1987 SAAB 9000 Turbo 2.0 turbo from Australia and New Zealand
Great car on paper - and occasionally lives up to its specs
The Swedish temptress invites you to spend more on her because she can give so much. But does it ever end?
Admittedly, so long as the timing chain is kept in check, the engine is near bullet proof. You can get half a million kilometres on it without much sweat. For me, this included the turbo, but others have had different experiences.
The tranny, is a different story. The clutch is an expensive fix. The synchros on 2nd gear bit the dust a while ago, and 1st, 3rd and reverse were following suit.
No problems with the suspension.
After 15 years, rust was becoming an issue (I live in Sydney, Australia). Affected areas included the sunroof, inside bits of the doors and 'the aquarium' a region in front of the windscreen in the engine bay (affectionately known as such because, by design, this area fills with water... don't ask!).
Front wheel bearings generally go every 100K kms.
Electrics - too much of it for my liking - looks like Saab where trying to differentiate this model from the cheaper 900 by loading it up with gimmicky crap. It includes the most annoying AC system I've known. It turns on by design when you switch on the ignition. If you're air con works, this isn't much of an issue, but still, the compressor affects fuel economy.
The headlight high beam relay is a nuisance - this (expensive) thing (s) die after every 5-10 years or so due to a design fault which relies on the mechanical strength of a bit of solder.
If you have approximately 2-8 grand to spare on top of purchase price, pick up an OK one and you'll have yourself a fantastic machine that won't cost you another cent for a good few years! Few of us in the market for a 5 grand car do, and hence, the very low resale value of a car that once retailed for >$65,000.
5 door hatchback, with greater (useful) carrying capacity than many large 4WDs. In manual turbo form, the 2.0L engine delivers all the power you require on the open road and with fuel economy that still compares with many similar cars that are 15 years younger. Ride and handling is what you would expect from a leading Euro manufacturer (not the finest, but not bad at all either). All this in a neat well-made package.
In Australia, however, ownership of a Saab is an expensive and love-hate experience. And only those in the know respect the car for what it is.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 13th March, 2006
Some of your problems might be related to the age of the car and the way previous owners have treated it.
Do you seriously expect showroom performance and absolute reliability from a 16 year old car?
Well, yes the Saab Aero has complexities like all cars that have swung over to the computer, in the perhaps erroneous belief there are unassailable benefits in fuel injection, and at what massive service costs over a carburetted car would be utterly staggering. The Op-Amp has almost limitless possibilities, and can be applied through a computer for interaction among "sensored" components. The impossibility of exhaustively testing the systems is a curse, as the purchaser then becomes the ultimate test driver.
As for the air conditioning... a very wise move to bring a car quickly to your chosen temperature. If you don't want it, you reach out with the nearside arm and press the button labeled "OFF". Yes, the compressor uses fuel, but so does your completely unnecessary sonic boom sound system at ear shattering levels. So does adjusting the seat or using the headlights, or if you are truly emotionally self destructive, lighting a cigarette using the lighter. The compressor is not operating after the "OFF" button has been pressed.
The worst cars I found as a teenager in Sydney were beachside... eastern suburbs particularly, where expensive cars were bought on credit and left parked in streets, suffering sun and leaf damage, scratches, and often abandonment. Yes, the cars will rust, but I am at Arundel, where cars and anything rusts... but my Saab seems to have survived, and my Alfa 75TS about to go on sale... Japanese cars don't. Vans don't. The worst are cars repaired after major accidents, which were never returned to factory standards... excluding the old "been on the English roads" private imports, which are cancerous from salt.
Yes, the 9000 Aero transmission, though an improvement over the standard one in a few respects, does crack up... the 900 Aeros are the pits in my view. There is no excuse for SaaB producing lightweight gearboxes, and they knew the auto wouldn't cop it well, however this gets back to usage... screaming it through low gears, dropping clutches and so on does not meet the idea. One dropout once replied to me "cars are intended to be used".. yes, but by what and how?
If someone can help me track down some 9000 Aero rims, please call me on 0405 400 515.