1999 SAAB 9-3 2.0 turbo from Singapore
A car with very deep seated virtues, that take time to appreciate
I crashed the car at around 20,000km. The suspension was replaced, as were the wheels and the brakes. For such a major crash, it was a miracle that the rest of the body was completely unmarred. For that alone, I give thanks to SAAB for providing a car that excels in real world safety.
The front passenger light sensor that triggers the cabin light has malfunctioned, and there's a little ticking sound coming from the rear windscreen; apparently something that happens with all liftback format vehicles that I know of thus far, which would include the Toyota Corolla and the Ford Mondeo.
Left headlamp bulb is loose, as is the left fog lamp assembly.
The size of the car is excellent, and it is very easy to park, despite the high back.
The steering is a little too heavy, and while there's some vibration coming through, there's not much useful feedback. The 95 is better in that respect.
The air con controls are seriously cheapskate... the rotary dials feel like I'm trying to control the air con through elastic bands. The feel is imprecise and made of cheap plastics. As is the headlamp dial. The radio, thankfully is much better in that respect.
The omission of a console armrest is pretty sore in a premium car. As are the plastic internal door pulls in place of the chrome ones used in the Viggen and the 9-5 series. The handbrake feels completely awful.
The car seriously needs bigger footwear. My version uses 15" 195/60 tyres, but it's really crying out for R16 215/55, because the car struggles with corners sometimes, and the chassis feels skittish over quick but twisting roads.
The 1-2 gear change is also quite jerky.
But that's it for the bad points. Otherwise, the car has been wonderfully reliable, incredible boot size that takes all sort of junk, very very usable, and it has a smoothly integrated turbo that never fails to give me an adrenaline rush =), and excellent supportive seats despite my slip disc. There's not much storage space, but the glove box is very spacious and usable. The car alters its personality dramatically over 120kph, from slightly stodgy to wonderfully stable and smooth.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 22nd August, 2001
29th Dec 2002, 20:31
This review is right on the mark. I am very pleased with my Saab, and also traded in a Mitsu Galant!
2nd Aug 2004, 13:30
I like my SAAB also. Although it is a little noisy when you shift, almost like something is loose. I've also had a problem with wind noise from the doors mainly on the passenger side. Otherwise a good reliable and that Turbo really kicks in when you need it... Cali girl.