I purchased this 1990 Saab S in '95 - and I'm still driving it because I can't think of a good reason to sell it. Yes, it does require the regular maintenance issues be dealt with, but even if that's say $1K per year, its waaay less expensive than owning a new car -- plus its a blast to drive. The only items that don't work are the air conditioner and setting the speed. But we don'd really need air around here and I like the feel of driving -- as opposed to sitting in a living room on auto pilot. I did have to put a new hood liner in it too. And there were a few mechanical and electrical issues that have occurred, but with a good mechanic who really knows Saabs, its kind of a no brainer -- change the oil regularly, give it basic, yearly TLC and your'e good to go! I guess I'll be driving this car until it dies under me -- or unless I get an offer I just can't refuse. I never have trouble finding it in a parking lot either. GREAT looking car -- fun to drive. Good gas mileage. Fair cost to keep it on the road and purring. What more can I ask for?
Original owner of basic 900 5 speed. Car has great utility, execellent accurate steering and is a quality car. It is very comfortable and fun to drive. Mine is a non turbo so not much power but it is smooth. Other than a head gasket and changing the AC over not much trouble. 138,000 miles. Fairchild in Bellingham has taken care of it at reasonable prices. Still love it and can't find any car with it's attributes I like.
Cargo space. Accurate steering. Individual style and reliability.
Mine was a 1989, but 1990 was as far back as Edmunds goes! So, my 900S hatchback was the best car I'd ever owned. It was a rustbox.. it spent its life in New England and Syracuse, NY, so road salt had its way with it. But despite the body rot, this thing was a trooper. It never left me stranded, it never leaked oil (until the very end), and all I ever had to do was brakes and exhaust. Can't beat it in the snow, and for quick maneuvers. It has a strange interior, but so damn comfortable. Everything is in its place, and your hands just go where they need to. The clutch is so forgiving, the transmission a tank, and the handling quite solid. It feels like no other car.. so very endearing.
My favorite thing is the way it feels to sit in and drive. It has this little European feel to it that can't be explained. You feel so unbelievably connected to the road. It is kinda bumpy and clunky, but the feedback you feel from the wheel and the clutch and your butt in the seat is unparalleled. Zero degrees of separation, and very responsive pedals. Of course, part of that is the relatively uninsulated cabin, which makes for a raw, loud, sometimes cold or hot ride, but the feeling makes up for it. I also love the loads of space. With the rear seats folded flat, it's like a damn flatbed truck. Two people could sleep in back. Such utility. And looks! Best hatchback ever designed, period.
It doesn't have much torque. I wish I had the turbo (which is insanely fun to drive). At least the transmission kinda makes up for the lack of horsepower. I had the manual, which was geared well for some extra bite in low RPMs, but even the 3-speed auto, while inexplicably weird, does a good job of being punchy. The Clarion sound system is pretty terrible. The A/C seems to be prone to breaking, but mine was fine as I'm sure it had been fixed in the past (it had been converted to 134a). The interior is hilariously loud. The ride is raw and bumpy. It does feel like a roll-cage around you though, like a tank, and it does well in collisions, but it could be less utilitarian. Headliner sucks!
If you get a good one, these things will go to 300,000 with no probs, if you get a neglected example, get ready for some huge bills! The mechanics under the hood are hard to work on, the engine is rare, and few repair shops will accept them. But Walmart changes the oil for a good price.
The exhaust note, full convertible experience (no roll bars like VW Golf), 30 mpg and very comfortable seats. Pretty reliable too, if you service it properly.
The 3 sp auto box couple to the turbo engine is very weak, and blunts performance. The 5 speed is much better, but requires an oil change every year! If this is not done, metal swarf will destroy it. Check the turbo carefully- it is a 2K fix, it will make a whizzz noise+blue smoke if it is going.
Bought the 900 "S" at 17 years old - with 130K miles. It's been a sports car, I keep it waxed and the leather seats supple. Beautiful ride, fun, and 35 miles per gallon - the GW Bush target for 2020!. It cost me $100 U.S.D. and I will continue to upgrade it when things break (clutch, etc.). Far better savings than buying new and losing thousands driving off the lot. JDW
Handling is superb, it tracks straight with a pair of Michelins.
Keep the used parts available - there are plenty of owners looking for parts.