2003 SAAB 9-3 Arc 2.0 from UK and Ireland


Good car, but a lot of teething problems


Ignition failure.

Key problem.

Handbrake locked in up position.

Condensation in front fogs.

Door locking mechanism failure x2.

Immobilizer failure x2.

Comfort windows have minds of their own.

Software conflicts between the phone and stereo system.

General Comments:

Very good level of comfort and cabin space.

Plenty of power when required.

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

Review Date: 1st February, 2004

26th May 2004, 14:42

I absolutely agree with this review. I have a 9-3 2.0, with less than 9,000 miles on it. I have had to call roadside assistance THREE times in the last year, twice for a jump start because of an unexplained battery drain (the first time the car had not been driven for 6 days -- it was only 7 months old, and the second time the car had not been driven for 36 hours -- it was 9 months old), and once because the key simply would not turn in the ignition at all, and the car had to be towed. I have also experienced brake slipping when hitting a pothole or a metal plate on the road. There was a stalling issue, which has now been fixed by the recall and software upgrade. But it is literally 6 days since the last time it was in the shop for the ignition problem, and now the check engine light is on. I would say this car has SIGNIFICANT teething problems!

2003 SAAB 9-3 linear 2.0 turbo from North America


Total lemon


Turbo valve has gone out 4 times in a period of 6 weeks. After each repair, it fails again in anywhere from 1 day to 2 weeks. At each failure, the car is drivable, but has no turbo boost.

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

Review Date: 18th January, 2004

2003 SAAB 9-3 1.8t Arc 2.0 LPT from Estonia


A design-winner and smooth cruiser


Rattling noise came from both the left and the right front doors when driving on bad road surface or using strong bass in the sound system. The dealer tried to fix it, but it's still not perfect. I'll let it to be checked again.

Rattling noise is coming from the glove-box when the interior is cold. It was not fixed yet.

The 7-speaker audio system is very good in the front, but it gives zero bass in the back. I tried the 13-speaker system also and it has the same problem.

Once during a visit in Hungary I could not open the doors with the remote control in a parking lot. I had to open the door with the key and then reset the alarm by removing an electric security plug for a minute. According to the Hungarian dealer it's a problem on the local market and a software update will be sent for cars sold in Hungary (there's something giving a long-lasting signal in the same frequency as the Saab remote control in Hung. and it causes a timeout error in the alarm). But foreign visitors in Hung. must be prepared for this kind of inconvenience with their Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan!

General Comments:

I am very satisfied with the car in general. Design is a winner with everyone, the merlot-red color with beige-leather interior looks really elegant, materials are top-quality, it feels much more sophisticated than BMW 3 series or Mercedes C-class in the same price range. If the rattling noises will be solved it will be close-to-perfect.

Dashboard design is a hit and it reminds on an airplane cockpit. If you don't use your seatbelt then the car gives the same noise as the airplane seatbelt-signal during takeoff and landing.

The leather seats are good, they provide enough support and are good for tall people also - maybe the lumbar support is a bit too short, but it's a problem with all other cars I tried in this size-range.

Ride is smooth, basic 150hp turbo engine provides enough power for everyday motoring and overtaking without sweating, transmission in auto-mode is fine (manual mode is OK, but has not much point in my opinion, only once used in a curvy hillside road), the electronic gadgets (ESP etc.) makes me to feel secure in winter conditions.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 5th November, 2003

4th Nov 2009, 12:00

Am in process of changing my car here it Ireland (Dublin). I have a C Class Mercedes. After reading this excellent article, which answered my questions about the Saab, I'm going ahead with the purchase.