2003 Saab 9-3 Review | Edmunds.com

2003 Saab 9-3

Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Saab 9-3 Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.0 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 175 hp @ 5500 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 20/29 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2003 Saab 9-3

  • A much improved 9-3 in a category that demands excellence -- whether it's enough remains to be seen.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Sharp handling, frugal yet powerful engines, generous passenger room, class-leading trunk space, excellent audio systems.

  • Cons

    Some turbo lag at lower speeds, not as vaultlike as some of its European competitors, front-wheel drive also a slight disadvantage.

  • What's New for 2003

    The 2003 9-3 is an all-new design from top to bottom. It rides on a new platform, has new engines and an interior that's considerably more modern than the previous version.

Full 2003 Saab 9-3 Review

What's New for 2003

The 2003 9-3 is an all-new design from top to bottom. It rides on a new platform, has new engines and an interior that's considerably more modern than the previous version.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Honest review

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Vehicle: 2003 Saab 9-3 Arc 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M)

I bought this car used with 63k miles on it and haven't regretted it a day since. Knowing the history of these cars however, I made sure I had an independent mechanic familiar with the brand take a look at it before I made an offer (easily worth the $150 dollars). I don't want to put anyone down, but I believe that at least half of the poor reviews this car gets are due to A) Poor maintenance by/no knowledge of previous ownership, or B) Poor maintenance by current owner. Love this car and it will love you back, simple as that. And don't buy a performance (or any other) car without a thorough inspection. Tho people I suppose have been burned by a bad car regardless of their caution I guess

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

First sight fell in love,

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Vehicle: 2003 Saab 9-3 Vector 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M)

At first, I was very hesitant about buying this car because I read many unsatisfying reviews on Saab. However, bought 2003 9-3 vector in Feb 2013 under 6k, looked new inside and out, one owner and no accident. Checked with Saab if the car had any mechanical service done. All the recalls had been taken care of and no other mechanical issues. After 8 months putting over 10k still feels like a new car. But make sure you use premium gas and full synthetic oil. Not using premium grade gas will give you check engine light. But don't panic, it will go away if you put premium. My $6k saab looks better and runs better than brand new camrys or accords .. love this car.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

200,000 and going strong

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Vehicle: 2003 Saab 9-3 Arc 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M)

This is my 2nd Saab and it's just as bullet proof as the first. I picked this ARC with the 6 speed manual because of the motor. They are amazing. I average 27 mpg and 31-33 on the highway. I got the car with 92k on it because I was so comfortable with the drive train and it's not disappointed. I'm just below 200k now and put on over 700 miles this weekend. Sure there are little issues but it's 10 model years old and I paid under $7,000 for it 5 years ago so i can't possibly complain. The rear main seal has a slow leak that the gasket sealers can't quite stop. The gas cap doesn't seal properly so the check engine light is on but all in all, it's been great.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

Used 2003 9-3 convertible

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Vehicle: 2003 Saab 9-3 SE 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 5M)

Bought this car with 89,xxx miles on it, AUTOMATIC I knew it needed a few cosmetic items and tires, but was a value for $4400. Solid car that is fun to drive. The AC blows so cold I had to turn it down on a 90+ degree day. Items are simple to fix like the DIC and fluid for the covnertible top. Lots of parts on eBay and videos on YouTube to help. Is quick and responsive. The Sweeds know nothing of cup holders though. The car will throw trouble codes every day. Buy a scanner when you buy a Saab. Nothing to worry about, most are harmless warnings and can be fixed without huge money. The DIC (coil pack) is the common failure for most codes, new is $500


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Vehicle: 2003 Saab 9-3 Linear 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 5M)

Electrical quirks aside, this car is pretty amazing. I don't think there is a better value for the money. The WORST mpg i have gotten over the past 6 months is 32.5. Best was 36.7. Great handling, leather looks new. Engine is a peach. In 5yrs when i'm done with this one, I fully intend to get the 2008 9-3.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

Great first car

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Vehicle: 2003 Saab 9-3 Arc 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M)

It's a blast to drive. I highly recommend it, however a few words of caution. You're going to have some problems with the electric lock system, but other than that it will perform really well. It's incredibly safe and incredibly reliable. Before you get behind the wheel of this car though, make sure you understand how a turbocharger works and how to mantain one. More importantly know how to drive a car equipped with one, they drive differently than naturally aspirated cars (Cars without turbochargers or superchargers). It's a great first car for your teen. It's my first car, go it used for 5.5 grand with 50k miles on it. It's driven me reliably for the past year. It also looks great.

Talk About The 2003 9-3

2003 Saab 9-3 Discussions See all Started By

The new 9-3 has an interesting new look and an all-new chassis, does anybody think it will be good enough to compete with the 3 Series and Audi's A4?...

I'm looking to buy a new car for myself. I'm looking into the honda civic si and a subaru impreza wrx. My neighbor brought up the fact that she may be selling her 2003 SAAB 9-3. I love the looks of...

Found an All metal radiator for 2004 Saab Model 93 at eBay- ALL METAL Radiator New 2003, 4 , 5 Saab 9-3; No Oring to FAIL autotransmission; item 221555825334...

Read more about the 2003 Saab 9-3

Gas Mileage


  • 20
  • cty
  • 29
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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