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Saab 9-3 Real World MPG



  • waterdrwaterdr Posts: 307
    BTW, problems with a car resulting in poor fuel economy can be readily seen by reading the air fuel ratio. For $60 you can toss the car on a dyno and have a technician read the actual a/f comming out of the tail pipe. Saabs, being turbos, are probably designed to run in the 12:1 range or something close to that. A poor O2 Sensor may cause a car to run rich. A wide-band O2 sensor such as that used on a dyno might show a 10.5:1 thus explaining why you might be using 15 - 20% more fuel.

    Then, the next step would be to determine why it is running rich. Some dyno tuners can data-log sensor data while the car is on the rollers and he might be able to id where the problem is. A good mechanic could do the same with a road test, but he won't be able to tell you what the actually a/f is, just what the O2 sensors are saying it is.

    O2 sensors on a car are of the narrow-band variety. They sens a voltage signal usually between 0.1 and 1.0 volts to the ECU depending if the car is running rich or lean. They can't measure the actual a/f, but only know when you are running rich or lean.
  • My '4 9-3 Arc Conv with 27k miles gives about 25 - 26mpg around the city. I think thats good enough for a sporty car. The Saab is not a "sports car" though - my Mazda is more fun to drive !!

    I put Mid Grade. With regular I keep getting carbon buildup & the engine runs rough. With mid grade everything is good & mid grade gives me about 2 mpg more than regular. I have tried premium for sometime - saw no advantages over mid -grade (same mpg, no advantage in engine roughness or number of times I have had the carbon buildup cleaned).
  • Hold the phones! I was getting very low MPG for my 2007 SAAB 9-3 SS, and then I re-read the owner's manual carefully to figure out how to reset the fuel average meter on the dash. Suddenly my MPG (as reported by the car) shot up to 28 - 30 MPG (I do mostly highway driving).

    Apparently the SAAB gas meter is always calculating so if you leave your car idling for long, then your reported MPG drops like a brick. And my dealer must have done a lot of idling with this car before I bought it, because the car originally reported my avg. speed as 1 MPH! ;)

    The secret to reseting both is to enter the "SAAB Information Display" (SID) on the dashboard, and press and hold the"CLR" button on your steering wheel. (Not sure what this is like for older SAABs, but the interior controls are the same for 2008).
  • It's not just the octane rating that matters. It's true that the owner's manual says the car runs fine at 87 AON octane. But it also says look for a cleaner gas, one that's "advertised to help keep fuel injectors and intake valves clean."

    I recently decided to try 93 octane and definitely saw a boost in performance at highway speeds. But I also noticed a drop in my wallet!

    Too bad fuel manufacturers aren't required to post the quality of their gas -- not just the octane rating.
  • rivetsrivets Posts: 8
    We've had ours for about a year, and here's what we're seeing.
    Running regular UL. Fuel economy is very dependent on how driven.
    2 adults, 2 kids, AC off, windows closed, 2 lane roads, 100 mile trip: 35.5 mpg
    1 adult, 1-2 kids, ac, in town, mid-low 20's
    4 up, AC, highway at 60-65 (mostly with cruise on) usually around 31-33, depending on hills.
    1 up, some AC highway, 60-65: typically 35mpg, occasionally 37, rarely 38.
    4 up, AC (hot day), 70-75mph, usually around 29-31 mpg.
    4 up with baggage, 1400 mile trip at 65-75mph, between 29-31 (again), depending on hills and the right pedal.
    2 up, 200 miles, 40% interstate, mixture of county & state roads, around 35-36mpg

    Best so far:
    1 up, rolling terrain, no AC, driving verrrry carefully, 100 mile trip, back roads, neutral going downhill, very light traffic, slow going uphill: 42.5 mpg. This was quite hard to do, at least for me.

    Method: Mixture of SID and pencil/paper which seem to agree with each other within 0.5 mpg overall.

    Car has about 54000 miles on it.

    Bottom line: if we "just drive it" we'll see 30-31 on trips, and 22-25 in town. If we're a little careful, it goes up considerably. I'm sure we could make it quite low too.
  • saablcpsaablcp Posts: 195
    My '08 Aero Automatic Trans.,2.8L. 255 H.P. V-6 is rated 16 city,24 highway.I am not a lightfooted driver by any standard.My daily commute is 22 miles and takes me upwards of 45 it's a mixture of stop and go streets,some highway,and at least 8 miles of back country ,up and down hills, roads.I never avg. less than 20 m.p.g.The last trip of 120 miles on the Pa. Turnpike was @an avg.speed of 73 m.p.h.and my mileage was 31.3! My car has 9,200 miles on it and I use only 93 octane.I don't see the point in spending $6,000.00 more to get the performance of an Aero only to compromise it by saving on average $125.00 a year in fuel costs!
  • The 9-3 runs fine on regular, but I find it has more power using Premium, a little more get up and go for the hills, and passing power. I find just toodling around town, stoplight to stoplight, makes no difference. I do get slightly better milage with premium, but not enough to justify the difference in price. so it comes down to a little more poop off the pedal seems to be the difference.
  • We're getting the same in our 2002 9-3 turbo 5-speed 4 door. Cool weather (and perhaps denser air that comes with it) seems to be good for an additional 1-2 mpg on the freeway. Best for a 250 mile trip was 37.3 mpg at 75 mph with kids, dogs, and luggage on mostly flat freeways on regular grade gas.

    And yes (off topic) it's faster from 40 to 70 mph than a porsche 911 turbo, and cheaper to insure than our '06 Honda Accord.

    We LOVE this gorgeous, fun and moderately sporty car. :-)

    Far at the other end of the spectrum, driving uphill on a windy road at 20-25mph in second gear while towing a camping trailer nets about 10 mpg.

  • I have an '05 93 linear. I usually burn reg. gas 87 octane. I average 28.5 mpg combination city and highway. Over the road about 32. When I us unleaded Plus the mileage increases to about 29.4 and highway 33 - 34. The car has a little less pick up with regular. For the difference of $ 1.40 per tank I generally will use the plus.
  • samarasamara Posts: 10
    Looking for real world MPG information on a 2008 or 2009 Saab 9-3 Sportcombi 2.0T with 6 speed manual. For those driving manuals what has been your experience?
  • rondo5rondo5 Posts: 2
    I have the car about 3 years. It has 62k miles and is used less than 3k a year in mixed driving. It seems to run perfectly and has been tuned. It does have a very very slight hesitation on takeoff. It gets about 15 mpg since I got it. I've reset the sid many times. I use mid-grade fuel. Any ideas?
  • Yes, the 9-3 (I have an '08 2.0T) runs well with regular gas (87 octane), but like me, you may pay a price in the long run. My check engine light came on after 106,000 km and the car seemed to have reduced power and abnormal vibration. My mechanic informed me that the fuel injectors were extremely dirty and clogged. He highly recommeded using premium, not for the high octane, but the better quality gas which contains additives to keep the injectors working properly. Repairs cost me $400. I now use premium only. I'll pay about $350 more per year for premium, but this will be outweighed by the fuel savings and less frequent trips to the mechanic.
  • I have a 2008 9-3 2.0T with 6-sp manual. Most driving is highway (90%) and I cruise around 80-85 mph. I'm getting 30MPG on regular gas. I'm now using premium because poor quality gas from 87 octane clogged up the fuel injectors.
  • samarasamara Posts: 10
    Finally got an '08 9-3 2.0T Sportcombi 6sp manual. I have owned a Subaru, Honda, and Acura, but none of those cars ever delivered the fuel economy and utility I'm now getting with my Saab. I average 31 mpg consistently and my best tank so far was 34 mpg and I managed to squeeze just over 500 miles out of a tank. Driving is about 80% hwy @ 70 mph with cruise control.
  • swedlanderswedlander Posts: 6
    Very useful info collected with dedication and understanding of variables...


    I just bought a 2001 SAAB 93, its 2.2L turbo behave better and more efficiently than Volvo 1.9 L turbo 2000/V40
  • samarasamara Posts: 10
    I have now put 78K miles (still 80% highway) on my '08 2.0T Sportcombi. Since my last update, my best tank hit 35 mpg on a road trip through the Mohave desert with A/C on and steady cruise control at 70 mph. Besides the impressive fuel economy, my maintenance cost/mile is $0.06 (all repairs, oil changes, spark plugs/filters, light bulbs, tires, brakes, etc) which is almost 2 cents/mile lower than what I spent on my Honda and Acura, and 3 times lower then my Jetta. So far my largest repair bill was to replace the A/C condenser at 80K miles for $650 (parts and labor). It's a shame these reliable cars are no longer being made so will have to hang on this one for a while.
  • samarasamara Posts: 10
    The '08 2.0T Sportcombi is still humming along and now has registered 171K miles. My all-in maintenance cost per mile has dropped to an incredible $0.047 (lowest of any car I've owned). Despite Saab folding, my mechanic has had absolutely no issues finding the few parts I've needed for service repair or replacement. Since my last update the only major issue in the past 2 years has been a fix to the cruise control switch ($130 parts and labor). Everything else has been routine oil, filter, brakes, and tire changes. With this reliability I plan to continue enjoying the Saab for as long as possible.
  • I have a 2005 9-3 convertible,  and the car is giving me so far in the freeway 17 mpg and is increasing slowly,  is this normal? , I have to drive the car more ?, the mechanics already check the car and he say that is all good,  I use the cheapest gas, is this a factor? 
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 70,320
    lmarambio said:

    I have a 2005 9-3 convertible,  and the car is giving me so far in the freeway 17 mpg and is increasing slowly,  is this normal? , I have to drive the car more ?, the mechanics already check the car and he say that is all good,  I use the cheapest gas, is this a factor? 

    It's a turbo, right? Are you using Premium?


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