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Saab 9-3 Sedan



  • louis6louis6 Posts: 1
    Some observations about Saab from a new owner with no past experience with the brand. I spent much time researching this car and others; I noted the comments, both good and bad, regarding the Saab. Except for a limited number of cars I not sure there is much difference in the reliablity between any of them including Honda and Toyota; they are all very complex. My last two were an Audi and a Volvo. I had all kinds of problems with the Audi until I stopped using a dealer in central California, the quality of their mechanics was questionable, and began using a dealer in Beverly Hills. I'm not trying to impress anyone but they sold and serviced a lot of Audis. I had few problems with the Volvo until 170,000 miles, I think the dealer that I used had an excellent service department, with very good but pricey service..

    It's may opinion, non scientific, that the service department of your dealer, any manufacturer, or independent mechanic, will have more to do with your satisfaction than the any other factor; I know, a very old fashion point of view.

    I purchased my car, 2006 9-3 Areo, in Sherman Oaks (L.A.) and have had no problems.
  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    ... but I do need something that is at least reliable.

    Then you should probably look elsewhere. I'm sure the 2006's have improved on the first/second year models, but all that might mean is that it's gone from very unreliable to just unreliable. The track record of the model and the brand doesn't suggest you'd get something that's reliable. Especially after you've owned a CR-V.

    Don't get me wrong -- I mostly enjoyed my 2003 9-3. It was fun, had strong brakes, some nice features, a surprising amount of room for a family (especially in the trunk). But there were plenty of dealer visits to fix one thing or another, as well as "just live with it" resignations to avoid having to go to the dealership. It also didn't help that the local dealership (Barrier Saab in Bellevue, Washington) had weak service. (Barrier has since shut down its Saab dealerships, but I've heard plenty of negative things about the level of service at other Barrier brand dealerships too.)

    I gladly returned the vehicle at lease-end. I would never keep the vehicle past the warranty period, as parts and service seem to be quite pricey -- and will probably be needed more than many other brands.

    If you still want one, I would check opinions of the Saab dealership service departments around you. Your experience will be worse if they aren't good.
  • "The service department of your dealer, any manufacturer, or independent mechanic, will have more to do with your satisfaction than the any other factor".

    I have, fortunately, never owned or leased a real lemon from any manufacturer, but my level of satisfaction has inevitably been directly related to the quality of the dealer. I have owned/leased three Saabs in the last 12 years, the last two receiving excellent warranty and post-warranty attention from competent people. The positive attitude I have to Saabs probably stems from these experiences, and has overcome the somewhat negative impressions left by the first dealer (who subsequently closed). However, the most dedicated and competent service came with my Maserati -- I know, because I did all the work myself!
  • I understand what you are saying when you refer to Saab owners as a polarized group. Most of the complaints I read came from 2003 model year 9-3 owners, the first year for the redesign (though a recent negative posting in this forum came from a 2005 9-3 Aero owner.)

    Some are not happy since GM took over because Saab has always been so unique. However, reviews on this web site (last year) said that the new design on the GM platform was a large improvement over the old design.

    I own a 2005 9-3 Arc, 2 litre engine, manual transmission. At this point I have 19,000 miles and no problems. I would say that on average the more recent models will have better reliability. So, I think you would be OK buying a Saab so as long as you go to a dealership with a good track record (which is true of buying any make.) However, I am a little concerned about the V6 engine being built in Australia. You might be better off with the 2.0 litre 4 - it is built in Germany and has been in production long enough to work out any kinks. My 2.0 litre has plenty of power.

    Good luck!
  • Compared to my 2002 9-3 hatchback, the current 9-3 is slightly quieter, more nimble and has less turbo lag (based on my experience with a service loaner). The driving experience is probably more middle-of-the-road, and appeals to a wider range of drivers than did the 2002.

    Interior finish is another matter. My 5-year old "wood" dash and leather seats look new. The interior door panels could be from a luxury model. When I sit in a showroom-new 2006 Saab I am inevitably disappointed with the interior, though I am not really impressed with the interior quality of any current brand in my price range -- VW meets my standards (but you pay more).

    Saturn's new Aura similarly has the potential to be a great seller, but interior quality failings remind us it is a GM product.
  • These cars have good engines and transmissions I have the 5 speed manual. The chasis dynamics are good so the car is fun to drive. They are built to run hard a 6.5 quart crankcase is big for a 2.0 litre motor I have not been happy with the interior build quality; too many plastic noises and buzzy vibrations. It's all a trade off. I guess the interior was where they had to cut costs to give you the engineering of the other components for the price they sell the car. If you want a 9-3 would buy a 2.0 lightly optioned because of the interior build quality.
  • Three years ago I bought an '04 9-3 aero because it was exactly the car I wanted and there was no other. I actually really liked its styling, found it to be fun to drive and even felt there was still some uniqueness to the brand regardless of any GMizing (after all, I don't care what platform a car is sprung from as long as I like the whole package). I was exactly the customer GM was looking for, a first time Saab buyer who really wanted one of their cars. I was so enthused about the car, I ignored it's many malfunctions, tolerated the countless dealer visits, and defended the car on forums.

    In the end after being stranded twice, having the transmission replaced after less than 2 years, and never being able to get dealers to resolve the constant rattles (mechanical sounding rattles- not just interior annoyances)I finally gave up. I realized one day my wife's 6 year old Jeep for all its flaws felt more reliable and solid than my less-than-three year old 30k+ "luxury" car and that I had actually been losing a lot of time and energy on an inanimate object. I finally cut my losses (read huge depreciation) and moved on. I hope others who currently own 9-3s have a better experience, but based on mine (and others I know who have 9-3s) I just had to warn you.

    ps. Be sure to check the quality rankings- I've lived with plenty of cars that'd be considered middle of the pack but next to last means real trouble to me.
  • sidvsidv Posts: 64
    I empathize with you. I was also a first time Saab buyer (04 Arc) who liked the styling and was enthused about the car, at least for the money vs. the competition.

    It sounds like you had a similar experience to me, except yours was much worse. I was stranded once as well and had to deal with numerous electrical glitches and minor problems over the years. When the 04s were new, I recall Saab being middle of the pack-it's our cars that have driven that rating to near the bottom. Just goes to show past results are not a predictor of future performance.
  • what's up everyone...we bought a 2006 93 and so far so good, i didn't care for the svc staff, but went to another in Hunt Valley, MD, where they were outstanding. The only problem we had with our 93 was a software glitch related to the sunroof. Once that was fixed, we have had no issues, 12k in 11 thing I would suggest - change the oil at 7500 not'll have to pay for the in between oil changes b/c saab only covers 3 i think
  • sidvsidv Posts: 64
    Saab dealer would not change our oil the first time until I think 13-14K. That is the point where the oil life indicator indicated 95% (I think) used. It's a lease so I went with it, had I bought it no way. Buyers of used Saabs.
  • I have a 2002 9-3 SE. Love the car! It's the perfect size; love the zoom that the sport mode gives me; I love all the features I have. The problem? My engine light literally comes on every month. My warranty was up about a year ago and I have paid at least $5000 in diagnostics and repairs since then - the throttle body, valves, direct injection, wheel problems, it seems to never end. The worst part is that sometimes the engine light is serious and sometimes it's just a sensor. But I never know until I pay the $100 a pop for the diagnostic. My husband absolutely hates my car and thinks it's a POS. I really love it except that it's unreliable. Now we're expecting our first baby in March and it broke down on our 300 mile trip home for the Thanksgiving holiday. He's making me get rid of it. If only it would stop breaking down!!!! Now I'm going to have to get a minivan or something just as bad. :cry:
  • I had the same problem with my 9-3 2003. However, after looking around and almost buying a Passat, I ended up with a 2006 9-3 Sportcombi. So far its been the most reliable Saab I've bought. Plus the extra room in the back is extremely useful. If you're looking at something as large as a minivan, then why not look at a 9-5? Its got a huge trunk?

    Warren Brown seemed to like the Saturn Outlook as an minivan alternative, and I wouldn't be surprised if a Saab version turns up sooner or later.
  • danb5danb5 Posts: 2
    I have the opportunity to buy (lease) an AERO for $1500 more in drive off than a regular 2.0T. I am intereested in opinions of those of you who have sweated over that choice and how you arrived at your decision. I am thinking of handling performance as well as speed differences, perceived or real.

    I only mention the cost differnce to give you an idea of what sort of financial sacrifice I would be making.

    Looking forward to hearing from you.

  • The $1500 difference sounds good, but the V6 is built in Australia (the last time I checked.) The 2.0 is built in Germany (probably an Opel engine) and it has been in production for a while. I would trust a german built engine over one from Australia.

    My 2005 9-3 Arc has the 2.0 which delivers plenty of power. My vote would be for the 2.0, unless you are interested in Aero options that are otherwise not available.
  • sidvsidv Posts: 64
    I just ended my lease on an 04 Arc which had the 2.0T engine. I considered an 07 9-3 Aero as a replacement and drove it. I have to say the Aero's motor is quite nice, smoother than the 2.0T and less turbo lag. It didn't feel that much more powerful to me however, but the saleman said it really comes alive at high speeds and we were fairly limited in our test drive due to conditions. My only real concern on the Aero is worse mileage, same size tank and after 3 years of great range I wasn't looking forward to that. I do not care for the metallic interior trim on all the Saab Aeros and wanted a bigger car so I went with a 9-5 2.3T 9-5 SC but I definitely would have taken the Aero over the 2.0T for so little more money. Unless you really aren't into music make sure you get the premium sound if you go with the 2.0T (standard on Aero). For a lease I don't think you need be concerned with engine durability issues based on origin so much.
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 8,863
    The 2.0 is built in Germany (probably an Opel engine) and it has been in production for a while. I would trust a german built engine over one from Australia.

    IMHO, I wouldn't worry about the origin of the engine. The Japanese mills and robots building the engine really don't know where they're working.
  • Look like Saab is coming out with best line-up ever, if successful GM will be on the road to recovery

    9-3 vs 3series
    9-5 vs 5series
    9-9 vs 7series

    9-3 Sedan - Born from Jets, founded by 16 aircraft engineers is really true with this A-pillarless, smooth roofline aerodynamic design
    9-3 Convertible - WOW - the legend continues
  • sidvsidv Posts: 64
    The 9-3 convertible looks awesome! The sedan is mostly nice too, but the roofline seems a little odd at first glance. Definite Aero X showcar influence, but I thought that roofline was odd as well. I like the blacked out pillars.

    The 9-5 sedan is generally nice, but the styling at the trailing edge of the rear doors could be handled better. I really hope Saab gets the 9-5 and 9-3 right before devoting resources to the 9-6, 9-9, etc. I was glad AWD was mentioned as being in the future, it's badly needed to be competitive. Great post, thanks.
  • They look like something that some artists knocked up to try and imagine what the next 9-3 will look like. The 9-3 is suppose to get a face lift next year. I'm not sure the current platform can receive the upgrades stated in the picture.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Since you wanted a separate 9-3 convertible discussion, let's comment about it there instead of here. autoedu, "Saab 9-3 Convertible" #1, 28 Nov 2006 6:11 pm.

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