2006 SAAB 9-3 2.0t 2.0 turbo from North America

Summary:

Excellent reliable car for the price

Faults:

Nothing has gone wrong with the car, and the maintenance has been free up to now. Have a bumper to bumper warranty until 5 years or 100,000 miles, whatever comes first.

General Comments:

The car has great handling, almost as good as a BMW 3 series (and the best for a front wheel drive car). The car is fun to drive and gives you a good feel for the road, with a little under steer at the limits. If I drive aggressively, only BMWs can keep up, and that is only if the driver is willing to push their car to keep up as the Saab 9-3 is no slouch in the corners.

The turbo lag is nearly non-existent, and is only there for a brief 0.5 seconds from a standing stop, as it picks up speed rapidly after you push the accelerator down. It is nice that this car gets much better gas mileage than the Acura TL I used to own, but has the same acceleration with its turbo 4. In addition, it has been far more reliable as the 2001 Acura TL blew out its transmission at 61,000 miles due to a chronic unit failure that Acura recalled and reimbursed me for (but the car was out for two weeks while the transmission was on back order - I was behind 6 other Acura's waiting for the part).

The Saab is comfortable with good seats and support. The handling comes at a price however as the ride is a little more rough than one would expect, but the trade-off is acceptable in my mind.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd May, 2009

2006 SAAB 9-3 Aero 2.8 from UK and Ireland

Faults:

SID flickering - fixed under warranty.

Lumbar support broke - fixed under warranty.

Rear alu sport combi tailgate had corrosion from poor paint finish - fixed under warranty.

Engine has a Hirsch map, it had to be re-Hirsched due to over boosting - under warranty.

Driver's seat doesn't wear well. Lots of rattles from door cards and rear tailgate. Fixed under warranty. I've managed to fix most myself..

General Comments:

Previous cars I've owned are a Mondeo ST220 (226PS) and currently also own a 2001 XKR with the Supersport pack (Brembo, retuned CATS, steering etc).

The car is generally quite quick in the low to mid range. 275bhp with 300lb/ft at 2000 RPM, and 90% of that available from 1500 RPM makes for effortless acceleration.

It is faster than the ST220, but definitely not as stable as the ST220 on autobahns at 100-140mph or as nice to drive. I also have the Hirsch upgraded brakes fitted as well, which still aren't great.

IMHO the car is let down by poor interior build and an overly stiff suspension.

A good car let down by cost cutting.

Fuel consumption is good though. I easily get low mid 30s at UK motorway speeds.

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

Review Date: 28th April, 2009

2006 SAAB 9-3 2.0t 2.0L turbo from North America

Summary:

Excellent value and reliability

Faults:

Very little has gone wrong with the car. The Saab label fell off the hood at 10,000 miles, and was replaced for free under warranty. Nothing else has failed or gone wrong with the car.

General Comments:

The car is able to get very good gas mileage as the turbo does a lot of work letting the engine loaf along. I average between 21 and 25 mpg in the city, and 31 and 36 on the highway. The EPA gives it 19 and 29 so I always do better than that.

The car handles very well. It is not as tight at a BMW which has rear wheel drive, but if you drive the Saab hard the BMW will outperform it only if it is driven hard as well. Most of the time owners do not know how to drive so the Saab can keep up with the 3 series BMW.

Acceleration is good as the turbo lag has been minimized using Saab's engine controls, a Mitsubishi turbocharger, and a GM 2.0 Ecotec engine. This is a strength of the car with the Bosch sourced five speed automatic transmission.

The cabin is comfortable for spirited driving as well as highway cruising. Although the platform is shared with other GM cars, it is more tightly tuned for handling so potholes are felt particularly hard in this car.

I can see myself buying another car in a few years if the brand survives as up to now, it has been the best car I have owned (this includes a Toyota with a blown engine due to sludge at 65,000 miles and the Acura with a blown transmission at 69,000 miles).

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 10th February, 2009

19th Aug 2010, 12:24

Now I am at 59,600 miles with no additional issues. The car has been great, and I am more impressed with it each year it runs with no problems. At 4.5 years old, it is the most reliable car I have owned - better than the Hondas, Acuras, Toyotas I have owned with transmission and engine issues. I would buy another if the brand is around in a few years. I plan to keep going about 10 years and if at that point it is still around, get another.