2003 SAAB 9-3 Linear 2.0t from North America


A fast and sexy piece of junk


Handbrake failed twice.

Sunroof serviced 3 times still works intermittently (doesn't always close).

Excess paint chipping on hood.

Odometer and speedometer stopped working while driving.

Break failure, pedal sank to floor.

Steering column locked while driving and turning across oncoming traffic. Restarting car cleared the problem (?)

Low Oil pressure warning.

10-20 various warning messages.

Door handle color fade.

SID (on-screen display) failure had to be replaced.

On-star was flaky and intermittent.

Seat belt safety recall.

6th CD slot doesn't work on really cold days.

Break squealing.

General Comments:

Exceptional performance/luxury for money.

Most unreliable car I've ever owned. Has a total of 60+ days in service in just over 1.5 years of ownership.

Excellent headrests.

It appeared that service struggled with this car due to having to work on a new make/model that was unfamiliar to them.

If a part was required, had to wait up to 7 days for it to arrive from Sweden.

Tried to get it declared a lemon and a decent trade-in from manufacturer. Denied, told the car was still under warranty.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 15th September, 2005

2003 SAAB 9-3 Arc 2.0 turbo from North America


Fast, fun and turbo!


I have mostly had electronic problems with this car. Things like the OnStar system malfunctioing 5 times, windows refusing to roll up all the way in auto mode.

The second problem is the minor noises which started when this car was new. On high base all the door panels would buzz. I had to take it in to the dealer 4 times before they ironed out the kinks.

The audio system in this car is quite weak. Even with the upgraded 150W, 13 speaker system the base is quite lacking.

General Comments:

The turbo lag is almost non existent. The pickup is awesome and this is a very fun 4 door sports sedan to drive.

The bucket seats are very comfortable and the bolstering on the side can be adjusted, which is very nice for a heavy guy like me.

The trunk space is the biggest in this class making this a great touring vehicle.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 17th August, 2005

2003 SAAB 9-3 2.0t 2.0 turbo from North America


A good car with some growing pains that needs better dealerships in the US


Within the first 1500 miles, the emergency brake froze up in cold weather. Fixed under warranty.

Stereo system, specifically the CD changer, has been replaced twice due to skipping and freezing up.

At 20,500 miles the front suspension needed major work due to crunching and popping noises. Dealership was unable to give me specifics regarding the cause.

All door exterior door handles had to be replaced in the first year due to serious fading.

Power sunroof will, often, not close all of the way with the on-touch feature. There is an override by holding down the power window lock button along with the sunroof button, but Saab has no permanent fix yet.

Amplifier (under drivers seat) has been replaced twice due to noise distortion. This has been fixed under warranty.

Drivers side window has, twice, fallen into the door while driving.

General Comments:

On the negative, I was surprised by all of the quirky little issues I had with this vehicle within the first two years I've owned it. Window not staying on track, sunroof not closing, parking break freezing up... All of these issues would have been palatable had the dealership been a little more accommodating (and nicer) during my numerous visits. When I go in there, I get the "what's the problem now" treatment and am quickly shuffled to the Enterprise Rental office where I'm given, not another Saab, but whatever little Pontiac Grand Am they can scrape together.

On the positive, I've really grown to like the cars performance in the mountains (I live in Denver) and the way that it handles weather conditions. There is some lag with the turbo off the line, but when it kicks in, it really pays you back. The interior seems to be made of sturdy materials, and none of the breakable items (knobs, cup holders) have disappointed me yet.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 2nd June, 2005

4th Oct 2005, 18:19

Problems with 2003 Saab 9-3 Arc.

I'm sad to agree with some other disappointed Saab 9-3 owners about numerous nagging mechanical issues that started almost immediately after purchase. I love the look of my Saab and the promise of what it could have been, a sporty/luxury, fun car.

1. Power Windows automatically roll down 4"

* Had this "fixed" three times at the dealership and it still happens. I've been told by the dealership to override the system with some complex series actions starting with applied pressure to the window while holding down (or is it up?) the switch and then opening/closing/opening...tried it-still doesn't work! Now three windows are malfunctioning.

2. 6-speed manual transmission - very troublesome.

* from the moment I drove the car off the lot, I needed to use significant force to shift through second and third. It felt like metal-on-metal friction. Down-shifting was even worse. The Dealership adjusted the linkage, but the stick has never lived up to fun potential of this car.

3. Low quality OEM tires - Even though they are Pirelli P6.

* I'm a conservative driver and have had the tires rotated and the car aligned per specs. Even so, I complained that I was hearing a reciprocating noise from one the tires, especially on the freeway. My Dealership denied hearing it for the first two visits and ultimately said that my wheels were "cupped". At 20,000 miles? Come on!

4. Dealerships not offering level of service compared to BMW/Lexus. Example: Enterprise Rental cars instead of a Saab.

* Maybe I'm just spoiled from having leased a BMW and Lexus prior to the Saab. The BMW & Lexus service was great. They took care of every issue without question and with a smile.

I wanted my Saab experience to be a good one, I really did, but the number of problems and lack of dealer commitment to handle them, has made the entire experience a disappointing one at best.

29th Jul 2008, 09:43

Im looking to find out how you got your driver seat amp replaced under warranty??? My dealer told me that this was part of the radio so therefore is not covered.

Any leg you can give me to stand on would be appreciated.

Thank you.