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Saab 9-3 Real World MPG

PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 9,004
With the price of fuel being what it is, the mileage you're getting is becoming more important. This is the place to discuss the mileage performance you're getting out in the real world.

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  • 1viking1viking Posts: 2
    I'm getting right at 24 mpg overall with my 2003 9-3 convertible. Probably could do better if I tried to.
    I do tend to push it, but why buy a sports car to drive slow?

    What do you all think about using regular instead of premium? Mid-grade?
  • rs9904rs9904 Posts: 15
    99 96.5k miles base auto just got an average of 25 on a 2500 mile trip with speeds in excess of 80+ regularly. Typically with cruise at 55 can get 32/33, at 65 maybe 29, at 75 26 or so.

    04 22.5k miles linear cruise control 55 can get 37/38. At various speeds get 34. Mixed driving 27/28

    Great cars
  • dbodekdbodek Posts: 6
    I have been very pleased with my 9-3 Arc's gas mileage. I average around 27-28 around town and about 31-32 on trips. For me this has been one of the pleasant surprises about owning this car.
  • hororhoror Posts: 1
    I have a 2000 9-3 linear with a 5-speed standard transmission. Three years ago i took a trip from Winnipeg MB to Victoria BC, which is about 2300 km (1450 mi) from the middle of the continent to the pacific coast. On the return leg I reset the SID, and on return to Winnipeg it indicated an *average* speed of 115 kph (71 mph) and mileage of 7.8 l/100 km (30 mpUSg) on the highway. My wife has a '99 9-3 with an automatic, giving her about 3-5 mpg poorer mileage around town than i get. We never use premium grade gas, instead relying on 87 octane for most of the year and switching to e10 (90 octane) for the winter. I find that city driving in Canadian winters uses a lot more gas for each of our cars, typically dropping by 5 mpg.
  • My 2001 9-3 turbo is averaging between 25.5 and 27 MPG. I drive from Providence, RI to Boston, MA (approx. 50 miles each way) several times per week. I always use 93 octane fuel.
  • my consumption here to share.
    Seems like it's not care about the speed but the distant. the further I drive it get the better mpg. AT least I am driving at steady speed from 40-80 mph.
    when I drove under 20 miles per trip it got 22-24mpg. when I drove 36 miles it got 26-27 mpg. when I drove 45 miles it got 27-29 mpg. When I drove over 100 miles it got 31-37 mpg. Those are number I can recall from the led screen. :)
  • paapaa Posts: 2
    We are looking at purchasing a 2005 Saab 9.3. Everything I read says it requires Premium gasoline but the dealer says it can use regular unleaded. What do you use?
  • My 2003 9-3 owner's manual states 90 octane so my car runs fine on mid-grade 89 octane. And I always try to buy Shell gasoline too.
  • baldnjbaldnj Posts: 2
    Read the owners manual. I have a 2006 9-3 2.0T and it says it can handle down to 87 octane, but you will lose horsepower at that octane. I still have a ton of acceleration on regular and I am getting about 31 mpg on the highway, 24 in the city. So depending on the model year, you can use lower octane.
  • davem5davem5 Posts: 8
    I average 24 mpg with my '04 Aero 6-speed (using premium), but on a recent trip at a steady 75 mph I averaged 33 mpg over 330 miles.
  • Ive been using regular and mid grade gasoline on my 2007 9-3 SS and I recently had to have it towed to the dealer because my spark plugs were so dirty that my engine wouldn't start.

    The Saab servicer explained that it was due to poor fuel quality and they recommended using only premium fuel from Chevron or 76 (I was going to the cheapest gas station in town).

    My vote is to use the best gasoline around.
  • waterdrwaterdr Posts: 307
    I run 87 Octane only in my 9-3 and average about 26 - 27 mpg. I have gotten as high as 35 mpg on a highway trip, but typically get more like 32.

    I wish the world would wake-up and start making more 4 cyl turbos. They really make sense.
  • How did you get to 35 mpg's highway? How fast (or slow) were you going?

    I go about 65-70 mph each day for my commute and only average around 25 mpg. Which is still pretty good, I guess.
  • waterdrwaterdr Posts: 307
    We just set the cruise and go....usually around 70 mph. Been a while since I took a long trip, but I know we have gotten over 500 miles between fill ups.

    You have to keep the foot off the pedal. Passing a lot etc... will cause the mpg to suffer.

    I get about 30 - 32 going to work and back as traffic slows in a few spots. I also only run 87 octane, but have run 89 and even 91/92 on rare ocassions.
  • waterdrwaterdr Posts: 307
    Are you going by the trip computer, or verifying with actual usage? I wonder if your trip computer is reading a little low. Also, do you live in a hilly area?
  • waterdrwaterdr Posts: 307
    Both actually. Sure, most times I go by the trip computer because It is just too time comsuming to verify all the time and my wife now drives the car and she does not keep track of anything. But, I have compared the trip to real world. The trip seems to read about 5% high...or about 1 - 2 mpg high.

    We live in a mostly flat area now.....Twin Cities. Hills kill fuel economy.

    It is going to the shop right after Christmas. I have a door that won't open from the outside and rge sunroof quit too. Wife said the check engine light came on too. It does it from time to time but ends up being nothing. As long as it is not flashing, I don't worry.

    My biggest gripe is the dam OnStar which is not deactivated due to the fact that it is analog and they won't upgrade. This will be a fun game to play, but the car is 100% under warranty. I am going to demand financial resitution from GM on this...I am soo ticked about it actually that I have written unanswered letters to GM.

    In fact, we just bought a new car and I refused to buy a GM product because of the OnStar fiasco. The salesmen even told me about a new on on the lot "hey, this car has OnStar" and I told him "you have no idea the can of worms you just opened". - lol
  • ronfcronfc Posts: 6
    I have a 2003 bmw325i now it gets a bit hairy in the snow , and it has just about every driving aid in the book, i had a vw jetta 1.8t i run that on regular for a while i did notice a drop in power in the upper revs but that is about all.
    Iwas thinking about a change from the bimmer to a 2006 9.3 if i could run it on regular gas , having to use premium all the time is a real pain
  • I have a '01 9-5 Aero with a manual transmission.
    I get a real world 29 miles per gallon on the highway and 22-23 in the city. I ONLY run premium. I see a huge variance in miles per tank (close to 80 if not more) between regular and premium. Being a 4cyl/turbo car there is ahuge loss in performance (I tend to be a little heavy footed) and again the loss in economy.

    This is a all around great car!
    29 MPG on highway trips, all the room in the cabin for 4 full size people, a huge trunk and still a blast to drive.
    I've outrun V8 mustangs, V8 Hemi Chargers, and tuners. It is a somewhat of a sleeper car, but gets lots of looks.
  • Yes, I was just going by the trip computer. Which could be throwing me off because my daily commute includes both highway (on a very congested highway) and city mpg's (on San Francisco hills).

    So, 25-26 mpgs seems about right for my conditions, I guess.

    I do notice that when Im able to just turn on cruise and not use the pedal my mpg's increase. But still...I cant imagine getting 30+ mpg's!
  • waterdrwaterdr Posts: 307
    Glad you like the 9-5, but if you out running a V-8 Mustang, then they were not trying hard or it was really a V-6 made to look like a V-8. 1999 - 2004 Mustangs run 14.0 flat in the quarter out of the box. The 2005-2008 Stangs run mid 13's out of the box....both cars are sub 5.5 second cars 0-60 mph.

    The 95 Aero runs a 15.2 in the quarter and 6.7 sec 0-60.

    Keep in mind that horsepower sells cars, but torque wins races. Mustangs make more torque and are also geared a lot better to get out of hole over your typical sedan.

    Sorry to jump in on this, but as a Saab owner, and an avid Mustang owner and drag racer, you are playing on my turf - lol.

    The Charger is a bit slower then a stang due simply to all of it's mass. But they are still mid 14 second cars.

    The other thing that plays a part is power-band. Anyone in a Saturn could beat me from a 50 mph roll if they caught me in 5th or even 4th gear, but drop the hammer into 3rd, and the tires get roasted.

    One of the big appeals to me with a Saab though, is Saab's passion for 4cyl turbos. They get much better then average mpg, yet, when you need the power, it is there.
  • waterdrwaterdr Posts: 307
    Don't under estimate the hills and the air. Humidity where you live is probably a tad higher then the upper MW in the winter - lol. Cars like dry, cold air for max performance and hp.
  • I have many customers who have commented on getting 31-32 MPG in manual transmission 9-3 linears (again with premium and drive much more conservatively than I).
  • waterdr.
    I might add I have K&N open box air filer, Saab turbo back sport exhaust, short shift kit, little tighter suspension setup (although the suspension is equipped pretty well "out of the box/standard equip), and pushing close to 280hp and over 300 ponds of torque.

    I've had my Aero for close to 4 years and know it very well.
    I'm sure when pulling another car they are not letting off.

    I will give you that the V8 Mustang will definately beat the Saab in the 0-60, but has no chance with mine (unless modified) at 40-110.

    Being around Saabs for 10+ years and a history of Porsche/Audi/Saab racing I feel you are playing on my turf.
    Do you own or driven the Saab 9-5 Aero?
    The car produces more litre to hp/torque ratio than a Porsche 911 Turbo.
  • Interesting watch and done by one of my favorite programs.
  • waterdrwaterdr Posts: 307
    Hey, I used the "turf" comment first - lol

    Has the car been dynoed? K&N is good for about 1 - 2 hp and an exhaust upgrade downstream of the cats is good for maybe 5 - 10 at most, though many net 0. I have spent a lot of time around dynos and most people are very dissappointed after spending money on these types of bolt-ons because they never deliver as advertised.....myself included.

    I do not own a 9-5, but have driven a 9-3 Aero and a 9-5 Aero. They both seemed spirited to me. But everyone has their own definition. My good friend and neighbor has a nice 911 (non-turboed) and the car is lot faster then his 9-3 least by the butt-o-meter, but I am sure the 1/4 mile time would confirm that. One thing that sort of aggrevated me about the Saab turbo programming is that after a few seconds, the waste gate opens a bit further and the boost drops-off. They must do this to protect the motor and allow Saab to claim the 250 hp, when really it is less after a few seconds at WOT. I am not sure if the Areos work this way or not.

    Keep in mind....I don't street race. Never have and never will (not saying you do). The only real race to me is one either across country or on a 1/4 track. As such, I don't have a good feel for what other cars do from a roll. I used to have trouble with a Neon SRT-4 when my car was still stock from a roll. Cars have sweet spots. I have raced many Vettes and generally I get them out of the dig, and they play catch-up at the other end of the track. My car currently runs the 1/4 in the very low 12's and traps at 112 mph. I often times beat cars that trap at higher speeds, but I get there first. This means, they are gaining on me at the end of the track.

    We both may be correct. If you have raced a car from a roll and won....then that is a fact. But there is a huge difference in performance between a mid 15 second car and a mid 13 second car...there really is no comparison. The 9-5 Aero have a stated 1/4 trap speed of 94 mph which is really not fast at all and is a prediction of how much hp a car makes. Stock mustangs typically make 98-100 mph in the same distance which really is not all that breath-taking either. Having a better exhaust and intake filter will definately help the car breath better on the top-end, but will only net you 1 - 2 mph at most.

    I get those stupid tuner cars running my dam bumper all the time. Sometimes I will squeeze the trigger a little bit and get on it while still staying w/in common sense of the law. Then I get the ricer fly-by and I am sure they end up at the local Burger King bragging that they beat some guy in a sick sounding Mustang.

    The other thing that I do is drive like I stole it. I have raced guys who should beat my butt, but their "wimp-o-meter" kicks in or the "I still have a payment and my wife is gonna kill me if I wreck meter" prevails. Some people can't drive worth a crap either. One of the fastest cars on the road for the money is a 2003/2004 Mustang Cobra. I have seen people run these at the track and not break 14 seconds....when they are mid 12 second cars all day long when put in the right hands (they are a bit hard to drive with the IRS).

    Anyway, bench racing never gets anywhere. But if you want to make that car of yours truly quick, get it on a dyno, toss in a custom tune and see what you need to do to get the boost up. Saab truly wimps out on boost on these things as they only push around 5 - 6 psi, though I am not sure. Each lb of boost will net you about 5% more hp. If you can get it up to even 10lbs, then you will add about 20% more hp. But unless you open up those headers on that puppy, doing exhaust work won't amount to much of anything but make noise. But at higher levels of boost, it will help more. (I am not a Saab engine expert and never tuned one)

    Saab get a lot of power per liter, but there is no replacement for displacement. The nice thing about owning a larger displacement motor that they generally run at lower compression (such as a Ford V8) so that you can do soo much more with it. Mustang Cobras can make 600 wheel hp with nothing more then a pulley swap and a tune and still not be in much danger of blowing a motor.

    Anyway, I like Saabs...have and probably always will. I own a 9-3 but regret not buying a 9-5 for the extra room. I think Saabs are the forgotten son of the highway. Drive great, safe as hell, get nice MPG, quirky, and are not boring like most everything else. I wish they were more reliable and cheaper to repair, but I will worry about that when my warranty expires.

    Anyway, if we happen to meet on the highway, please ride my bumper, so I can get on it. But, when you pass me, please don't tell all your friends that you beat some SOB in a Mustang - lol
  • waterdrwaterdr Posts: 307
    I have always used 87 octane on in my 9-3. The book states (if I recall) that it prefers 89 which is considered mid-grade where I live. I see some places where 90 is considered premium. Out here, 93 is "premium" in the summer and a lot of places switch to 92 in the winter. Some stations only have 91 though year-around.

    If the car is set to run on 89, then stepping back to 87 will result in power loss assuming the car has knock sensors and the ability to pull timing. But, the power loss would be in the 2 - 4 hp range...perhaps 5 hp tops. The butt-o-meter can't feel 5 hp except for the fact that you wallet gets thinner from spending the extra money on gas. Perhaps the Saabs pull more timing then I think....I don't know.

    If the car is designed to run 92/93, then stepping down to 87 would be more noticeable and perhaps even not advisable.

    Know something funny? As fuel prices increase the percent different in low grade and premium fuels decreases. Meaning that if you can get better fuel economy on higher grade fuel, then going with higher grade will actually pay for itself and then some.

    Up here we have a lot of E-85. Once the warranty is up on the 9-3 I may consider having it tuned to run E-85. That stuff is 105 to 120 octane depending on the blend. Talk about adding timing....
  • waterdrwaterdr Posts: 307
    BTW, the 1996 - 1998 Mustang GT's were slow. They suffered from a bad head design. They were 15 second cars and the 2005+ V-6's are quicker then most of them. Many owners have upgraded the heads, but running into a 1996-1998 GT especially with an auto would be an easy match for a 9-5 or 9-3 Aero.

    The 1996-1998 Mustangs are the biggest misstake since Ford introduced the Mustang II in the mid 70's. Not to mention this was the first years after Ford dropped the much loved 5.0. It was a bad time to be a Mustang fan.
  • I have about 1000 miles on my 2007 9-3 Aero Sportcombi. I've been averaging 15.8 mpg in a mix of city/highway. I've been driving like a wuss, not accelerating hard, etc. so I have no idea why my mileage is so low. I'm worried something is wrong with the car! Any thoughts??
  • Wow..thats so low.

    When I first bought my 2007 9-3 SS, I was averaging slightly under 20 mpg city/highway. But, I was also using a low grade gasoline from the grocery store (Safeway) because it was about .15 cents less than other gas stations! I quickly found out that Safeway gas was really bad for my engine. At one point, my car wouldn't start b/c my plugs were so dirty. So, I think my poor gas mileage was due the gasoline I was using.

    Now, my car has about 5k miles on it now and I use a 91 grade only. Also, I set cruise whenever I can and currently Im getting around 25 mpgs city/highway.

    I think it takes about 3k miles or so for your car to 'break in' so maybe the mileage is lower during this initial phase?

    Try running a 91 or 92 grade and setting cruise at 65 or 70mph. If its still that low..I would take it to the shop...thank god for the warranty. (My car has been in 3 times already!)
  • waterdrwaterdr Posts: 307
    Some causes of low fuel economy:

    1 - Stop and gop traffic....drivers forget about how bad that is on fuel usage.

    2 - Poor O2 sensors. The O2 Sensors determine the air fuel ratio.

    3 - Under inflated tires, though not a big hit.

    4 - Using inpropper fuel. If teh car is designed for 91 octane, you will see a hit with 87.

    I don't buy the cheap brand issue with fuel. It ALL comes from the same place. Anyone remember the Simpsons and the Duff Beer? Fuel is pretty much the same. HOWEVER, if you a r running an Ethanol blend (15%), you will see a fuel economy reduction too.
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