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Saab 9-3 SE 2.0t 150 bhp 5-door

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    2 Reviews
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      02.05.2002 17:31
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      My Saab 93 SE is now 3.5 years old and I've driven it from new. It looks like every other car on the street, so I didn't go for good looks when I was choosing it. The reasons I bought it were its safety record, and its big boot. Yes, the boot is huge and comfortably fits a pram & the week's shopping, or 2-3 suitcases. I've never had a crash (touch wood) so can't vouch for the safety record, but it certainly feels solid on the road. I'm not in the slightest bit interested in horse-power (whatever that is), so you'll notice that this write-up is very much a lay-woman's view of life, not that of a car-boffin. Lots of useful features. The interior lights come on when the doors open, stay on till you start the engine, and then slowly dim again. The ignition key is in the centre next to the handbrake, which makes it easy to find. The windscreen wipers are multi-speed, even when they're on intermittent, they can be further adjusted to a variety of different speeds. The driver's seat is adjustable (up & down) so that short people like me don't feel that we're sitting on the floor, but my taller husband can also sit comfortably when he drives. Good quality radio/CD player, although it would nice to be able to turn down the volume of the speakers at the back so that I don't disturb my (sometimes) sleeping children on long journeys. Heating/cooling systems both fast-acting. Loads of passenger leg room in the front seat. The boot opens by the flick of a switch on the inside of the drivers door, and locks again automatically after several seconds, to stop opportunist thieves opening the boot while you're stopped at the traffic lights. So what's the big flaw? Well, I find it very difficult to park, because it's impossible to see the rear-end of the car in any of the mirrors. The car appears to finish at the rear window. Even after 3.5 years, I still reverse, with no real fee
      ling for how near I am to the car behind. It hasn't got any easier, and I'm really not a bad parker (never had any problems with this in the past). After I bought the car, I noticed this comment in Parkers guide. So would I buy another Saab? Well, NOTHING has gone wrong with the car in 3.5 years, but the complete blind-spot when reversing will always be a drawback. So I'd definitely look at other cars next time I'm looking to buy.

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        31.03.2001 05:30
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        I have had my SE model for 2 and a half years now. It is actually the 2.3 normally aspirated version but I have driven the 2.0T replacement. Power and torque is virtually the same; the main difference between old and new engines being a slight reduction in weight. I have to say that reliability is not the 9-3's strongest point. I have had various minor problems with both this car and the 900 that came before it. The biggest problem, and one quite inexcusable in a modern car, is the positioning of the air intake. Doesn't sound serious does it? Try driving through more than about 8 inches of water then. The intake sits so low down that the engine sucks in a big lungfull of water and your engine is scrap! I was lucky in that I only had a moderate amount of water go into mine. Two of my colleagues weren't and ended up writing off their engines. On the plus side, SAAB dealerships tend to be miles better than most others (maybe their mechanics get more practice!). Some features I really like include the key position down by the gearstick. To remove the key you have to put the stick in reverse, where it then locks. This is an excellent security feature which should be seriously considered by others. Another excellent feature is the "Night Panel" switch. This basically switches all but the speedometer lights off. The system is intelligent though in that the fuel gauge lights come on when running low, and the tacho lights when giving it some stick! Performance is pretty good for its class. Plenty of power for overtaking and relaxed motorway cruising. Brakes are not the most powerful; adequate would be a fair description. Handling is predictable if a little ponderous. It is a heavy car and feels like it but roadholding is quite good. It feels fine 4 wheel drifting around roundabouts anyway! If you drive hard I think you would find the suspension a bit too soft. Seats are very comfortable, the radio
        is excellent and general layout of the cabin is well thought out. I don't like the big, clunky wiper lever but that may be a personal thing. Similarly I don't like the headlight dip/flash lever working in the same direction. If you only want to flash your lights you are as likely to enagage main beam. If this all sounds a little critical, then I would say in general I have been happy with the car. I won't be getting another because my nearest dealer is 60 miles away. Is it worth 20 odd thousand? Not on your nelly!

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