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I brought my Saab back in 2009 at 86000 miles. It's a 2.0 Vector Turbo with all the trimmings needed for a comfortable ride, i.e. Leather seats, Cruise control, Climate Control 'enhanced dials'. So far to date I can honestly say out of the many cars that I have owned its my favourite. The reasoning behind this is that the ride is comfortable, it's relatively ecomonical for a petrol car of its size, has good pace and a decent amount of torque.
After the 3 years of traveling up and down the M1 and M6 I can say the only glitch I have (which is a common fault with all SAABs) is the window wipers. Back when general motors brought SAAB the components that they used was not suffice and soon started to fail. At the colder part of the year the wipers on my 9-3 seem to stick upright on the windscreen, to replace the relevant part would cost approximately £250. This issue seems to work in cycles as they eventually wind themselves down into place. This small I don't think is bad for a car owned for 3 years and has only had its tires and brakes changed and do not hinder there operation.
With GM unfortunately no longer making any SAAB's the parts and knowledge needed to maintain these cars will soon die out which is a real shame. If I had my time again I would still buy a 9-3 however if I had the money in this day and age would I buy a 9-3 again.......sadly probably not due to its bleak future.....
I brought my Saab 93T from a dealer in Bristol in October 2004. It is a 1998 185bhp SE with the leather upgrade. It has just done 89000 miles
I really started to look at Saabs seriously as a few people at work raved about their reliability, Volvo levels of Safety, but above all their fantastic performance. I took a number of test drives in the non turbo models and found them to be swift enough, but not as breathtaking as I was led to believe. After looking into the model range further I was tempted to look at an Aero or a Viggen, but the former was typically owned by high mileage drivers and the latter was very rare and very expensive. Hence I took the full blown turbo for a test drive and was staggered basically by the accelaration through the gears.
Typically, the car costs me £300 per annum to service. I don't take it to the Saab network as there is a local garage that specialises in Swedish cars and has the same computor network to recognise the service history etc. Fuel costs are quite high, with a typical run to work returning 28 to the gallon. Normally if I'm on the motorway this may rise to 32mpg, but it has never gotten higher even if I drive like a saint.
Comfort and Driving
The car does tend to have a light front under accelaration and in the autumn months has a tendancy to torque steer in second gear. In winter on frosty starts It is necessary to short shift in order to keep traction. Other than that it is very rewarding to drive on the b roads. It is equally at home on the motorway where it can take you well over three figures without you really knowing it. Interms of overall comfort, the seats are 200 mile comfortable, but I am 6ft 4 and find the space for my left leg too small. Often it means I tuck it under the brake pedal. Not really safe I agree. Space in the back is ample for my 3 year old, but I have found it a squeeze with 5 in. When the airconditioning kicks in autommatically, you do feel a distinct loss of power, but not much change to fuel economy.
I have had one worn nearside wheel bearing fail at 88k miles and from the history both driveshafts were replaced by a previous owner. Not sure why. In cold weather the cabin tends to squeak until it heats up. Also the front shocks are noisy on cold starts, but they may need overhaul soon. Had no problems with the DI cassette which some owners report, but I did have an engine management fault which was originally diagnosed as a Lambda sensor failure, but cleared after the throttle bodies were cleaned at service time.
Living with it is quite easy day to day. The hatchback is huge and swallows the camping equipment and luggage. Parking is sometimes a pain as the clutch is quite sharp. My wife does have a nasty habit of stalling it and then struggling to turn the ignition as the key is not where she expects to find it (its in the centre console)
Spec of my car is SE with cream leather all round. The dash has the walnut pack which looks quite tasteful. The seats are manual and unheated. I have no plans to sell and have found a pretty timeless car that doesn't look at of place next to my neighbours brand new golf.