1998 SAAB 9-3 SE
A good, all around, sporty family car
I have not encountered any major faults with this car, but there have been some annoying smaller items causing irritation.
The ventilation fan keeps making a whining noise. Replacing this well hidden part would cost around € 600. But greasing it at every service stop helps for 12 000 km.
Another faulty part is the SAAB Information Display (SID). For some reason the pixels keep disappearing and reappearing all over the display. The only fix for the problem is replacing the display at € 750.
But the most unfortunate problem occurred a couple a weeks ago when the heating ceased working at -14 C. It was a rather cold 2 1/2 hour journey home due to a broken switch (a € 15 part...).
When I test drove the car, I got a feeling resembling flying a small airplane. I don't really know why, but maybe it's because of the responsiveness of the chassis. Also, the exact steering deserves a mention.
The turbo (175hp) gives a nice performance, especially when passing slower traffic. However the power is delivered rather aggressively to the front wheels, and this can rock the steering wheel if you're not prepared.
The cargo carrying capacity of the 9-3 is great, becoming huge when tilting the seats down. The legroom in the backseat is not generous, so taller passengers usually find the backseat cramped.
The car makes a great winter car, as it handles well on snow and it warms up fast.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 14th December, 2002