2003 SAAB 9-3 Reviews

2003 SAAB 9-3 Aero 2.0 T Turbo from UK and Ireland

Model year2003
Year of manufacture2003
First year of ownership2014
Most recent year of ownership2014
Engine and transmission 2.0 T Turbo Manual
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 6 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.3 / 10
Distance when acquired130000 miles
Most recent distance133000 miles
Previous carLand Rover Discovery

Summary:

Get one to blow away rep idiots in Beemers and Audis

Faults:

DI coil pack failed, resulting in a loss of power and a misfire.

Stereo system intermittently cut out.

Rear door lock wouldn't work on the central locking loop.

Coolant leak (sorted with Radweld!).

General Comments:

What a fantastic Q car. No badges on the back and went like stink!

Because Saab limited the torque in first and second gear, they're not the best car for dragging off lights, but when they get going, these things have amazing in gear pull. Unless someone is in something very quick, they'd struggle to out accelerate you!

Mine was Black and still looked nice and up to date; I think they've aged pretty well.

However, not so sure about the interior wear; a lot of the soft touch surfaces wear away on these, which looks scruffy, and so do some of the button graphics. I've had the older shape 9-3, which actually wears better inside.

Very, very comfortable seats, great aircon, nice and quiet engine, and even though it's the sports setup, it has a comfortable ride. All that made this car a very good long distance cruiser, although it's only really capable of early 30s ish MPG, even cruising.

Mine had the nine speaker sat nav/stereo setup, which sounded quite good, had an MP3 aux port too, but annoyingly, it used to intermittently cut out, common on these, and probably the fibre optic connections.

Handling wise it was OK, fairly secure, but a fair amount of understeer, and struggled with torque steer as well, specially in the wet, a result of 210 HP I guess through front wheels. I also have a Mazda 3MPS with 260 HP but a limited slip diff, and that makes a big difference.

If you want a fast, comfortable Q car that you can blow idiots away with in Beemers, Audis etc, that's cheap to buy and well specced... get one of these!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd July, 2014

2003 SAAB 9-3 SE Convertible 2.0 from North America

Model year2003
Year of manufacture2002
First year of ownership2013
Most recent year of ownership2014
Engine and transmission 2.0 Automatic
Performance marks 10 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 10 / 10
Dealer Service marks 0 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 5 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.0 / 10
Distance when acquired120000 miles
Most recent distance131000 miles
Previous carMercedes-Benz C-Class

Summary:

You will not find a better car for less than $7K

Faults:

During my year of ownership, the serpentine belt has snapped, and the convertible 5th bow has failed, which impedes the convertible from closing all the way.

Now, every time I stop and go, the "Check soft top" message appears on the SID and it makes a sound similar to the one you get when you walk inside a 7/11.

Too expensive to fix.

The belt was only $40 and the labor was $80.

General Comments:

The seats are great. The heater and the A/C are great. Also, the "sport" mode is amazing.

Gas mileage is pretty lame considering the 4 cylinder engine.

A funny fact is that the check engine came on one day, and the code pointed out a failure on the boost control valve. One day, while driving on the freeway, the check engine light went away and the car runs normal again.

The car handles great, but feels heavy at times.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 11th January, 2014

2003 SAAB 9-3 Linear Sport Sedan 2.0 turbo 170hp from North America

Model year2003
Year of manufacture2003
First year of ownership2011
Most recent year of ownership2012
Engine and transmission 2.0 turbo 170hp Automatic
Performance marks 10 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 10 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 2 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.0 / 10
Distance when acquired93000 miles
Most recent distance130000 miles

Summary:

I love it, it's an awesome car if you can afford it. It's not for the cheap people!! SAAB forever

Faults:

I bought my first car, which was my first SAAB Linear 9-3 Sport Sedan.

Let's start off by saying why buy a luxury car if you don't have money to afford to keep up with maintenance?

You would have to invest the same with a BMW, AUDI or LEXUS, which one of them might be more reliable.

A SAAB is a driver's car. It's not a drive me until I can't spin my wheels anymore; if that's your case, get a Kia then.

I spent about 5,600$ in maintenance after purchasing my Saab 9-3 from a used dealership... Like always, those used dealerships sell you cars that are unreliable from the moment they just figure out how to get the check engine light off, until you drive off with your purchase, when the check engine light comes back on.

So my first day I bought the car, it needed regular maintenance; disk brakes, rotors, new tires, new things under the hood.

At 115,000 the alternator gave up. It cost me 600$ to fix.

An oil leak; they had to drop the transmission from the car to fix the leak, which it ran me 1,850$ for the 2 times that they dropped the transmission for the oil leaks. I decided to swap mechanics because the other ones didn't do good. Well at 100,000k miles cars tend to need big parts replaced. Just because the car costs 7,000$ or 5,000$, doesn't mean you're free of maintenance cost.

I bought it because it's a good looker and they don't look cheap. So I fixed up my car (no check engine light), kept it for one year and sold it because I liked it SO much I decided to buy a 2006 Aero Convertible 20th Edition V6 250 horsepower (0-62 in 6.9 seconds).

All you people who are looking for low maintenance cars; well Saab isn't your type of car, if that's what you're looking for. Once again, get an American car, or get a Kia if that's what you want. They are there for people to use if you just want any car... A SAAB isn't just any car... it requires much more. That, only SAAB enthusiasts understand.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 19th February, 2013

21st Feb 2013, 10:17

Actually, if I wanted a cheap-to-buy but expensive-to-maintain car, I would probably be looking at a 8-10 year old BMW, Jaguar or Benz, not a SAAB.

28th Aug 2013, 09:48

Doesn't really sound like you could afford maintenance if you're buying it used from a cheap dealership. Anyway, you'd be better off getting a VW or Bimmer; at least they still make those.

12th Jan 2014, 20:02

And that is why Saab is effectively out of business, and from now on is a Saab in nameplate only.

Kinda like those Kawasaki drills you get at Costco.

Just a fancy name plate slapped onto terrible Chinese manufacturing (for now).

Average review marks: 6.8 / 10, based on 64 reviews