2003 SAAB 9-3 Reviews - Page 3 of 21

2003 SAAB 9-3 SE Convertible 2.0 turbo from North America

Model year2003
Year of manufacture2003
First year of ownership2010
Most recent year of ownership2011
Engine and transmission 2.0 turbo Manual
Performance marks 10 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 10 / 10
Dealer Service marks 7 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 4 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.0 / 10
Distance when acquired81000 miles
Most recent distance84000 miles
Previous carMercury Sable

Summary:

Absolutely my best purchase... Ever

Faults:

Serpentine belt snapped within two weeks of purchase, wasn't under warranty, but they covered it anyways.

Emergency brake broke after 3 months, still haven't fixed it.

Suspension spring broke under driver's side 2 weeks ago, haven't fixed yet.

Pixels distorted on display screen.

Wasn't given a spare key upon purchase and the key was stolen. Cost $1400 for a new key plus a spare.

SAAB emblems on hood and rear are both faded.

General Comments:

Absolutely LOVE this car, despite the few problems I've had thus far. Very fast moving car that still gets very good gas mileage (roughly 28-30). The acceleration from sitting still is also incredible.

The car is also very sporty, but classy at the same time. I get compliments on my car all the time from both strangers and friends.

Handling is generally very good, although winter presents some troubles because of its high performance tires (I use a winter car instead of buying winter tires, which are insanely expensive). Driving over bumpy/pothole filled roads isn't the greatest either, so I tend to avoid them when I can.

Needless to say, the car was definitely worth the money it cost me on account of how fun and nice looking the car is. I do recommend them, although not everyone may like it (but that's just your problem I guess!)

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 6th March, 2011

12th May 2012, 05:19

With all due respect, I wouldn't consider it a "problem" if someone doesn't like or prefer a particular make or model vehicle - it all comes down to preference, and everyone has the right to choose what make & model vehicle they drive.

As for your particular vehicle, I owned a 2003 Saab 9-3 Convertible for 5 years; it was a nice enough car, fantastic seats, decent power, decent handling, good MPG etc. but on the other hand I certainly have owned much better (many of the issues you mention are common to this model - pixels going out, peeling - not fading, emblems) and IMO the Saab 9-3 Convertible was very overpriced new; nearly $43,000 in 2003. It was plagued with cowl shake, a mediocre stereo (so much so that the CD skipped over road irregularities), virtually no rear visibility with the top up, and barely enough room for my 4 year old in the back seat - in fact I sold mine as soon as the warranty ran out. Does that mean to you I have a "problem" based on my 5 years experience?

Please give us updates as you put miles on your Saab, as it will be interesting to see how it is holding up, and if it proves to be reliable over the long run.

Thanks!

2003 SAAB 9-3 SE Convertible 2.0L turbo from North America

Model year2003
Year of manufacture2003
First year of ownership2004
Most recent year of ownership2010
Engine and transmission 2.0L turbo Automatic
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 9 / 10
Dealer Service marks 3 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 5 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.6 / 10
Distance when acquired41500 miles
Most recent distance87000 miles
Previous carSAAB 900

Summary:

SAAB is the thinking man's high performance luxury sedan

Faults:

Unlike my previous Saab ('95 900S convertible), which this car replaced, mechanical issues have been few and far between.

Rotors, brakes, and as of this writing, AM radio went out.

Both engine and trunk bonnet badges were faded and replaced.

Maintenance to date on this car has been routine and CHEAP! No one is more surprised and pleased than me that SAAB can be mechanically reliable over the long haul thus far.

Yes, the "check engine" light shows up out of no where, but after a day or so, it goes away.

My excellent SAAB/Volvo guy; a guy I made rich on my 900S over the previous 10 years I drove it, does his recommended scheduled maintenance on my 9-3, and assures me all is well.

This car is driven on long road trips, as well as Los Angeles rush hour grid lock, and yet no drama.. thus far.

General Comments:

The car looks like my 900S; a very attractive car, top up or down.

I added a performance exhaust system Magnaflow just to add some baritone to the engine note, and a K&H air filter system.

My commute to and from work is against traffic, and at normal highway speed, say 70 mph, it's about 40 minutes. In my case I make it in about 25-30, because once on the freeway in the fast lane, I safely cruise at autobahn speed with few if any rear view mirror incursions.

Why SAAB? SAAB is the East Coast BMW. I am an Easterner living in Los Angeles, where everyone has/wants a BMW; in other words, it's a cliche.

SAAB until recently were few and far between. Now in the age of recession, SAAB has come full circle; a high performance luxury sedan at a fraction of the cost overall vis a vis BMW, AKA Big Money Wasted.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 13th October, 2010

13th Oct 2010, 10:58

Why are you so against BMWs? sounds to me like you wish you had one rather than your SAAB.

13th Oct 2010, 18:30

The original reviewer defies logic - he claims to have made a mechanic rich on repairs to his previous Saab, and yet has bought another to replace that one. Why?

20th Oct 2010, 00:54

To comment:

#1 - nothing against BMW. I just never liked them and like many/most German marquees they are not very attractive cars. Bauhaus works in architecture, but not for luxury autos. Performance, engineering, etc the utmost of my respect. I just don't like the way any of them look. Would like to get my hands on a 2002 though.

To comment:

#2 - Why another SAAB after the 1st caused so much grief and expense? Why another wife/marriage after the 1st caused so much grief and expense?...

20th Oct 2010, 23:24

Styling and design are very subjective issues, but most would say SAABs are quirky at best and never drop dead gorgeous.

As for first marriages causing pain and grief and then re-marrying - you don't marry the same woman again do you?

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