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Saab 9-3 Sedan



  • Well, I'm into my second week as a 9.3 owner and I have to say, looking forward to the drive takes some of the edge off of having to get up and go to work in the morning. I am loving this car!
    Question for previous Saab owners (rgc2200??): The owner's manual says not to wash this car or take it through a car wash for "3 or 4 months". Only to rinse with a brush that has water flowing through it. Also, no waxing for 3 or 4 months. All this, under the guise of allowing the paint to harden.
    I've read that new cars have their paint applied at high temperature and that they are totally cured and hardened by the time they leave the factory (at least that's what Meguier's, the wax manufacturer says...) Now certainly Saab must know more about the cars they build than a car wax manufacturer does, but 3 to 4 months to wait for a wash!!! It's going to be a LONG winter. Anyone have any thoughts on this? Anyone go totally crazy yet and wash their new Saab with...CAR WASH?

  • logic1logic1 Posts: 2,433
    GM wants Saab to up sales to 200k, so it is not likely it will let quality dealers escape. The financial problems at Saab are more the function of duplicate bureaucracy and expensive exclusive vendor agreements.

    GM is working to meld back office work with Opel and put Saab even more into its global purchasing. The latter is the trickiest thing for GM/Saab as no one wants Saabs to be too close to Opel and Saturns.
  • Anyone know the gear ratios (and final drive ratio) for the 5 and 6 speed manuals?
  • Can anyone help me with a price for a 2001 9-3???
    I've been offered a 2001 9-3 with
    automatic trans
    heated seats
    very very clean
    28k miles
    runs clean and sweetily (I think...)

    for $18,700. This took some doing on my part.
    The car has 2 yrs of orig warranty remaining; plus 2 yrs/50K miles of certified used saab warranty.

    is this a good deal? what am I missing?

  • brucec35brucec35 Posts: 246
    I also shared your concerns, but the car impressed me enough to take the chance. On the plus side, the new 9-3 has been well reviewed and articles have said Saab expects to nearly double sales, worldwide. One reason given for the late arrival of Arc and Vector models was high demand in Europe.

    Here in Atlanta, Kelley Saab pulled out last year, but Jim Ellis has two new dealerships here that seem excellent in terms of sales experience that I had.

    I really think that the problems in the past were caused by having old models that needed updating to stay at the cutting edge, and prices that were too high compared to the merits of the cars vs. the competition.
  • brucec35brucec35 Posts: 246
    Try as a starting point. I know there are others out there. Try a web search with "lease trade" or "assume lease"
  • That is a very reasonable price on a 01 9-3, with lots of options. Thats a fair # of miles for 2 years, and I'd just make sure the service was done, (you'll get stuck with the 30K service, which if done properly might run 5-600$). To me, frequent oil/filter changes is the most important service done to a new car. if you are suspicious of anything, bring the car to a reliable foreign car mechanic for a check over. I've done it before, and its well worth it.
    moose, my friend, I also saw that warning, and it made me chuckle too. First of all, most new car washes are done with soft cloth/sponge like material, and lots of water pressure that don't put alot of abrasive force on the car. I'm going to talk to my service manager, who has rarely steered me wrong, and with all their experience they'd know if any cars have ever been damaged by a car wash. On my 2 week anniversary, with clear weather in the forcast for at least 5 days, I hand washed mine with a big, automobile sponge, cotton towels (no soap) and it looks great. The wheels took me a while. RGH: Saab has had financial troubles before. I believe GM is committed to the company, and especially the new 9-3. Dealerships may compress, but I think it would take a major disaster/bankrupcy to close down saab totally. just my opinion. any owners hear anything re: onstar availability for installation?
  • Hi everyone,

    Wow, brucec35, thanks for the detailed info! You went into a lot of detail, and have given me a lot to think about. Let me add some more thoughts and see what I get in return.
    To make a long story short, I probably would've leased a different car back in 2000 but just liked the S80 because of the styling and safety features. I just kind of fell into the lease without thinking too much and regret that some days. After close to 3 years of driving it, I am ready to move to a sportier car, one better suited for my age. What I do enjoy about the Volvo, first and foremost, is that I know that if I get in an awful accident, I know my chances of walking away from it in one piece are high because of the number of airbags, the WHIPS seats, the crumple zones, etc. I guess this car makes both my mother and myself sleep better at night.
    However, the car is a bit too large for my needs and I am looking for something that has a bit more sex appeal (me being only 24). Here are my thoughts on the cars I am looking at.
    Audi: I am still deciding on the 1.8T, the 3.0, and whether or not to do quattro. Of the 3 (Ar, 3 Series, and 9-3), I find the A4 the most conservatively designed. It is sexy, but in a subtle way. Its interior ranks next to the Saab's, with the BMW's way behind (rather plain looking for such a costly car). I found the A4 as roomy as the 9-3, and cavernous when compared to the 325i. A lot of what I think during test drives will be based on my current car. The 1.8T engine is of equivalent HP to the S80, but the car is much lighter, making me think the car will act much quicker. However, I am not sure if it will seem underpowered when compared to the 3.0. In addition, I am not sure what effect quattro will have on the speed and handling.
    BMW: The styling of the 3 Series, I believe, can't be touched. It is sexy, classy, and sporty, all in one. Of the 3, it is the smallest car, and shows when sitting inside. During the recent auto show here in Boston, my roommate made the comment that BMW wants you to feel like you are a part of the car. *scratches head* Anyway, being 6'2", it was the tightest fit of the 3. The interior leaves much to be desired, especially in a car of this price. I know that the driving and handling can't match the A4 or 9-3, but the cost leaves a bad taste in one's mouth.
    Saab: I've always found the 9-5 to be the most beautiful car on the streets, and it is nice to see a lot of this in the new 9-3. My heart skips a beat seeing these cars on the road. I just love the styling. The interior is on par with the A4 and miles ahead of the BMW. The Linear model is a bit too basic, so I am thinking of leaning toward the Arc trim. Again, being 6'2", I fit nicely into this car, as I did in the A4. One big concern is that this car was done under the umbrella of GM, and long-term reliability is a key issue. I know the A4 and 3 Series have had more years to work out reliability issues.
    What I am looking for in a car, after having been in an S80 for almost 3 years, are the following (in no specific rank or order): reliability, safety (as safe as the S80), handling, comfort (being 6'2), price (not looking to pay MSRP or higher). I know that none of these cars is going to have all of these aspects. I just want a car that I will love driving, that won't be in the shop besides oil changes and check-ups, and will just be a joy to own.
    Thanks for the suggestions in advance.
  • rghesselrghessel Posts: 122
    Anyone in the know have any sense of Perillo's committment to Saab? Their Chicago dealership is pretty dumpy (though I'm not particularly concerned about that), and with Saab's financial troubles, I'm wondering if Perillo is going to keep their dealership. (I know there are other, better, suburban dealers, but unfortunately, they are too far away from my home and work to be realistic for me....)
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    GM will no let Saab die anytime soon. In fact it's getting money pumped in for new product. It can't come soon enough as the product line is far too small. I suspect once Saab gets their SUV, a new 9-5 and perhaps a small car (that's the rumor), sales will pick up big time assuming new product is anything like the 9-3.
  • logic1logic1 Posts: 2,433
    Again, Saab's financial troubles concern administrative issues in Europe and have no real effect on dealerships in the US.

    Perillo is cramped for space at the Diversy lot where it sells Saab and Lincoln/Mercury. Most likely, it will sell that lot to housing developers and combine Saab with its BMW operations closer downtown.

    But I know from the Perillo salespeople that they have sold more than 10 9-3s already, with little advertising. The car is being received well in Chicago. There is no reason for Perillo to stop carrying what is selling.
  • May I ask which BMW you owned? If it's the 3-series, what year and how would you compare it against your 9-3 Linear in terms of ride/handling in normal weather & condition? Is the ride bumpy or comfortable in both cars? I like the Vector but worry about the ride of those "sport suspension" they use. I believe the Linear might have a softer suspension for a more comfortable ride than the BMW?
  • SylviaSylvia Posts: 1,636
    A journalist with a major newspaper wants to talk with consumers who've bought entry-lux cars (e.g. BMW 3, Mercedes c-coupe, Jag X-type, Audi a4, etc) in the last year, ideally buyers who were new to the luxury brands, to talk about how they like their cars and why they bought them. Please respond asap by Wednesday, December 4 to with the type of vehicle and approximate amount you paid for it. Thanks!
  • oldsman01oldsman01 Posts: 1,203
    Has anyone read Edmund's review of the 9-3? They seem to like the car, but I didn't come away with the impression they loved it. Of coarse, I've never put much stock in their reviews anyway. Several things they did complain about were the automatic tranmission and the audio system's lack of bass. The overall opinion seemed to be the new 9-3 is far superior to the old one, but waiting for the Arc and Vector might be the order of the day. Their review said those models will have a 13 speaker 300 watt sound system among other things. Also, their acceleration tests had the automatic Linear doing 0-60 in 8.1 seconds and 1/4 mile in 16.2. Not bad for a 175 hp four and I would imagine and manual would be quicker. For me though, I'm wondering if waiting a few months for the Arc wouldn't be a bad idea. An extra 35 hp never hurts and I certainly want a decent audio system. BTW, does anyone know if the Arc and Vector will offer XM radio? Also, are both the Arc and Vector going to have a 6 speed manual or just the high end model?
  • rghesselrghessel Posts: 122
    From Edmunds review: With a couple of screens already on the dash, some of you might wonder why a navigation system is not on the options list. A nav system is available in the European market, but Saab has not yet decided whether to offer it in the U.S. for 2004. We suspect that its omission has something to do with limited consumer interest; a J.D. Power survey released last year found that less than one percent of 2001 model year vehicles were equipped with nav systems. And Saab, a company that deals in smaller volumes, likely cannot afford to peddle an unpopular option.

    Is this really true? I want Nav!
  • "but Saab has not yet decided whether to offer it in the U.S. for 2004."

    They haven't decided yet. Hope they do offer it here. Regarding those JD Power surveys, I hope they don't survey those cars that don't offer Nav as an option.
  • brucec35brucec35 Posts: 246
    Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) I never owned a 3 series, but did have a '97 540i auto/ w sport suspension added and replaced that with a '98 540i sport 6 speed that was in better shape cosmetically and a better color (artic silver vs. montreal blue). I did test drive 4 different 3 series cars (325, 325 sport, 330 sport, 325 coupe sport). The 5 feels heavier, of course, but overall, the BMWs give slightly better road "feel", meaning you feel like you can tell exactly what your tires are doing. But they are also smooth riding generally. The 5's have less body roll than the 3's, imo. With the sport package you could hear some tire noise, but it never felt loud. Neither Saab nor BMW is Lexus like quiet and isolated, but I consider that a good thing.

    I consider both the Saab and BMW's to have a great combination of ride and handling. The Saab is really fun to drive, especially with the optional sport wheel/suspension package. When you factor in that a 3 y/o BMW cost me more than I'm driving a new 9-3 out for, I think the Saab gives 90% of the driving experience for a lot less money. Also, I'm frankly just tired of BMW's and the "stuff" that goes along with owning one. I also like that the 9-3 "feels" smaller than it is, even though it has interior room within an inch in most dimensions of the 5 series BMW.

    I live in Georgia and so don't drive in snow more than once a year or so. We drove it last winter in snow and the traction control light was flashing but we didn't have any problems at slow speeds.
  • brucec35brucec35 Posts: 246
    My understanding is 6 speed manual on the Arc and Vector.

    I am also unclear about the stereo on Linear models with the launch package. Edmunds goes on and on about it only being the Infotainment 1 system, but the website says it is Infotainment 2. I dont' have an audiophile's ears, so I only tested it briefly. Ours is in transit from another city, and I won't pick it up till this weekend. It should say on the sticker, I assume. I also notice that Saab is now calling it "Entertainment 1/2". But whatever the test cars had, they sounded decent to me.

    The auto transmission felt slightly less smooth than the BMW's, but that's the best I've ever driven. But it felt superior in terms of response to that of the Infiniti G35, which has more hesitation to kickdown. For a 4 cylinder turbo, I thought it had very smooth, immediate power. A little more engine noise than the BMW inline 6, but again, that one is the best.

    Finally, I read one review on the web from another country that said expect the 210 hp units to reach 60mph .5 seconds faster.

    My question is....anyone know of a place to look in the future for Saab turbo "chips" to boost up to the Arc/Vector .80 bar?
  • I agree on the 6 speed.

    Try Hirsch for power upgrade. They are a Czech company and have taken the old 2.0 turbo 205-hp Aero (Euro model) and given it 280-hp and 400 Nm torque (more than just a chip upgrade, I think). If the new engine/turbo can handle the pressure/heat get the 6 speed and you should be able to do this.
  • The new 9-3 received 5 stars in the Euro NCAP tests. (see latest results)

    Just don't get hit by one if you're walking across the street. (one star of possible 4)

    I think that the Saab can give you all but the assurance of reliablity. The last 5 years of Saabs have been pretty good and their customer commitment is better than most manufacturers.

  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    Can any Saab owners out there tell me what servicing costs are like for their current 9-3 or 9-5s? One thing that always scares me about luxury brands is the jacked up servicing costs associated with them.
  • I drove a new 9-3 5 speed manual. Liked the car but there was one very annoying ergonomic factor. My foot would fit under the clutch pedel while cruising along. The first time in 25 years I have experienced it. There is a foot rest to the left for my clutch foot, but its not where i like to keep that foot. This is crazy.
  • jdisanjdisan Posts: 28 where the heck do you put 13 speakers?
  • jdisanjdisan Posts: 28
    each side front footwell - 2
    top and bottom each front door - 4
    top and bottom each rear door - 4
    Back sill - 2
    Subwoofer somewhere under a seat or in trunk - 1

    = Boom...13 speakers.

    (sorry for having this conversation with myself on the board - that was a complete waste of 8 mins of my life)
  • scroll back and you'll see a thorough explanation of the infortainment. briefly, i followed your reasoning via the saab website, assuming the launch package had the 300 watt upgrade, infortainment 2 system. my salesman said no. i contacted saab via there website, and they actually called me admitting their website was confusing. the launch package has the onstar, infortainment dash package (which is fully integrated into the steering wheel, computer system) but only 140 watt 7 speaker system. i got an apology, (but no upgrade). the stereo is OK. . not fabulous. I don't crank the thing anyway.Joe(&carol) the clutch pedal doesn't bother me at all, and i'm tall (6'4"). as far as Nav. . most people I know who have it never use it. many don't know how to use it. I could see it being useful 1-2X/year, but i'm not sure I'd pay for it.
  • 2001 9-3
    3300 km / month (Oct 2001 - August 2002)
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

    I was recommended by my serviceman to do oil&filter change every 8,000 km, the manual says up to 16,000 km (for all highway driving). I actually took it in around every 10,000 km at a cost of about $140 CDN per service (oil, filter, multi point check, tire rotation, etc.). My factory Michelin MXV4s will need replacing after 50,000 km (seems early to me). There is a valve sticking problem that was fixed (more or less) 6 months into ownership, covered by warranty (the asses gave me a saturn loaner).

    So I was doing $500 CDN/ year + tires (winter and summer sets) = about $700 CDN/ year. Probably pricey compared with other cars, but I drove my car a lot and loved every minute of it.

    Does 2003 come with 3 years service?

    OnStar licks donkey in Canada. <- Just my experience (they couldn't find a provincial park in Ontario, I found the nearest hospital before them by just driving around, they found IKEA and The Beer Store no problem)
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    $140 for oil/lube/filter and tire rotation? Wow, that sounds like a lot. My Intrigue gets all that for $39.99 at my dealer. Do you have to bring it to the Saab dealer or can Jiffy lube do the job?
  • I take it to my Saab dealer, where the Saab qualified mechanic plays with my car. They do their multipoint inspection, top other fluids (transmission, brake, steering), and turn the 'Service Due' off on the SID (Saab Information Display) that pops up everytime you start the car, and whatever else.

    I got it back from service once and the engine rpm self limiter was 300 rpm higher. Before I took it in I could do 97 km/h in second gear, now I can hit 104 km/h. Nice to avoid that last shift right before the bell. Of course if I shifted faster I should probably shift as I pass 90 km/h but that's neither here nor there.

    I bought a near/entry-luxury car and intend on treating it right.
  • The British "Car" magazine did a comparo test of the 9-3 with 175hp, the Jaguar X-type 2.0 (which we don't have here, the Mazda6 2.3, BMW 320i, VolvoS60 2.0T, and surprisingly enough it was ranked near the bottom. Comments of note were harsh engine and questionable suspension set up.
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    Well, if you have a nice car then yes you should take car of it. I know our Intrigue is not quite as expensive a car, but I baby it with a nice garage, 2 waxes a year and lots of washes and oil changes. Cars definitely last longer if you take good care of them.
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