1989 SAAB 900 Reviews - Page 3 of 7

1989 SAAB 900 SPG 2.0L 16v - turbo from North America

Model year1989
Year of manufacture1988
First year of ownership2003
Most recent year of ownership2006
Engine and transmission 2.0L 16v - turbo Manual
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 3 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 2 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
5.0 / 10
Distance when acquired185000 kilometres
Most recent distance210000 kilometres
Previous carVolkswagen GTI

Summary:

A blast to drive, but not to own

Faults:

Heater Valve leaked, Rear Calipers seized, cruise control stopped working, heated seats failed, radiator leaked, clutch master failed, ECU fried (common for 89 models), fuel injectors failed, exhaust downpipe and rear muffler rotted, MAF failed, fuel feed pump failed - caused car to stall when fuel level is low, valve cover gasket leaked no matter how many times it was changed, plus many other nickle and dime items...

General Comments:

An extremely fun car to drive, particularly on the highway and in the mountains. Tons of passing power when you get on the boost. Handling is decent, but is slightly on the soft side. Amazing exhaust note! Gas mileage in town was around the 21mpg mark.

Sharp, unique looks, especially being the more rare SPG model. Comfortable interior and gobs of room in the hatch, and doubles with the rear seat folded. A friend of mine carried a single bed in his 900! Nice leather seats and good seating position. A nice dash layout and clear gauges. The heater system did not perform as well as many 900 owners claim, even after I replaced the heater core thinking it may have been clogged. Decent heat, but certainly not as hot as my VW would get.

Finding a well kept example is THE MOST IMPORTANT aspect in buying one these quirky Swedes. The P.O. of mine was a cheapskate. I paid the price by not getting an inspection before purchasing. The vehicle had constant issues with the turbocharger control system which I finally sorted after two years of ownership.

Maintenance was sub-par. Parts prices are not as bad as one would think, but are hard to find in my area. Internet Saab parts suppliers are a god send, as is Ebay. It just seemed that as soon as I fixed one thing, something else would pop up. A well maintained example should be more forgiving.

I honestly miss this car and the power, looks, and utility that came with it. But I won't miss the constant battle to keep it on the road and off of a hoist.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 20th October, 2006

1989 SAAB 900 SPG 2.0 litre, 4 cylinder.turbo from North America

Model year1989
Year of manufacture1989
First year of ownership2004
Most recent year of ownership2005
Engine and transmission 2.0 litre, 4 cylinder.turbo Manual
Performance marks 10 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 9 / 10
Dealer Service marks 6 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 5 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.8 / 10
Distance when acquired190000 miles
Most recent distance211000 miles
Previous carSAAB 900

Summary:

Most exciting car possibly attainable with less than $5000

Faults:

The headliner has begun to sag.

The engine has a knock, and does not get full turbo boost.

The leather seats in the front are cracking.

The floor pan rotted out and needed replacement.

The wheel arches have begun to rust, and the moldings are falling out.

General Comments:

The car handles great, and doesn't even lean in corners.

Despite not being full boost, the turbo still makes the car faster than others.

The paint is still great.

Worth the time and money in my opinion.

I love looking at people and catching them pointing at my car, because it is the dream car of people in the past, an it handles like it is in a dream... Awesome.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd February, 2005

1989 SAAB 900 Turbo Convertible 2.0 Turbocharged from North America

Model year1989
Year of manufacture1989
First year of ownership2003
Most recent year of ownership2004
Engine and transmission 2.0 Turbocharged Manual
Performance marks 10 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 10 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.8 / 10
Distance when acquired120000 miles
Most recent distance123000 miles
Previous carVolkswagen Golf

Summary:

A beautiful car which needs a good amount of attention.

Faults:

My head gasket blew at 122,000 miles.

Car came with no thermostat, which made it run high in temperature, which may have caused the head gasket faliure.

Second gear grinds on occasion.

Interior dash light is very dim.

Back seat threading is lose.

General Comments:

This particular car is very quick. Once past 4000 rpm, you really got to keep an eye on the guage to make sure you don't go past the redline.

I love the interior, it's real comfortable for a car it's age. The seats are real 1st class, and the leather has a better feel than many new cars. Fits four adults comfortably with no complaints.

The exterior is in good shape. The top does have a few tears, but nothing that would cause a leak.

The handling on the Saab is great. You get such a thrill while punching it through a corner. It is really stable and the response of the steering is 1st class.

A negative about the Saab company is that there aren't many aftermarket parts for the vehicle. They're hard to get a hold of, but there are companies like Group9 that do have great products.

Something like the lack of aftermarket parts should in no way drive a potential customer to look another way. This car is the best I have got to experience in performance and reliability, and I wouldn't trade it for anything from it's time. If you get a chance to get your hands on one, don't pass up the opportunity. They are well ahead of their time with great features like heated seats, and side mirrors.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th October, 2004

6th Dec 2006, 15:46

Just thought I'd mention, not having a thermostat would cause the car to run much cooler... but you say that it runs hotter... does anyone know why that would be?

25th Jan 2007, 06:05

It sounds like it was removed to disguise a head gasket problem, which is borne out by the fact that it subsequently failed.

29th Jan 2008, 02:24

I say it over heated and the thermo was removed to bandage the problem. Now one caused the other. Over heated blowing the head gasket, blew the head gasket causing over heating.

The dog is dead, I know.

29th Jan 2008, 16:53

I agree (someone had the thermostat out to run it cooler).

I have a 89 convertible too, with new top, x-drilled rotors and a hotter APC box with 18" wheels and Paradas. Still a good ride, and has a LOT more room inside than my 2001 Viggen. I would even say it has a less wooshy (technical) cabin with the top down. Plenty of pep, and as for aftermarket, check GenuineSAAB.com; lots of toys, and www.stateofnine.com also for less performance oriented accessories.

Great little car, hope the next owner likes it as much as I do.

8th Nov 2008, 15:25

SAAB 900...

It definitely is worth fixing!!

23rd Jan 2009, 20:26

Running without a thermostat can cause overheating... in hot weather it never gets to completely cool while in the radiator, and therefore can increase in temp... sounds strange, but I have had it happen.

22nd Mar 2011, 09:36

It would run hotter because the thermostat is what tells the fan to turn on when the engine gets too hot, so if the thermostat didn't work, the fan would not go on. I had a similar problem with my 900 turbo convertible. I fixed it by bypassing the switch and made it so that my fan automatically went on when the engine started.

Average review marks: 7.5 / 10, based on 22 reviews