19th Jul 2006, 01:37

The 9-3 handles well for a front drive car and is streets ahead (pun intended) of its predecessor in this area.

However, it is still no match for its better class rivals (read: almost all compact executives) and GM/Saab has only obtained the handling at the expense of a jiggly ride.

As for the cabin, the plastics used are dire in look and feel. Quite how GM/Saab can have the gall to pass this off as a premium offering shows how little they understand about this end of the market. The leather seats are also not too durable, if a friend's example is anything to go by, as the hide gets rucked very shortly into service and the stitching is also pretty fragile.

I am also in total agreement with the original reviewer's observations and comments regarding the audio quality and air-con performance.

And till this day, GM/Saab wonders why they just cannot seem to crack the magic 200,000 units a year sales benchmark. Enough said.

3rd Aug 2006, 15:30

Air conditioning comes on. I live in Kuwait, the temperature reaches 50 C (120 F) in the summer. The air con cools the car in few minutes, it's much much better than a BMW, Audi or Mercedes, and other European or Japanese cars.

7th Aug 2006, 19:34

Oh come on! Now you are comparing a Mazda to a Saab???!!!

What's next- a Sentra to a 325i???

23rd Aug 2006, 12:40

Why not.. at least Mazda are unique.. unlike the Gm Saab/Vectra/BLS.epsilon !

24th Aug 2006, 15:10

As unique as a Ford subsidiary? The Mazda3 shares the same platform with the volvo s40 and the Mazda6 is essentially the same as the Ford Fusion, Lincoln MKZ, etc. The 2.3 engine is shared across a wide variety of Ford products. For today's modern manufacturers, platform sharing is a fact of life. You cannot a variety of vehicles, under different brands on a large scale without platform sharing. Get use to it.

24th Aug 2006, 19:26

Mazda's are Fords, unfortunately.

25th Aug 2006, 10:20

Fair comment.. but you won't find a Ford Focus at a Mazda dealership... plenty of 9-3's at my local Vauxhall showroom.. so it goes beyond just platform sharing and demises a reported "premium" brand by the route to market.

26th Aug 2006, 07:11

The Company I work for has a lease agreement supplying GM vehicles as a choice for company car, Lucky us hey, I opted for a 9-3 Vector Sport 150 tid.. my friend and colleague a Vectra 150 SRI cdti Nav. Have a guess whats coming next then!

The chance of having a new Saab appealed to me, even though the tax cost would be higher (p11d list value at £22.560) against the Vectra at £18.622, but I have the premium branded, much better executive marketed 9-3, which should be way, way better than a Vectra... or so I thought!!

Every single review on these pages you read about the 9-3 I sadly agree with after swapping vehicles for a week. The Vectra, at it's much lower cost, is not only better equiped (excellent nav & audio for example, no Nav on the 9-3 on this model as std), but has far better quality cabin materials, seats, build..and surprisingly, matched if not sharper handling and noticeable better performance from the identical Fiat sourced unit, with less turbo lag!

The Vectra does not frustrate you with dash rattles, creaky cheap looking plastic, adjustment and comfort of the drivers seat and the list goes on.. It seems bigger, has a hatch and just does the majority of daily driving expectations better!!

I am now aware both these cars are very similar at the "tech" level, sharing the same platform, suspension and drive units etc.. but apart from maybe the sense of individuality, the Saab badge and exterior looks would also agree with the original review and many others that the Vectra is the better car to live with all round. The Saab may have extra "tech spec'" before anyone shouts, but I can't see this justifying the premium & did not expect to be wrtiing this to which end, I will be choosing the Vectra next year!.

31st Aug 2006, 17:29

Over the past 32 years I've worked for many dealerships, including Chrysler, Jeep, Nissan, Isuzu, Pontiac, Buick, GMC, Renault, Toyota, and others.

I must say that I find Saabs (I do not work for a Saab dealership - I last worked in a parts department of a dealership that sold Chevrolets & Saabs in 1975) to be very good cars, actually much better than most. I put them on par with BMW, Audi, and similar models from Lexus, as far as quality goes.

I especially like the 9-3 series. The 9-5s are growing a bit long-in-tooth and really need a 6 cylinder model. Still I find the quality above average.

The 9-3s are a blast to drive, even with the 2.0 turbo engine. They have plenty of power, are very fast, and return excellent gas mileage. I cannot find any fault with their workmanship, quality of materials used in the interior, or their fit & finish.

The 9-3 convertible is to me, the most desirable, and is at least on par with the BMW 3 series & Audi A4 (which I did sell), and is much more fun to drive than the Solara Convertible (which I did also sell). The Chrysler Sebring cannot compare to any of the Convertibles listed above, but it also costs much less. The PT Cruiser is a tight little rig, but it's rather cheap interior, mediocre build quality, along with it's love it or hate it stylings and enormous turning circle keep it off of my list of desireable Convertibles. The Volkswagen New Beetle and it's poor reliabilty is another I wouldn't even consider (although I have owned 4 of the older Rabbit based Cabriolets, which were enjoyable indeed.)

Count me as one Saab customer who is thrilled with my 9-3, and with my dealership of choice's (Village Saab of Acton, Massachusetts) service department. They have been nothing short of wonderful. And no, I do not, nor have I ever worked for them. In fact, I didn't even purchase my 9-3 there. I bought it off-lease from an independent dealer and bring it to Village for my routine service & warranty work.

Recently I was leaving on a long trip on a Friday morning at 9am. I found out Thursday afternoon that I had an out of round alloy wheel and needed a new one. I went to the dealership at 3pm on Thursday, they over-nighted me a rim, had it on by 8:15am Friday morning, and I was on my way.

They didn't over-charge me, and went out of their way to make sure my trip wasn't delayed. That is true customer service, and what will keep me a loyal Saab customer for years to come. I only wish I could say the same for some of the dealerships I have worked for.

For those who own Saabs (or any other make for that matter) and have had issues with repairs, the key is to find a good repair shop that you can trust. For those who have had a bad experience with one particular model or another. Don't give up on the make, you can get an exceptionally good or bad one of any make. I seen absolutely fabulous examples of the new Chrysler 300C for instance and other's that were put together hideously. I've owned bullet-proof Volkswagens & others that lived in the shop.

My wife has a wonderful and completely trouble-free Lexus RX300 with over 86k on it, yet I've heard of others of the same years with a multitude of problems. You never know what you will get with any make, I guess. For me, I'll stick with Saab Convertibles, thank you.

7th Sep 2006, 11:08

I lease a 2006 Saab 9-3. The car dealer was telling me that this was a great "Luxury car" at $28,000 USD price tag. I think it handles like a Chevrolet and parts of the interior are cheap. I would hardly define this as an entry car in the luxury classification. I liked the exterior look of the Saab and thought I'd give it a try. Luckily, this was a 27 month lease and it will be my last Saab.

I previously owned a 2001 BMW 325Ci with a sport package

GM needs to learn that putting leather, wood grain trim, CD and a sun roof hardly defines luxury. Until then, they'll keep missing the market and I'll go back to a BMW.

9th Sep 2006, 13:08

To the comment from the Saab owner who thinks his car "handles like a Chevy" and is not a "luxury" car.

I disagree completely. But don't let that stop you from going back to BMW. You know what they say the difference between a BMW & a Porcupine is, don't you?

24th Sep 2006, 23:04

I, too, thought that SAAB was a good car. We have had two over the years and loved them. Well, that was pre GM.

I won't go into detail here, but I have logged my consistent problems with my 2006 9-3 AERO on my website. I have a lemon law complaint against SAAB USA at this time, since they refused my request for buyback after over 30 days in the shop.

I certainly hope GM can turn themselves around. I hate that they ruined a unique brand like SAAB.