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Saab 9-3 Sedan



  • According tp Saab's customer service a Navigation System is going to be available on the 93 for the 04 Model Year.
    I picked up an accessory brochure this weekend from the local Saab dealer. It shows a Navi screen in three or four shots where they show accessory wood trim etc.
    So I asked the dealer, they said the Navi system is not and won't be available on the 93....maybe for MY05.
    That's two years away! I hope that Saab's customer service is correct, for the Navi to be available for 04.
    Even that's sad since you can get a lousy
    Honda Accord with a Navi already today.
  • brucec35brucec35 Posts: 246
    I like the Acura TSX too, but if you want an automatic it will probably be a dog with such a low torque rating. And let's face it, you're talking a 4 cylinder Accord here, with a nicer interior and some suspension and trim tweaks. Less expensive than the 9-3, but also less car. As a lower cost manual car, it's a pretty nice ride...finally a Honda with decent looks.

    As far as leasing a 9-3 costing less...that depends. If you're going to switch cars in 3 years anyway, maybe. If you always trade in and take the hit vs. selling it yourself, maybe. If you really do drive only the 10-12K miles allowed, maybe. And if you get a really good lease deal, maybe.

    But usually leasing is more expensive in the long run. One reason people in the car biz love leasing. As far as comparing leasing to buying based on residual history of the OLD 9-3, that would be a mistake. The new car is a superior design, and the old car, despite it's charms, was distinctly inferior in areas the masses of people look at, to its competition. So I would expect an '03 model to hold its value a little better if it turns out to be reliable, which might throw off your math.
  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    Congratulations on your new 9-3!!!

    Is your monthly payment of $407 before or after sales tax? Thanks.

    I agree with you that this vehicle is very underrated. A lot of people are surprised to hear that you have a Saab, and they're thinking "weird, quirky, unreliable, strange-looking, not sporty, what the heck was he thinking?" Only if they get more information and/or ride/drive the vehicle do they understand.

    And ironically, the previous 9-3 and the current 9-5 are both "above average" in Consumer Reports, better than the Volvos that some folks compare them too (and hopefully the first-year model will be okay).
  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    Leasing provides a dealer a lot of ways to wring profits out of a customer. The equations and terminology are more complex than a simple loan. There are plenty of places to hide additional cost in a lease, whether it's adjusting the leasing fees at the front or end of the deal, playing with the cap cost, changing the money factor or residual, etc. Too many leasees end up focusing more on what they're going to pay monthly.

    I agree that resale on this 9-3 will probably be better than the previous 9-3, but I'm still concerned over potentially low demand. E.g. the soft economy, combined with the fact that the vehicle is already discounted $2,500 (purchase price) after it's been on the market for a few months (and some discounts came earlier). Usually, new European introductions get only modest discounts for the first year, even in a tough market.

    If the resale value does turn out surprisingly well, that may benefit leasees. Current residual values are computed at 52% - 54% of MSRP. If the vehicle exceeds that, it makes purchasing it at lease-end more attractive. Though it's almost always more expensive to lease+buy than to just buy. And more expensive to just lease vs. buy.
  • The $407/month includes a 7% sales tax with 15,000 miles/year.
  • Both of your posts got me thinking a bit more, but ultimately I decided to go with purchasing- even if I end up selling after just three years. One, my insurance coverage goes up with leasing. Two, I am almost positive I will go above 10k/yr. Three, as wmquan said, more hidden costs.

    needashave: I've been contacting the exchange, gartner, and flikkema who are all giving me quotes of 27ish for auto, launch, heated. I need to get my credit cleared(as I moved to the states only three years ago and lack a solid history) before I start negotiating hardcore.

     I was under the impression you were going with the exchange. What made you lean towards shopping with Patrick's?

    I have a friend who is also interested in purchasing a Saab, although she wants to wait for the arc. Gets me thinking...if both of us were to rush in and buy two at one time, would the dealers give better prices? hm, if so I hope she decides to go with a linear instead of waiting.
  • oldsman01oldsman01 Posts: 1,203
    Thats not a bad price at all. In fact, I'd be willing to pay that a month for a 36 month/15K lease on a well equipped 9-3 with that small of an amount down. The problem I'm seeing with alot of the "attractive" lease deals that are advertised on many cars is they want 2-3K down. To me, thats getting a bit much for a down payment on a lease as one of the benefits of leasing is the lower initial cash outlay.
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    I saw on DJ new today, Saab sales were up 62% in January. 9-3 has really pumped thing up for them!
  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    Just out of curiousity, though -- are sales being up 62% as big as it sounds? Oh, I'm sure it's good news (better than being flat!). But consider that the old vehicle was not selling well and was not very competitive in the eyes of many buyers. Plus last January was only a few months after 9/11 and sales were depressed for a number of vehicles. So it was inevitable that there'd be a sales jump.

    One reason I ask is because Saab is already offering large discounts for a vehicle that is barely out of the gate. That's not something that's typical of European luxury or near-luxury cars.

    Just curious, I'm not bashing the vehicle. The new vehicle, especially with discounts, is a very attractive proposition.
  • logic1logic1 Posts: 2,433
    Yes. And of that figure, 1,427 were Linear 9-3s. Add the Arc and Vector to the mix and 9-3s should go over 20k for the year.
  • r34r34 Posts: 178
    I sent email/fax to various Chicago Saab dealers (including Exchange and Patrick). Exchange gave me better quote. I got a 2001 9-3 from Exchange. I had service at Patrick one time and was very disappointed. It is a combined Cadallic and Saab site. It's liked an old-fashion GM site.

    Now I always bring my car back to Exchange even though they are quiet far away from my home because it is a big SAAB ONLY site. The site is beautiful, large, and more up-scale. It is not liked a "local" dealership. Service people there are nice and knowledge. I always reserve a loaner car for major services. I got a new 9-5 one time.
  • Purchased Saab 9-3
    Linear-Launch, Touring, Heated seats, Auto -$27.6K +TTL, put me in the low 29's drive-out. (end of month purchase Jan)
    VERY Nice Car..I wonder how long its gonna take to figure out all the quirks everyone talks about.
    Compared to A4 1.8t CVT, Passat GLX auto.
    Price point for all were 28K. Germans have the transmission down, both were way smoother than the 9-3 (turbo lag/sentronic-fraction slow to shift at times), but if I'm correct the transmission on the 9-3 is also from germany. Interior styling was highest in the Passat. A4 best overall handling. I felt though the 9-3 had everything else though, plus the deal. Definitely exterior styling, safey rating and technical amenities more in the 9-3. It's always good to be a little different too. Basically it was splitting hairs on which one.
    Thanks for all the info and tips...I think I got a pretty good deal. I might try this next time too...I cold called the finance guy to explain lease options, GM Smartbuy etc. etc. then inadvertently found out about the discounts....still not sure I got all of 'em but I think they only made minimal on the car.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    I'm still intrigued by the 9-3 Arc and am wondering if anyone has compared it to the BMW 325i?

    I'm thinking about the Arc at $27,000 with GMO and rebates vs. a 325i with European Delivery at about $28,000 ($1500 over ED invoice).

    Any comments?
  • logic1logic1 Posts: 2,433
    Perillo Saab is about 10 minutes away from me. No one here ever mentions it. Is that a function of geography, or is this a dealer to avoid?
  • I had loaner car form dealer today. It's new 2003 9-3. And I saw the armrest is leather....
  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    had2plus1: Congratulations on your new 9-3 SS! Which discounts were you quoted?

    BTW, according to the sticker, the transmission is actually made in Japan! I believe the engine is made in Germany, though, Saab-engineered Opel/Vauxhall.

    hungshy: Was the 9-3 with the leather armrest an Arc? The Linears I have looked at have a fabric leather armrest. However, I think there is, or will be, an accessory to replace it with a vinyl or leather armrest. It's hard to tell at because they don't make it fully clear if some accessories are for the 9-3 Sports Sedan.

    fedlawman: IMHO, with pre-GMO discounts, the 9-3 is a European sedan bargain. With GMO, it's even more so. The only risks I see are potential first-year reliability issues, though it's important to note that the previous 9-3 and the current 9-5 are actually better than average, at least according to Consumer Reports.

    That all said, if I could get a comparably-equipped 325i for the same price, I'd get that instead. The 9-3 may be the best-handling FWD sedan out there (the FWD A4 may be the only challenger). But the RWD 325i is simply going to provide more fun and refinement if your interest is in a sports sedan. Of course, there are other factors to consider like interior room, level of luxury, etc.

    Similarly, if it wasn't for the sharp 9-3 discounts, I'd probably buy an A4 quattro.

    I thought you preferred the G35, though. Have you soured on it, or is it the relatively high asking price compared to discounted vehicles?
  • Perillo Saab is actually only about 15 minutes away from my place too. I don't know why I never considered them but I'm already up to my head with these non-stop emails and phone calls from dealers hassling me to buy asap. Guess I didn't want to add another place to the list. If you decide to compare them with the other dealers, let us know how they fit in.

    I'm planning on purchasing sometime this week, I'll post the results when they happen. As for the friend I mentioned before, she's holding off for the arc and wants to compare it to the A4(played out i say) and the g35 sedan(no point unless you get the coupe right?) beats me... but looks like I'm going in alone.

    One last thing: I want the laser red but I've only seen the color on a convertible. What are your opinions on the red? If not red, I will go with the black.
  • I went for my test drive of the 9-3 at Patrick because they had about 8 of the 9-3 non-launch in inventory. FYI, all the non-launch cars at Patrick had the leather (could be vinyl) armrest. In fact, the dealer did not have any more of the launch 9-3s and claimed that they would not be getting any more. IMHO, the 9-3 has a very firm ride (read: I felt every bump). While this is a non-issue on the highway, Chicago city streets can be pretty uneven (read: the potholes here can consume small children). My preference leans toward a sporty suspension versus say a Lexus, but I would pay close attention to decide for yourself before you buy. Otherwise, the 9-3 has few compromises that I could find. Let me know how your shopping goes. Sounds like you are getting the right pricing. I heard that Exchange now has 100 of these cars.
  • bob550kbob550k Posts: 148
    I have a few questions,

    Are all of the 9-3 convertibles turbos?

    Are they reliable or should I get the aftermarket warranty?

    Anything to lookout for while making the purchase?

    My friend offered me a 1999 convertible Automatic 36,000 miles for $13,500. It's a very nice car and I'm considering it carefully.
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    > Are all of the 9-3 convertibles turbos?

    Yeah, they all have been turbos for a while. They have come in 185, 205 and 230HP flavors. You can get them all up to 230HP easily with aftermarket products that aren't all that expensive.

    > Are they reliable or should I get the
    > aftermarket warranty?

    The engine is supposed to be a longevity wonder. The car is a dated design, which has pros and cons: it's proven and sorted out, but it is also flexier than some more recent designs.

    > Anything to lookout for while making the
    > purchase?

    The major issue seem to be interior squeaks and rattles. Drive the car, and not only over rpistine pavement, to see if you can live with that. Mind you, most queaks and rattles can be fixed, but they'll eventually turn up again.

    I got an '02 SE convertible, full spec, last year and have loved it. It is quirkier and an acquired taste, but I like the unique value proposition a lot. New as it is, the dealer had to fix several squeaks in the interior.
  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    Was the firm ride you felt for a vehicle without the Sports Wheels Package?

    Ride comfort is of course an extremely subjective thing. The 9-3 doesn't ride as comfortably as, say, a Passat, but it doesn't have the Passat's body roll or softness in corners.

    What kind of tires were on the vehicles you've driven? E.g. some 9-3's have the Pilot Sport HX MXM4's, which are pretty good (not great, though), but they are a bit noisey and do affect ride comfort. Some dealerships, but not all, will let you swap tires, e.g. for Michelin MXV4+'s.

    Finally, proper tire inflation helps too. It's amazing how many dealer demos aren't inflated correctly.

    That all said, though, the vehicle does ride firmly and I can see your concerns with ride comfort.
  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    IMHO, the A4 isn't played out as it's still pretty new (released in the U.S. for the 2002 model year, I believe).

    It does have trade-offs, however. The A4 has some pros and cons over the 9-3.

    - Smaller on the inside; especially the rear seat and trunk.
    - First-year reliability not good.
    - European crash test scores good but not as good as the 9-3.
    - No anti-whiplash head restraints.
    - With the automatic and quattro, the 1.8T strains to really move the vehicle; lots of folks opt for the manual or have to go to the more expensive 3.0.

    + More luxurious and refined inside than the 9-3.
    + Better resale.
    + More prestige if that matters to the buyer.
    + quattro makes a big difference, for sure-footedness if you live in a colder climate, and nice handling even if you don't.
    + Scheduled maintenance for 4 years instead of 3 IIRC.
    + Available in a wagon (Avant) trim).

    Ultimately it comes down to price, though. I think the way Saab has MSRP'ed the 9-3 means that discounts are inevitable, as I don't think that most mainstream buyers will buy a same-priced 9-3 over an A4 (especially if one can get quattro at a similar price). But Saab dealers are aggressively discounting so we all win, and the 9-3 thus stands out really well vs. the A4.
  • vmguam: I completely agree with you in your A4 vs 93 debate as I was in the same situation a couple of weeks ago. Both are great cars, but the discounts and the stupendous low financing offered by SAAB were like a magnet and made the 93more attractive... Under the same circumstances (i.e. no discount and normal financing) I probably would have selected the A4. As an example, the MSRP of my car was 31,610 (launch, touring, 17” wheels. heated seats) while a fully loaded A41.8T 5sp Quattro is $31,681.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    I drove the G35 several weeks ago (6?) and I remember being blown away by it. However, my memory of the subtleties of the drive are gone, and after driving four BMW's in the last few days, I not so sure anymore.

    I remember the speed and the cornering of the G35, but I just can't remember well enough to compare the tightness, refinement, or comfort of the G35 vs. the BMW's I have recently driven.

    The BMW's just have this feeling of oneness, of supreme confidence and competence that I have not experienced in many cars before.

    Before I make a final decision, I will need to drive the G35 and 9-3 Arc back to back with the BMW to truly decide where my priorities lie.

    And I must admit, if I go for the BMW, I don't know if I'll settle for the 325i, so I'm probably looking at $35K for a 330i...which is a little more expensive than the 9-3 or G35.

    Decisions, decisions...
  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    Understood. The BMW does have that exalted driving feeling. While overhyped in the vehicle marketing, it's definitely based on truth. Seems like every manufacturer tries to copy it but they always come up slightly short. Question is always if that n-th degree is worth it.

    Agreed that a back-to-back test is in order. Perhaps when the Arc hits the showrooms Real Soon Now.

    BTW, besides Carter Saab in Seattle, and Barrier Saab in Bellevue, you may or may not have heard that a third Saab dealership is opening up in Fife. It'll be a Cadillac/Saab dealership, an interesting combination that does reflect the corporate roots.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    Fife is a great location for a car is another factor in my decision that I didn't mention. For example:

    I went to Bellevue Saab for my Linear test drive and thought the salespeople were uninformed, and rather low quality. Traffic in and out of Bellevue is a nightmare too...and what's up with that trailer they have for a "showroom?"

    Also, I remember the Infiniti salesman told me they are opening a Tacoma dealership too...probably in Fife as well, I'm guessing. That's a plus because I wouldn't want to go to Kirkland every time I need service.

    You're right about the BMW though. I plan on keeping this car for a long time and want to be completely satisfied. BMW offers tangible superiority in performance and general road worthiness, something I'm willing to pay a premium a certain extent.
  • logic1logic1 Posts: 2,433
    Thanks. I will start looking seriously in March when the Arc debuts. I do plan to keep all posted here.

    I have seen one new red 9-3. I thought the car looked very good in red. The red is as rich and lustrous as any I have seen south of Ferrari. Red really brings out the clean lines of the new design.

    Be warned, it is very bold. The car will definitely be noticed. I am leaning toward the dolphin with the parchment interior myself.
  • jdisanjdisan Posts: 28
    Still a Vector fan, but it seeems like every week a new car is being introduced into this sub $35k "sports sedan" segment. Has anyone test driven the new c230 sports sedan yet (not the coupe) with the six speed?? Or checked it out at all?
  • rgc2200: In a previous post you mentioned that you added steel accents to the interior of your vehicle. I'm looking to add something like that to enhance the appearance of my interiors. I looked at the saab catalog and I couldn't find anything other the wood and carbon fiber interiors. Could you please let me know where did you get it from and how much were the accessories + installation? Thanks.
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