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Saab 9-3 Coupe (2002 and earlier)



  • huntzingerhuntzinger Posts: 356
    There at least a dozen posts discussing this car.

    14 that specifically mention the car in any context whatsoever. The number of hits that used "dull" or "ugly" with "C230" was exactly zero, plus there were some other derivative mentions on threads. There's clearly more on Edmunds than there.

    BTW, I found and read the Cimarron post. It made a good point, but the point was exclusively about marquee management and placement and nothing about looks.

    Insofar as the rest of the posts, yes, there were a few "its ugly" posts, but all new designs get a few of these. I don't think that there's ever been a hatchback made that's not had this remark made, particularly Saab hatchbacks. As such, a Saab owner complaining about the design trade-offs necessitated by a useful hatch is dangerously close to being a hypocrite remark IMHO.

    Anyway, it isn't a hatch so it's out of order
    to discuss it here.

    Excuse me? The "it" is the C230K Coupe, not the MB sedans. FWIW, this is a quite interesting remark to make in light of the 9-3 hatchback configuration having ceased production.

  • huntzingerhuntzinger Posts: 356
    I also bought the Saab because I have a dog. Another statistic you may wish to consider is a higher percentage of Saabers have dogs than any other kind of car.

    Does this mean that I should go out and get a dog? Ditto for my Saab neighbor across the street? Please also tell me what Designer Brand underwear I should be wearing too :-)

    Arf! Arf! 140 miles per hour+ top end (ungoverned) if you want and one of the fastest-accelerating cars from a running 30mph through 70mph reasonable money can buy.

    There's far, far more to driving than brainlessly pegging the pedal for a 1/4 mile straightway.

    For true performance driving, the biggest bang for the buck for over 99% of all US drivers today is not a bigger engine, better tires/wheels, or whatever: the biggest bang for the buck is a
    professional performance driving training course.

    Insofar as pure top end, perhaps you're in a region with the highway real estate and highway quality are such that its merely dangerous instead of insane to attempt even short sprints above 130mph. But that doesn't mean that your situation need apply to the rest of us. FWIW, how many hours of driving have you had at 130+? Or has it been just "5 second sprints" just to hit the speed, like the rest of us?

  • vigorousvigorous Posts: 15
    LOL. You never quit, do you?

    You do not get to top end over 1/4 mile. I'm not a standing start kinda guy. Nobody should be except, pehhaps with a Viggen. I don't take the Saab to top end - ever. But if ever the highway hits me where this can be done as per Autobahn, then possibly I will, once.

    I do, however, have high altitude driving to do. Lots of it. It is quite a revelation on one particular stretch (highest point of land east of the Rockies on the TransCanada Highway) just which more expensive cars do not match the Saab on that upgrade, even at 70-80 mph.

    And what is there on the Prairies but long, straight, deserted (except in holiday season) highway?

    One of the most impressive (unpopulated) stretches of highway in the world lies between Lake Louise and Jasper, both in Canada's national park system and ALL at high altitude.

    If I had bought a Saab Viggen, which I didn't, then I would have taken the free driver training course purchasing a Viggen offered.

    My dog thinks I am a genius, even if you don't.

    I think the most telling comment from the Saab board on the C-merc was on obsolete technology - supercharging, even if Saab's new variable compression engine (30% better gas mileage with 30% less emissions at no loss of power) will require a supercharger.

    Daimler appears happier with Chrysler than it is with MB,3367,1431_A_507058_1_A,00.html

  • I'm trying to decide between the dark gray interior of a 9-3 hatchback vs. the tan. Opinions?
  • huntzingerhuntzinger Posts: 356
    LOL. You never quit, do you?

    One of my nicknames has been "bulldog" for not letting go of a flailing BS'er. Yes, its a character flaw.

    I don't take the Saab to top end - ever.

    Then since its top end is irrelevant, then why did you bring it up?

    FWIW, the reason I'm picking on this is because I've found that people who brag about their vehicle's top end invariably are, to be polite, jerks.

    I do, however, have high altitude driving to do.

    And you've found a suitable solution. Congratulations. In contrast, there's not a road above 7,000ft within 30 hours driving from where I am, and TC'ing always means higher maintenance costs. Kinda means that its a trade-off that is best determined based on one's individual needs and criteria, doesn't it?

    I think the most telling comment from the Saab board on the C-merc was on obsolete technology - supercharging, even if Saab's new variable compression engine (30% better gas mileage with 30% less emissions at no loss of power) will require a supercharger.

    And upon whose grand authority was this pronouncement made?

    Free advice is worth what you paid for it, and Turbocharging and Superchargers both have their place, as you noted above. What people do not realize is that there really is no such thing as an "obsolete technology": there is only that which is the appropriate tool for the job. Sometimes the old way is still the best way. Case in point: there's a major component that's a 100+ year old technology in both of our automobiles right now. Care to guess what it is?

  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 11,586
    So I picked up my new Prelude on Saturday and drove around aimlessly for a few hours and then parked it in the driveway. Everything is in the complete opposite place of where it is on my 9-3. Thye window switches are on the door panel, the sunroof switch is to the left of the steering wheel...I've got to get used to this Honda after driving a Saab for 2+ years.

    stressdoc: I've got the Charcoal Grey in my 2000 9-3. It has kept very well (especially since I don't baby my leased cars). It doesn't show much dirt. But I've always been partial to dark interiors. What exterior color are you thinking of?

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2015 Infiniti Q40 AWD, 2017 Honda Pilot Touring AWD

  • hppypaulhppypaul Posts: 43

    with all the whining these saab owners do about all the problems, the one thing they can't complain about is control layout. I have 9-3 and it's the best I've ever had. everything is in the right place for me. don't think I could ever go back to a japanese car (they put everything wrong).
  • huntzingerhuntzinger Posts: 356
    with all the whining these saab owners do about all the problems, the one thing they can't complain about is control layout.

    We'll always find something to complain about :-)

    Personally, I find that I get used to the basics pretty quickly; the biggest problem I have is switching between cars. For example, over the past 3 months, the cars in our driveway have had their ignition switches located in the:

    - transmission housing between seats
    - steering column (right side)
    - dashboard (left side)
    - dashboard (right side)

    Of these, the dash/left is the one that messes me up the most, as need you have to have your keys in your left hand on this one, but not for the rest.

    Insofar as the rest of the items, I find the instrumentation layout to be more important to me, particularly how it is illuminated at night. The Saab did well in this regards, except that when you had the "Black Panel" enabled and turned on the high beams, the blue indicator light was a bit on the strong side in my judgement, probably because its a single-mode light.

  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 11,586
    I did really get used to the control layout of the Saab.

    Huntzinger: YOu're right about that Blue high beam light being way too bright when the night panel feature is activated.

    hppypaul: The Japanese manufacturers put controls where people expect them to be, while Saab puts them where everything is easier for the driver. In my Saab, I can close all 4 windows and the sunroof at the same time with one hand. After driving my Saab (when I first got it), I often found myself asking "why don't other manufacturers do things like this?"

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2015 Infiniti Q40 AWD, 2017 Honda Pilot Touring AWD

  • jhberry4jhberry4 Posts: 11
    Looks at the new saab 9-3.
  • irish21irish21 Posts: 12
    Dealer's offer for 2002 9-3 SE hatchback...
    $32109... premium package, automatic, heated seats.

    Thanks for the info. It's 1 am. Last time I was up this late I worked the second shift. Now I work days and have to be up at 5 am.
    Good night and thanks for any info.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 11,586
    That sounds like sticker price to me. You can get this car for around $26-$27K and lease it for around $350/month with no money down and 12K miles per year.

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2015 Infiniti Q40 AWD, 2017 Honda Pilot Touring AWD

  • irish21irish21 Posts: 12
    Thanks for your answer.
  • revkarevka Posts: 1,750
    Here's a new discussion that some of you may find interesting: Saab 9-3X Concept.



    Hatchbacks & Station Wagons Boards

  • yugoboyyugoboy Posts: 161
    I would encourage anyone and everyone to take a look at the newly re designed 9-3 for 2003, go to and click on the link, the 9-3 look's absoulutly amazing, even better then the big brother 9-5, cant wait to get inside of one!!!!!They did a damn fine job on the redesign!!!!
  • pocmonsterpocmonster Posts: 15
    I have to agree that the redesign is stunning. However, I am a little bothered by the rear passenger door design (where the window matches the C-pillar), the boot lid design (spoiler destroys clean lines), and the general back end (doesn't it look like a Cadillac Catera?). But the interior is absolutely fabulous, as is the profile. Very sexy indeed!
  • ligartligart Posts: 109
    Great ... where's the hatch? :-P
  • rickpctrickpct Posts: 71
    check the link below to saabnet website which has press release post, plus pictures.

    check out their 93 bulletin board too for more heated discussions!

  • gpoltgpolt Posts: 113
    NO HATCH?!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Next. For $5,000 - $10,000 less I'll consider a 2003 Accord V6 with a possible 5 speed.

    Review in CanadianDriver - s

  • rickpctrickpct Posts: 71
    if the 2003 accord is like a 2002 accord, give me a break...can't compare the 2. my 99 9-3 blows off any accord...any day...

    be patient..give it time. saab MUST do a non-hatch to expand their market base...maybe a hatch will be in the works later... i love my hatch and wished that the new 93 had a hatch...

    market reality at work.
  • gpoltgpolt Posts: 113
    2003 Accord will be all new.
  • gotenks243gotenks243 Posts: 116
    I really don't see how putting a trunk on the new 9-3 is going to win market share/sales, at least not from the 3-series or other competition like that.

    The people buying 3-series, IS300s and all aren't buying it over the current 9-3 because it has a trunk. They're buying those cars over 9-3s because they either want the rwd, the brand prestige, or things like that. If those buyers wanted fwd trunk/car to begin with, they would have bought an Acura TL, Infiniti I35, Lexus ES300, Saab 9-5, or Volvo S60. But the BMW-buyers passed, preferring the rwd over fwd. A trunk won't win them over.

    It could possibly win over a fwd entry-luxury buyer from a Lexus ES300 or something like that, but if the ES300 buyer really was going to buy a Saab "if it only had a trunk" the 9-5 was available to them, and they passed already. If they already passed on a 9-5, why would they go for the 9-3?

    So Saab won't be gaining any sales because of the trunk. On top of not gaining any, they will possibly be losing sales from the people who want a hatch.

    If the new 9-3 is going to gain market share, it's going to be because it's better than the current 9-3, not because of some dumb trunk.

    I hope they'll add a hatch variant later on, but why not come out with the hatch first for the traditional Saab customer and then add the trunk variant later? Seems like they're doing it backwards.

    In good news, according to Autoweek, the 9-3x (or something like it) is going into production. The hatch will live on through it, at least.

  • I'm looking at a 2002 9-3 4dr HB with premium package, heated seats, and metallic paint. It has been used as a service loaner and has 5000 miles on it. The current offer from the dealer is approx $24K. What do you think would be a fair price to offer for this car?
  • mpg5mpg5 Posts: 68
    saab is offering $4000 cash back right now on new 9-3's. i would guess you could get one at $4000 below invoice if you play hardball with a few dealers, since they have a new 9-3 coming out. if you like the demo model, i would say anything north of 20k is too much. btw, love the new 9-3, but.......A TRUNK!!!!!! what are they thinking??? saab is going to see a dramatic decrease in 9-3 sales until they reintroduce a 9-3 hatch.
  • cool_handcool_hand Posts: 4
    I'm looking to lease the 9-3 convertible. If anyone has any good information on this please email me at

  • rickpctrickpct Posts: 71

    Market research has shown that people don't want hatchbacks, don't like them. hatches are often a turn off so people don't consider the 9-3 on their "short list of cars to EVEN TEST DRIVE. If you can't get your car on a short list then you won't get enough people to test drive and get consideration.

    The 9-3 obviously has to be better, otherwise it won't be considered period. by anyone.

    Biggest improvement is structural rigidity and improved suspension so it's now closer to the competitive field of cars. Now that they have a
    competitve car structurally, the trunk makes it NOT a hatchback so more people will consider it on their short list.

    There are certainly hatch lovers out there (count me in!) - mainly the current breed of saab owners. However, the current saab owners have to stop crying and get with the program. Saab needs to be more mainstream in order to survive as a brand. If they can expand their base then they'll have the latitude to do more unique variants of their cars.

    If they only did a hatch, they wouldn't gain share because the current breed of buyer likes the hatch and still puts up with the shortcomings of the car - 900->NG900->9.3...thus if Saab did the hatch they'd make all the saab lovers happy, but that's not going to win anyone over.

    Look at the 9-5. It was certainly a better car then the 9000, but did it have a hatch? NO. It had a trunk. 9-5's are selling well because of both quality and the fact that the trunk appeals to more buyers than the hatch did on the 9000.

    Trunks may seem like a dumb thing, but people have not purchased cars because of lousy cupholders....
  • ligartligart Posts: 109
    Seems to me a hatch is about the same thing as a wagon. No one complains about wagons, in fact they're selling like hotcakes. I like the hatch format because it's a little more stylish.
  • hppypaulhppypaul Posts: 43
    I have a 00 9-3 SE and love it.
    Seems to me that by not doing the new 9-3 as a hatch first, SAAB is alienating their primary customers. Sure they want to attract new ones (like me after 2vw's before), but take care of your bread and butter first.

    I don't like the look of a car with a trunk and wagons don't do it either (although the 3 series BMW is a great car that would probably look lousy with a hatch). I find that the current 9-3 is a perfect balance of performance and practicality which is what saab is all about.

    They really should do the trunk and hatch versions at the same time and let people choose. Just put all of the performance in both. Then everyone should be happy.
  • Thanks for your help! I offered $20K but was unsure if that was a ridiculous price. I'll stick to it! I'm not necessarily needing a new car right now so it makes it easier. Saab's expensive parts also have me a bit concerned. But I love the cargo room and it's a bit zippier than a sedan.
This discussion has been closed.