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Saab 9-3 SportCombi



  • jjce1bjjce1b Posts: 6
    After searching high and low at the car show last week, I found the Saab display buried in the corner next to the Jaguars. I'm just glad they showed up. Volvo skipped it!

    They only had one 93 SC on display. It was a base model with the 16" wheels, grey on grey. I was very impressed with the car. I felt the size of the vehicle was perfect. Not too big, yet not too small. A good compromise. Maybe they sacrificed some backseat room for more storage space. Fine with me. The prices quoted to me by the Saab guy (no dealers present) were very attractive compared to equal cars from other builders (bmw, audi, vw, volvo).

    I understand buying a Saab now is a gamble, with mother GM is strangling the company. Will they be around in a year? Is Saab still able to service the dealers. so they can service me? I feel these are really good cars, and just don't get the respect they deserve.

    I have followed this board from the start, but haven't heard any driving impressions of the cars. Specifically the Aero package. I know it has the corporate V6 and it's a hot rod, but what other GM cars have this engine in it? How harsh is the Aero ride?

    I am new to Saab, but am impressed with their products (okay, maybe not the 92x and 97x). Any general reliability issues with the 93 cars?

    Any comments would be greatly to the dealer to go check one out!

    One more thing....anyone use B&B Saab? Good? Bad? Okay?

  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    is also in the base Cadillac CTS.

    CR has 9-3's reliability pegged at Really Bad, but I personally would be willing to take a gamble.

    I like Saabs too. Too bad GM doesn't respect them, and neither do Consumers, who prefer Lexus, BMW, Mercedes, and Audi.

    I bet if GM gave Saab some cash and a few years the engineers could turn around the company.

    It should be around. GM has said they have big plans, but we don't know how "big" those plans are.
  • jjce1bjjce1b Posts: 6
    I got my hands on a 93 Aero SC with the 6-speed stick. What a ride! Oh how I love turbos...

    Likes: Perfect size, great seats and dash, engine, tranny, quiet, feels solid, price

    Dislikes: Steering wheel (old Onstar buttons that do nothing), Nav (definitely not worth that kind of money)

    I don't know if I would call it turbo lag, I think all turbo engines have "lag", but you want to be in the right gear to get the right rpm to really make this car fly. I think it's just getting used to the engine and gearbox.

    This car had no roof fails, nav, or cold weather package and was stickered at 35$.

    Definitely an attractive package.....
  • jjce1bjjce1b Posts: 6
    Funny thing reliability. At the market they had the Consumer Reports Car Buying Guide right next to the Consumer Guide Car Buying Guide. Check this out: CR says poor reliability and not recommended, while saying the opposite for the 95. CG says 93 reliability is good and recommends the 93, while saying the opposite for the 95.

    As far as I am concerned, they are both full of it, and will depend more on these boards and magazines for accurate reliability reports.
  • saablcpsaablcp Posts: 195
    Safe to presume that reliability is a projection of future performance based on a vehicles past reliability record.That being said,take a look at the used car reliability records listed in the back of the issue.This is where they take and breakdown the vehicles reliability into 14 different categories.Try and figure out how those past records could lead to the projections CR makes for future reliability.There are WAY too many discrepancies between the ratings posted for previous years and the projections for future years.
  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    IMO, for any car it's a crapshoot. Yes, a camry will probably be more reliable than a 9-3 for example, but there is a respectable area of statistical crossover. Personally, i'd buy whatever i like, a long warranty, and not worry.

  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLPosts: 4,683
    is also in the base Cadillac CTS.

    Not really. Cadillac's is non-turbo. The turbo was in European top trip of Opel Vectra.

    2018 430i Gran Coupe

  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    Forgot to add that the CTS version has no turbocharger.
  • I have 3K miles on my new 93 SC 2.0T, with all the options except NAV. I have to say, I love it and pretty much agree with the Edmunds review. Let's hope SAAB can get back some independance from GM and continue a positive momentum with their Car lineup. The 95 needs an overhaul!
  • I love the 9-3 sport-combi. I am a 6'6" tall, broad-shouldered guy who can't fit into many cars. Spent 20 years driving Jeeps, only to be forced out because of redesigns with lack of headroom and legroom. I spent today test sitting in about 40 cars, including VWs, Audis, Hondas, Toyotas, etc. I need a wagon or SUV for my 2 100lb dogs and me. I can't fit in the 9-7 or the 9-5, but I do fit in the 9-3! Its a lot bigger for me than say the Toureg, which has no headroom. I like the control panel in the upper center of the dash and find that I don't have too many blind spots while driving--unlike the Trailblazer that I am giving up.
    I understand that customers here are complaining about the lower body style of the aero because drivers keep ripping off the panels when the crunch into snowbanks, etc. Keep this in mind, my dealer says its a big problem that Saab will have to fix in the next model.
  • Hey Jersey, don't know if you're still around... I'm in NY and heading to the dealer tomorrow morning. He thinks he can get my desired 2.0TSC with the options I want. Do you still love the car? How is the reliability for the first few months?

  • vvadymvvadym Posts: 2
    Hi! It looks like I almost your size. Did you try Subaru Outback wagon? What's your impression about the leg/shoulder room in Sub compared to 93?
  • cdnawacscdnawacs Posts: 2
    Hello all! I, too, am interested in hearing how owners of the new 9-3 Sportcombi Aero are making out. My wife and I are in the market for a new car, and have narrowed it down to:

    Mazda 6 Wagon GT-V6
    Saab 9-3 Sportcombi Aero
    BMW 325xi Touring
    Audi A4 Avant 2.0T

    We tried the "regular" 9-3 Sportcombi with the 2.0T, but after driving the Aero version, we simply can't look at its weaker version again. Wow, what acceleration!

    In any case, we are rather scared off by the poor rep that Saabs seem to have, as well as warnings about low resale values. Here in Canada, Saab is NOT offering free maintenance, which makes the BMW's warranty look that much better.

    My wife still raves about our testdrive of the Aero, but I'm the one who's concerned about what happens after the "new car" thrill wears off. I sure could use some feedback on this! :confuse:
  • pointatobpointatob Posts: 30

    i've been looking at the 93 sportcombi 2.0T and mazda6 wagon also. the bmw and audi are out of my proce range, so i can't comment on those. mazda6 wagon, while i really enjoyed test-driving it, gets pretty poor gas mileage (i think 20 / 27) with a marginally powerful v6. i thought the sportcombi had superior driving dynamics, and i only drove the 2.0T. i won't drive the aero because then i might want one:)
  • cdnawacscdnawacs Posts: 2
    i won't drive the aero because then i might want one:)

    Oh, trust me, you're 100% right! After test-driving the Aero, there's no way we could consider buying a 2.0T. The difference is simply night and day. That 2.8 turbo has a butt-load of torque all the way through the speed range. Be prepared to be pushed back into that supercomfy Saab leather seat... Seriously folks, even as BMW-with-sports-seats owner, I can honestly say that I have never sat in a more comfortable seat.

    I'm glad to read that I'm not the only person totally unimpressed with the Mazda 6's engine. It was fine on city streets, but it was totally gutless on the highway. Forget passing in 4th gear at 100 kmh (that's about 60 mph for my US friends), you've got to go down to 3rd in order to get any amount of "smash" going.

    What with all the bad poop we're hearing about the run-flat tires on all new BMW's, I think we're about to become a Saab family. Damn the bad press, I think we may just buy the extended warranty and get us the 9-3 Sportcombi Aero.
  • wilkichwilkich Posts: 52
    I would put all of those except the Mazda in the same category. Actually, I rented a 4 cyl. Mazda 6 five door one weekend and I actually liked it over the 6 cyl. The 6 cyl I test drove one weekend felt blah. I think the wagons only come with the V-6 though.

    Personally, I would take the Mazda off the list and replace it with the Subaru Outback GT. Nice package, AWD, fast as hell, great reliability but a little overpriced and the turbo lag is a little eeiry. Also, I know you have the A4 on your list but the A3 with DSG is about the most fun I've had in a car in awhile.

    I drove a 9-3 SC yesterday and I came away impressed. I recall driving the restyled 9-3 when it first came out. I was underwhelmed by the whole package then. Now that the higher output turbo is standard, it feels like a different car. So I get back to my computer, check Edmunds and it spits back $30k for a base model with everything but NAV. That feels like a lot of $$$ especially considering the poor resale value of Saabs generally.

    All that said and assuming you are prepared to spend $35k, my first choice would be the 325. It's relatively expensive but the free maintenance, long warranty, high resale and pure driving satisfaction of the BMW would make it up to me. Yea, the other cars are "faster" but the pure driver confidence bimmers provide is unique. The Audi is close second but I would have a hard time spending $35k when I could have spent 5 grand less on the more fun A3.
  • Part of the reliability issue is when in the lifetime of the model do you buy the car?

    When the 9-3 debuted in 1999, it had some problems. But by the time I bought a late '01 (May '01), most of the problems had been fixed. The only one that bit me was an ignition system failure, which happened under warrantee.

    Same for my '95 Jetta GLX. The VR6 was solid by then and I never had some of the problems the "early adopters" did.

    Unless there is an issue with strapping a turbo on the V6, the SC Aero I'm considering now should have the benefit of a couple of years for Saab to fix any problems they've been seeing since this generation of 9-3s were introduced.
  • jedirockerjedirocker Posts: 1
    This is a tough decision for us as well. We are unloading our extremely reliable MDX, and just test drove the Saab SportCombi 2.0T. Compared to our other potential buys, this was the most fun to drive. We were deadset on it until I logged onto and saw the reliability for the 9-3 as having the worst reliability rating possible. We had just ruled out the VW Passat 2.0T Wagon (and Audi A4) for the same reason: poor reliability.

    We're stumped. Wish I could get an honest assessment from the service dept at our local Saab dealership.
  • pointatobpointatob Posts: 30
    i just recently read the april / may? consumer reports comparison of entry level luxury sport sedans (saab 9-3, bmw 3 series, a4, g35, etc) and i saw that they hammered on the 9-3 as well. in my opinion, you have to take consumer reports' predictions as just that; their predictions.

    i've also been considering the 2.0t sportcombi and think it's an amazing drive as well. since it's a low volume vehicle, the lack of true reliability data does make me nervous but i wouldn't rule out your favorites (a4, vw passat wagon, or 9-3 sportcombi) just because of what CR says.

    one thing that annoyed me about that CR sport sedan review is that they loaded up a 2.0t with seemingly everything so that it would list at around $31-32 ish to make it look close to the bimmer's $36 ish. i mean, the saab sedan is really a NEAR entry that you can pick up for $26 ish or even $28 with sunroof / premium package. it's also the only fwd sedan they compared. maybe this group of sedans most closely represents the 9-3's competition but CR should have still at least highlighted that the car is offered at a sub-price point to many of the others they compared...

    just my cent.
  • pointatobpointatob Posts: 30
    on CR review: as to loading up the 2.0t, i might be wrong about that. maybe they used an aero trim instead. i don't remember as i read a couple weeks ago at a friend's. in any case my point is that the 9-3 can be purchased at a price point much lower than the others in the comparison. CR should have been more clear about this, i think.
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