else.

    I had my heart set on a BMW 325i or 325Ci which I was planning to get via European Delivery. The BMW would have put a significant strain on my already tight budget. I decided to go Sport Coupe. The car I've wanted since it's introduction in 1997 is a Honda Prelude Type SH. They stopped making the Prelude at the end of last year (2001), so my hopes for owning one were dwindling. I called a few dealers here in the tri-state area and after about 2 weeks of calling, my local dealer (Nanuet Honda) found a brand new 2001 Red Prelude Type SH for me. I put a deposit on the car and am going to pick it up either next week or the week after.

    I've still got the Saab to enjoy too until December 4 or 36,000 miles (whichever comes first). 6,000 miles shouldn't be a problem. The problem will be driving the Saab (Slushbox), when I have a new Prelude (5 Speed) sitting in my driveway!

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2022 Highlander XLE AWD, 2022 Wrangler Sahara 4Xe, 2023 Toyota Tacoma SR 4WD

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    vigorousvigorous Member Posts: 15
    I believe there were two (2) Nissans and a Mitsubishi tied for 1st place with the Saab 9-3 but I could be wrong about those three.

    The article should be available at BBC archives.

    It is generally accepted that Saab has a more consistently high-quality dealer prep program in the UK than they do in North America.

    My car is serviced at a Saturn dealership, which always wins on dealer service in North America according to JD Power. This may give Canadian Saabs a small edge in North America.
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    vigorousvigorous Member Posts: 15
    I wuz wrong about those Japanese cars. Here's the report:


    http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/uk/newsid_1470000/1470045.stm

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    pocmonsterpocmonster Member Posts: 15
    I have had no major trouble with my Saab so far, but the British offer glowing reviews of Saab reliability. So is it somehow the case that right-hand drive Saabs are better screwed together? Hmmm...makes me wonder.
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    vigorousvigorous Member Posts: 15
    The cars are exactly the same except for the placement of the steering assemblies.

    As I say, it is generally accepted that Saab has a more consistently high-quality dealer prep program in the UK than North America. ***All** Saab initial assemblies are done in the EU, right?

    There are various combinations of diesels and trims levels made available in the EU which we don't get here, mainly because, in the case of the diesel, our refineries are too dirty and in the case of trim (optional equipment) levels, North Americans are unhappy with basic transportation and generally "trick out" their cars with as many options as are available - and then some.
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    ipse_dixitipse_dixit Member Posts: 24
    As the former owner of an '89 900S, one of the things that got me down about the car wasn't just the lack of reliability, but also the expense of repairs. I loved the car and the overall quality of materials, but once it went out of warranty, I knew that even if I could live with the various and sundry problems, I couldn't afford to fix them (e.g., $1000 for an engine management chip--that was re-conditioned no less). The parts costs also put my insurance rates through the roof, as they directly affected the collision coverage.

    That, however, was all on a pre-GM car. Can anyone tell me if parts costs have gone down on the post-GM cars? I thought I had my heart set on a WRX, but then was enticed by the near-$23,000 stickers I've seen on 9-3 SE's. I know this is the last model year and all before a major revamp, but at that price, I'm having a hard time turning down the idea of a Saab, reliability issues and all. Any thoughts?
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    vigorousvigorous Member Posts: 15
    I expect we've been paying high parts costs, mostly because of limited production runs compared to the Chevies and Toyotas of this world. That, and currency exchange on Euros and the previously primitive (and therefore costly) shipping and distribution network for parts, now vastly improved through GM's Saab acquisition.

    While I don't expect we'll come down to big-volume car parts costs, I don't think we'll remain at BMW cost levels either.

    The car I drive is so new, I simply have no way of comparing, since I've done nothing but brakes so far. A muffler, spray pump for the glass-washing system and antenna were all replaced under warranty

    - the pump, as it saved much time-consuming tinkering by a GM warrant mechanic.
    - the muffler, because in-town driving with frequent shut downs in cold weather traps moisture.
    - the antenna, because I hit the garage door with it once and it was never the same after that.

    What I do know about the Saab is that it has a reputation for long life, if maintained. Some significant portion of long life maintenance is preventative. So I religiously maintain oil, filter and liquids changeouts and otherwise keep the tires, the body, and interior finishes in more or less pristine shape.

    As well, consistent with advice I got from a race car and bus mechanic, I try to 'drive gentle and firm', avoiding hard, abrupt anything, whether it's jarring surfaces, cornering, braking, or constant forcing of the engine and tranny.

    It's hard to compare the WRX to the Saab 9-3. The Saab will give you more of almost everything and the image you project is radically different. Most people, for example, still think Saabs cost far more than they really do. And more people see you in your car than in your clothing.
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