I have had my 900SE for quite some time now. Bought it used with 82K miles and have had absolutely no problems. I "upgraded" from a 1993 900 turbo convertible and, as nice as that was, this is even more fun.
Have a 900 SE convertible with now 200,000 km.
Change timing belt every 40,000 km with upper roller replacement ($500), and every 80,000 with additional lower roller replacement ($1,200). Car runs absolutely fine.
It is lousy mechanic's providing lousy service that is the main problem of a Saab 6cyl engine. I have had such problems with a Nissan 4WD diesel with $6,000 engineoverhaul @ 140,000km and another $2,000 overhaul 20,000 km thereafter.
In this event it was also lousy mechanics performing bad work.
Have now a second 900 SE convertible because of the pleasure driving it and for the use by my kids. The 3rd Saab in the family is a 900 S convertible that is still going strong.
By the way if you get sick of your 2.5L Saab engine why not replacing it with a US$2,300 brand new 3.2L 54degree Opel motor, that is GM's identical engine to the Saab 2.5L engine, just bored bigger and without Timingbelt issues.
Cheers to that and keep out of the sun.
I've owned my 1995 900SE V6 2.5 hatchback for ten years. When purchased it had 66k miles and I promptly replaced the cam chain parts for free (parts and labor) as it was still under warranty. Since then the car has performed nearly flawlessly. Other than a busted water pump, the wheels were a bit soft and tended to get out of round. After a new set of 16" wheels (from 15"), Kumho tires, I replaced all the struts with KYB gas-adjust units which brought everything back to like-new feel. It gets 30mpg highway, drives like it's on rails, and carries more stuff then you could imagine. Also, replaced the rotors with performance ATE brakes. I'll be replacing the muffler, getting a full tune-up, replacing all the belts and it should be good for years to come even with 173k miles! When the time comes I really will hate to get rid of it.
The GM V6 is junk! Just like the European V6 GM puts in the Cadillac Catera. Google saabnet for help with repairs and modifications.
The 97 models had larger diameter brake rotors so upgrade to 97 spec brakes instead of replacing with the same under size brakes that eat up brake pads and warp rotors.
As for repairs, ask any Ford Taurus, Lincoln Continental, Chrysler LH-LHS (Intrepid, New Yorker etc.), or Cadillac owners about cost of repairs and frequency of repairs.
Really you should buy some tools and a repair manual and do as much preventative maintenance and repairs yourself, as you can handle. There's classes at community colleges or adult learning centers for basic repairs or even engine rebuilding. Most car repairs are easier to do than you would think. I mean if you can change a light bulb in your home you can change your spark plugs and oil.
And Acura? Don't make me laugh, Acuras from the 90's have rusted out, and need a lot of work too. Most of the ones for sale don't have their original engines. The newer ones are better but I wouldn't buy one used. I've worked as a mechanic, used car dealer, and classic car restorer. And there isn't a single vehicle that doesn't have problems. I would take mechanical repairs on SAAB's over the severely rusted Japanese crap any day. And the American luxury cars need lots of mechanical repairs and they rust out too fast. You wouldn't believe how many 1995 to 2005 GM front wheel drive cars need new subframes because of rust. Cadillac Northstar engines make everything else look reliable.
Thankfully SAAB has been set free from the idiots at General Motors. And Jaguar is safely out of Ford's hands.