Used 1999 Saab 9-3 Hatchback Consumer Reviews
I bought my 1999 Saab 9-3 in Sept 99 and have never regretted it. Sven the Saab has never left me high and dry (unless the fuel pump or battery died). Super comfy for all riders and far better MPG than listed on the sticker. Easily averaged over 30 mpg on the hwy.
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.
Purchased new and drove it for 10 years and 187,000 miles. I expect it had another 100,000 miles in it. It ended service prematurely after it was rear ended. The vehicle did its job and all occupants walked away with no or very minor injuries. Thanks engineers and assemblers! I'll really miss this car. It did so many things well-a good blend of design, performance, build quality, economy and utility. And it was FUN to drive everyday. Others correctly point out proper routine maintenance is required. It's not necessarily expensive. Like all vehicles Saabs have quirks and some common part failures. To me they were either endearing or minor annoyances. I'm looking for another one.
I have the 4 door standard transmission version. It is a very powerful car for the price I paid and climate control works great. There are a few interior problems though. The pixels on the head unit have virtually faded away so you cant make out the time and radio stations. Not a big deal though. One other problem is that the driver side door lock made a terrible noise when it locks and sometimes wont even lock when it is cold out. The alarm system works great after learning first hand. Overall no major engine or other mechanical problems.
I have had the car about 2.5 years and total of 36,000 miles. Fun to drive, turbo is great! I have the 2 door version, and the trunk area will swallow anything with the seats folded! Repairs are usually happen like clockwork every 10,000 miles on my example but worth the upkeep in enjoyment and uniqueness. I have 124,000 on the odometer now.