2003 Saab 9-3 Sedan Review | Edmunds.com

2003 Saab 9-3 Sedan

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Saab 9-3 Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.0 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 210 hp @ 5500 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 19/28 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.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (80 total reviews)  |  Write a Review

1 of 1 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



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.



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.



8 of 15 people found this review helpful

Last saab i'll buy

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

Pros: 6 Speed manual gives us 37 mpg on hwy at 75 mph. Trunk is a LOT bigger than it looks from the outside. Fun to drive. Cons: Replacing left headlight takes practice (dealer charges $90). Windows regulator is defective(bad design) $450/window. SAI Check valve $180 needs a biannual check. If it fails, condensation floods the SAI Pump $600 (current issue). Check Eng. light only goes out when the bulb burns out. No AUX input for iPod connectivity (had to buy a third party $75).




No more europe for me!

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

Bought this car used in September of 2009 w/ 85K miles, now has 94K (just traded it in). Had to replace all 4 rotors and sets of pads, crankshaft positioning sensor (twice), oil pressure sensor, and the head gasket was blown, this was all after the place I bought it from said it was in tip-top condition. Strut mounts were noisy (known issue), headlights were too dim, vehicle rode like a tank, gas mileage only around 21 - 23 mpg HIGHWAY. I owned this vehicle less than a year. After this and my Audi, I will never buy another European vehicle.




100% mistake

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

This car seems to have spent as much time being fixed as being driven. It is now in the shop for oil leaking from a vacuum pump and a broken bolt that was supposed to hold the sway bar in place. Just replaced the blower motor for the heater two days earlier. In the time we've owned it, we must have gone to the dealership at least 20 times. All I can say is if you ever buy a Saab voluntarily, you have just made the worst mistake in your car buying life.



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.

Talk About The 2003 9-3

Read more about the 2003 Saab 9-3

Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 19
  • cty
/
  • 28
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs