1999 Saab 9-3 Consumer Review: Bought new; now 11 years old

1999 Saab 9-3 - Consumer Review

Average Consumer Rating

90 Total Reviews

Base 4dr Hatchback (2.0L 4-cyl. Turbo 5-speed Manual)

Build Quality
Reliability Value
11 of 12 people found this review helpful
Bought new; now 11 years old
By john on


1999 Saab 9-3 Turbo 4dr Hatchback


Car requires capable mechanic - not most reliable on the road after 50K. Ignition cassette crapped out at 70K ($600 for T5), seals blew at 80K ($1800.00). I'm at 88K miles today. However, gobs of fun to drive (w/5 speed). I've installed many handling fixes (1999 base version I thought was poor) and it's great fun now. I recently drove 2007 BMW 328i wagon, 2010 MINI Clubman, 2010 Audi A3, 2010 Jetta Sportwagen, and 2011 VW GTI and decided to keep 'Helga'. None improved on the room, comfort or dramatically in handling to my old SAAB - so what if $2K yearly on repairs?; it's still cheaper than buying/leasing $25-$36K cars above. An enigmatic car, right for me.

Best Features

Superb seats (SAAB should make office furniture), composed highway ride (never stiff or tired after long ride), mileage 29 mpg/22 mpg (avg. 24 mpg), spirited handing (only after $3K in handling fixes over the years), cavernous hatchback, reputation for safety, looks different than anything else

Worst Features

Turbo lag (helped w/ performance air filter and performance blow-off valve), handling & torque steer (added sport suspension, steering rack & brace and poly bushings all around fixed issues), lousy base (cassette in '99-ugh!) stereo. Bridgestone RE960's are perfect tires for this car when needed.
Recommend (11) (1)

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