2002 SAAB 9-3 Reviews from North America - Page 2 of 3

2002 SAAB 9-3 SE 2.0 turbo

Model year2002
Year of manufacture2002
First year of ownership2005
Most recent year of ownership2008
Engine and transmission 2.0 turbo Automatic
Performance marks 2 / 10
Reliability marks 1 / 10
Comfort marks 3 / 10
Dealer Service marks 0 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 1 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
1.4 / 10
Distance when acquired25000 miles
Most recent distance54000 miles
Previous carFord Probe

Summary:

This car is a huge disappointment, and I'll never buy another car made by this manufacturer again

Faults:

Despite never missing a scheduled oil change, my engine failed at 54,000 miles due to oil sludge accumulation on internal engine parts. Sludge accumulation was due to faulty engine design, as is recognized by the Saab Corporation. If unchecked, sludge can accumulate, unnoticed, until total engine failure. Saab extended coverage on their engines due to said defect but will refuse coverage to anyone who can't turn over complete oil-change records for the entire life of the car.

Fitted with a faulty ignition cassette. The cassettes are part of a national recall but have been on back-order for several months due to high demand.

General Comments:

This car has been nothing but one headache after another, and Saab's customer service has been completely unhelpful. I will never, EVER purchase another Saab for as long as I live.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 13th September, 2008

14th Sep 2008, 08:38

I do feel your pain - as I can't imagine the frustration involved in a situation like this.

My question is, since Saab offered free service (oil changes) for the first 36,000 miles - shouldn't the dealership network - have all of the service records in their data base?

I know when I purchased my Saab off-lease with 30,000 miles on it, I went to my local Saab dealer for the 30,000 mile service - they just checked on their computer and told me that the 30,000 mile service had already been done (and my car had been owned by someone in another state).

I would think that if your car had been serviced at a Saab dealership by the original owner - Saab would have all of the records on file, up to the point you purchased it. If you didn't get your Saab serviced at a Saab dealer after that, I would hope that you have your service records as proof of regular oil changes.

I must add that even with these frustrating circumstances - I don't know how you could score your Saab a "2" in performance - these cars are great performers and deserve a much higher score than that. (In my opinion).

2002 SAAB 9-3 Convertible 2.0 turbo

Model year2002
Year of manufacture2002
First year of ownership2005
Engine and transmission 2.0 turbo Automatic
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 0 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Dealer Service marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 6 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
5.8 / 10
Distance when acquired36000 miles
Most recent distance61500 miles
Previous carHonda Accord

Summary:

Sub-standard Saab customer service, safety hazard

Faults:

A couple of weeks ago the engine in my Saab (2002, 9-3) literally blew-up - I was driving on an interstate highway at 65-70 mph. Engine temperature was in normal range. Then the oil indicator lighted up for a few seconds. I heard a 'poof' sound and I saw a smoke screen behind my car. I started loosing speed rapidly in heavy traffic. Luckily for me and my kids, I was able to get to the right shoulder of the highway safely. I took the car to the Saab dealer, where I was taking my car for service, to inspect what happened. Here is the text from the bill:

Removed cylinder head and found 3 pistons burned down to top rings. Could not determine cause of failure since engine won't run. No assistance offered by Saab Cars. Owner declined repair at this time. We tested fuel and it appears normal. Inspection shows also internal parts show no sludge - indicating good maintenance.

General Comments:

Very nice ride. Great acceleration and handling.

Ergonomic interior design.

However, terrible customer service and, in the case of my car, a big safety hazard.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 4th March, 2007

2002 SAAB 9-3 SE 2.0 turbo

Model year2002
Year of manufacture2002
First year of ownership2002
Most recent year of ownership2006
Engine and transmission 2.0 turbo Manual
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 1 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Dealer Service marks 1 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 9 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
5.4 / 10
Distance when acquired5 miles
Most recent distance65000 miles
Previous carCadillac DeVille

Summary:

This was my second and last Saab

Faults:

I suggest you read Saab 9-5 customer service complaints on this site before purchasing a Saab. My daughter bought my Saab 9-3 off my lease. Shortly after, we received an oil sludge letter extending engine warranty. The sludge letter is posted on the Internet. We increased the oil change frequency accordingly and when the engine developed a whine, we took it to the Saab dealer. He said he heard no noise and told us to continue driving it. 400 miles later at 65,000 miles the engine failed. Saab charged me $744 to tear down the engine to see if it was an engine sludge problem. The dealer said there was sludge in the oil, but would not put that in writing and according to the dealer, the regional rep said the failure was a piston failure (maybe due to no lubrication??) and it not covered by the engine sludge warranty. They have not responded too many calls to put the reason for the warranty denial in writing and there is no way to talk to the regional rep. The Saab 800 service line is manned by screeners who are forbidden to put your calls through (per the screener I talked to)

General Comments:

Saab does not stand behind their warranties and their customer service is non-existent.

It is a seriously fun and practical car, but not worth buying another.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 4th October, 2006

4th Oct 2006, 06:33

An off-lease car with only 5 miles on it? Was it a one day lease? Please explain???

25th Oct 2006, 10:21

I too recommend NOT to buy a Saab 9-3, especially in the 1999-2002 range. I have a 2000 9-3 and a diagnosed oil sludge problem at 87,000, I was charged $600 to dismantle to confirm the diagnosis. I have all records to show my oil changes and signed affidavits for those they disputed and they still denied the oil sludge claim and their warranty. I'm out the money I owe on the car and the money it would take to fix it.

Average review marks: 4.9 / 10, based on 8 reviews