1989 SAAB 900 2.0 non turbo from North America




I drove this car gently and took good care of it as much as possible. But in only 15k miles in 2 years, I had to replace the clutch, CV joints, fuel pump, starter, idle air control valve, all belts and pulleys, brakes, CV boots, cap and rotor, and distributor. I gave up with a vacuum leak and more undiagnosed lurching and coughing at only 110k miles. The fuel pump and starter both got me stranded only a month apart, both requiring pricey tows.

What's worse than all the breakdowns - SAAB parts are very expensive. The parts are also hard to find - you can't get them at the local parts store, you have to wait for them to be special ordered. Every other part you need has to be special ordered for twice as much.

I could have kept it going, but there's only so many times you can spend the car's worth in repairs just so it can fail you again.

General Comments:

The SAAB 900 is a good car in theory. Pretty good on snow and ice until you get in deep snow. I got 30 MPG city and 33 highway. Some say they will last forever if you keep up on maintenance. That's a joke. For every decent 900 left on the road, there are 5 parts cars rotting in yards.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 30th August, 2014

30th Aug 2014, 14:33

Most people are going to tell you "Well whaddya expect it's an old car!" and "Wow! Sounds like the owner before you dogged it around!".

I'm going to tell you that at just 110k miles your Saab shouldn't have had so many issues. I've flipped beaters for years and none of them required the work that your Saab did.

Saab 900s are tough when it comes to safety, but fixing them can be pricey, and I'm sure it's a challenge to change belts on an engine mounted backwards.

31st Aug 2014, 11:53

So what was the mileage? It looks like the car was nearly 20 years old when you bought it. Even Toyota Corollas will give you grief at that age.

31st Aug 2014, 15:12

"coughing at only 110k miles"

In other words it was pretty low mileage.

1989 SAAB 900 2.0 turbo from North America


Sensible rocket, but treat them right


Reverse lockout is a real pain if they cause problems. Vacuum leaks are sometimes a cat and mouse game, and keep your turbo from working properly.

Overheating is the killer on these, so make sure you keep your system working very well...

General Comments:

Performance is great for an 80's car; mine is a convertible, and yes they are not a very rigid car, but still handle well, and go great when you do some tweaking of things. It does not take much money to make these a screamer.

If you treat them right and get used to the way they are engineered, what you can and can't do with them, they are very reliable and a blast to drive.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 7th October, 2013

10th Nov 2013, 18:39

Do you have any idea where to get an owner's manual for a 1989 Saab Turbo Convertible?

11th Nov 2013, 15:36

About getting an owners manual:

Try your local junkyard, out there they're generally free, if not then you can find them cheap on eBay.

1989 SAAB 900 2.0 turbo from North America


Quirky, but perhaps one of the most functional cars ever produced


It had its fair share of problems upon purchase for being 20 years old.

The drivers seat had a rather small tear in the bolster from age.

The AC is not working (turns out the bearing froze previously on the tensioner pulley and has not been replaced).

The turn signal lever will not stay engaged when you move it to a right-turn position, and the instrument cluster illumination bulb contacts have spread out and no longer make contact with the bulbs. Obviously, that means no illumination. Smacking the instrument cluster results in temporary illumination.

All the problems are easily fixable for myself, but I'm not concerned enough at this point.

General Comments:

It's probably the most fun car I've owned so far. It's not that fast, but it merges on the freeway with ease, and is at the least, snappy.

There are no mechanical problems, minus a somewhat noisy lifter.

The interior, in my eyes, is pretty spacious.

The controls are very easily accessible, and were definitely designed for function.

The seats are comfortable even after 20 years.

The rear hatch has more space than you'll use. You could even fold down the rear seat, and sleep comfortably in the hatch.

As far as function (hauling your junk, carrying passengers, traversing the country), this car is perfect. They also have a certain cult appeal about them that you'll really love.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th February, 2010

2nd May 2011, 02:04

Well stated, I have the same year of SAAB, I appreciate the same as you!

11th Apr 2014, 09:12

I agree! This car is my favorite.

25th Oct 2015, 02:03

The earlier review that detailed having to replace half the car sounded out of bounds to me. I have owned 3 Saabs 1991 to 1997 and never had this much trouble. Dollar for dollar Saabs are probably the best built and designed cars on the road (prior to G.M. ownership). This car must have been seriously abused.

FYI... It is now 10/2015 and I am currently considering the purchase of a 1989 sedan... it has 125k miles and has no mechanical issues. Body and undercarriage are not great... but this car will be sound for winter driving... and I have no hesitation to purchase it for such.

Bob in MA.