20th Oct 2005, 09:56

I have a 9-3 Vector Sport and think that many of the comments made are out of line:

The seats are great - I drove from Paris to the NE of England (550 miles) in 1 day arriving ache free.

The leather doesn't look 'cheap and shiny' - well not the grey option on my car.

True it doesn't compare in finish and quality to a BMW or Audi, but it is much cheaper to lease especially taking into account standard features such as parking assist and sports seats.

If it was such an obviously bad car why would anyone buy/lease one? Saab give potential owners ample opportunity to test them out - I had a demonstrator on loan for 48 hours.

8th Nov 2005, 07:30

In response to the October comments, I think the writer is extremely lucky if his Saab has not developed the irritating rattles, sagging seats, etc. Lease cost is irrelevant. I have a £26K Aero that feels like an old taxi, but should compare with a new Audi A4 2.0T (similar price and performance) but I assure you it does not. It is very rare to find all faults on a 48 hour test drive in a brand new car. I would be interseted in hearing how his car is in another 12 months - not that I wish bad luck or anything!

24th Jan 2006, 10:38

I agree - my 93 handles nicely, but I can't how believe the interior noises and the cheap plastic (the plastic above the stereo controls is actually peeling off) conspire to diminish the overall experience. It's frustrating because I want to love my Saab, but it just feels "cheap" for the price I paid.

12th May 2006, 04:38

Very surprised by this review. Spending at least four hours every day in the seat of my 9-3 Vector, I never leave the car feeling anything other than refreshed and relaxed.

With regard to the road noise, I had the sense to buy the turbo petrol. If I wanted a tractor I'd buy a Massey Furguson.

24th May 2006, 02:06

... Excuse me, how does having a petrol engine affect the ROAD noise ?.. The comments were NOT about engine noise !!.. and if they were.. I think you will find a diesel at speed considerably quieter anyway..

7th Jul 2006, 10:14

Reply to 12May. Ferguson is the correct spelling.

1st Aug 2006, 09:00

I have a 2003 9-3. A Saab is not an Audi. Interior quality seems to have become an obsession in the UK motoring press. Why? Because while all makes have major failure stories, all cars are basically good and reliable. There is little else to really compare them on other than interior quality. The Saab certainly is not as well put together as an Audi or Beemer, or Merc. If that's what's important to you, buy one of those! Saab offers a choice. It does things slightly differently and its cars spec for spec are cheaper. Why be surprised that it's leather upholstery is not as high quality as a Merc's? It's not as expensive! The cars come with a three year warranty and main dealers try to sort out all these annoying little quality problems.

12th Aug 2006, 14:47

My 9-3 Vector Sport lists circa 23k. For that money I don't expect to visit my dealer for any " annoying problems".. like dash rattles, faulty electronics.. decent audio speakers etc etc.. You can have an Audi or similar for this money. I hate this car with a passion, and for what it costs, and what it is marketed as.. is simply does not cut it.. end of story.

25th Aug 2006, 16:11

Totaly agree.. I just swapped my Vector Sport 150 tid after 6 Months as the quality issues were simply awful!.. and replaced it with an Audi A4 2.0 TDI S LINE.. an Audi you can have for the same money from new, and justifies the premium fully, The 9-3 is NOT cheaper!.. just cheap!

10th Nov 2006, 00:07

I is really disappointing to read the same issues are affecting 06 93s as affected my 03 93. That car sent me to MB and after two faultless years with the similar priced MB it will take a hugh incentive to get back to another saab.

5th Apr 2007, 09:06

I have a 9-3 1.9 TiD. It is without doubt the worse car I have ever owned. Frequent trips to the dealership have also led me to the conclusion that dealerships are struggling to cope with the number of cars coming in for warranty work. I sit here now with the alarm having to be turned off, as it now goes off every ten minutes or so. I grew up with Saabs and had always wanted one. I can't wait until it goes back. Never again.

12th Jun 2007, 23:33

13 June 2007. My wife and I both have Saabs. Mine is a 2001 93 hatch it has 47000klms and has been a pleasure to own and drive. My wife has a 2006 93 aero she is also very pleased with it in every respect. I drove about 500klms in it last weekend, it has great power and great handling and I find the seats very comfortable. The only complaint that I have is the firm ride, but then it is a sports car so I guess you cannot have everything.

6th Nov 2007, 13:07

I have a 03 93 Vector Sport and am pleased overall.

My brother has a 03 Audi Quattro 2.0t 6-speed and that it is not.

The only problem I have is the stereo, but speakers can be replaced. I just turned 40k and no other complaints.

23rd Jan 2008, 17:05

I've got a 2005 (05) Vector 1.9TiD Sport (150 BHP)

In short AVOID. We had 6 SAABS in a row. This is surely the worst and the newest. I gave my wife my 1998 9-5 2.3SE which has 130k on the clock, my 9-3 has 30k on it and feels like it's 230k to drive :- (

The build quality isn't bad to be honest. It's the design quality that is. As other people have mentioned this is down to building on the cheap re GM. There seems not to be a single thing on the car that is screwed together. Everything, including the rattling dash is push to fit and will and does eventually drop off!!!

Mine just had a sump gasket oil leak fixed. Knowing a bit about cars, but not touching this SAAB approved baby decided to have a good look underneath. Most of the underside of the engine shielding is held on with cable ties -- I thought this was the dealer, but no look carefully and it's designed that way. I've had bangs and rattles when pulling out on motorway roundabouts. Now I know why. If you're looking to buy one reach under the front bumper and tap upwards on the plastic shield under the sump. You won't believe it -- trust me. One massive sound board. It's like a double bass under there. Next get in the car. Look at the gearbox tunnel (if you're the driver where your left leg is). Try tapping the plastic -- another sound board. Shocking isn't the word for it. It's designed to be like that. Not shoddy build.

Good points (few)

* Engine -- built by FIAT also found in Alfa's etc.

* Fuel ecconomy -- I get 56mpg on the motorway

* Looks nice -- everybody who hasn't driven it thinks it's great

* Handles like it's on rails

* Lots of poke 40-80mph

* Loads of airbags which might be nice in a crash

* AA bloke who came for an oil leak (SAAB AA) showed me the computer in the van and to be fair there isn't a lot that goes wrong mechanically, i.e. stuff the AA know about (they collect and collate their own data)

Bad points (loads)

* Dangerous -- try pulling away sharpish on said motorway roundabout... 150bhp are you kidding? Every other car will leave you for dead (also see below)

* Gearbox -- entirely unsuited to the UK. 6 gears yes, but 1st is a joke, the ratios are too low. No point in having 5th as you can easily go from 4th to 6th only pulling about 3,000rpm. Very strange ratios indeed!

* Turbo lag -- truely shocking. Try pulling away on a steep hill. Floor it and nothing then whoosh about a second later you're off. Very unpredictable and useless at junctions. Once you get going 1st to 2nd will stuff you as will 2nd to 3rd. Do it quickly and the whole car will bang and crash about like it's about to blow up :- (

* Gearbox -- basically 1st is unavailable unless you're at a standstill. 2nd will stall the car. Great in motorway jams.

* Gearbox -- 1st is a nightmare if the engine is cold. The whole gearbox in the winter is a joke. Mine been in to the deals who keep adjusting it -- the last time they said all 6 speeds are tight -- erm two hands to get 1st?

* Clutch -- think of the clutch and gearbox as belonging to a 1950's Russian tractor and you won't go far wrong ;-)

* Seats -- not good ergonomically. Also abrasive. I've got the leather textile ones. As a test rub your fingers across the textile bit... hurt much? Not supportive, poor adjustment, no thigh pads, passengers not the same adjustment as the drivers.

* Heater -- in the winter it can take 5 miles before anything hot comes out. Not a whiff of hot until the engines warm and boy dos that take some time. There is no pre-heater in this car. Also even when you have the heater on it still cools the air first with the aircon (read the manual for a laugh -- it's a feature)

* No room in the back. I'm 6'2" and have the seat reasonably back. Not all the way by any means. There is 4" between my seat and the back. Even the 10 year old twins complain -- which is bad

* No room in boot. Went to the US for work. We got two cases (med size) in the boot and the third on the back seats. As previously mentioned it's the same platform as the Vectra -- tons of room in them. What gives?

* Steering wheel -- won't adjust to an ideal position for me -- I hit my legs when I change gear

* Rear demister -- or not with mist/wet on the screen. To be fair OK with ice

* Lots and lots of wind noise on the motorway

* Stereo designed by a deaf mute (I've got the mid range one) -- god only knows what the base one is like?

* I could go on, but at least you know what to consider/look for...


Some fool paid 24k for my car two years ago (I paid 12.5k @ 24k mile). Once the 12 months SAAB approved is up I'm either going to pay for another 12 months or get rid. First MOT coming up and will prob cop for a service too. Not too worried as it's covered.

Again as mentioned the dealers seem overwhelmed. Takes weeks to get one in and get a courtesy car. They seem a little depressed when you speak to them as well.

I really liked to car when I test drove it. Again as others as mentioned it only starts to drive you nuts when you live with it for a bit. I don't think my car is a lemon -- I've driven quite a few 9-3's (all types now) some with 200 miles on the clock and some are worse than mine!

I really like SAABs or I did anyway. Yes previously I've had petrol turbos -- the turbo nutter Aeros ones, 2.3 ecos down to 2.0 inj with no turbo. In the US SAAB is dead -- like no sales. Remember in many US states they have lemon laws (so you can reject it even after 3 years). Plus in the US you get crazy warranties, i.e. long and cover a lot.

In short either after 12 months or 24 if I extend the SAAB approved cover it will be going bye bye. The AA bloke who came out to the oil leak recommended Skoda. Best car for the money and the dealers app are top notch. Might even go Japanese, e.g. Honda, Mazda... Not keen on BMW unless series 5 upwards. Hate Mercs with a passion.

So in short take a long test drive if you want a 9-3. The sport is hard suspension wise and is also on low profile tyres with 17" rims. A lot of people complain about the ride. It's v. v. hard. Running over a pebble and you'll feel it. I'm not too worried about that to be honest as that makes the handling good :-)

If you look at one tap on the sounding boards I mentioned. Drive over English roads (pot holed). Drive it to work as a test. Turn up the stereo... maybe not because it'll rattle the car to bits.

If they'd have spent a bit more thought and test time this car would have been great. They could have dropped 2 of the crazy number of air bags, used a few screws on the trim rather than push fittings, upped the quality of the trim/plastics and hey presto a better BMW series 3. It all went so horribly wrong somewhere. Mind you the adverts look nice all Ikea style.

Just been stuck in mine for 4hrs due to flooding in York. Hence even less amused than normal driving it!!!