Used 2001 Saab 9-3

2001 Saab 9-3
List price range
2001 Saab 9-3


  • Comfy interior, versatile hatchback model, torquey turbo motor, quirky personality.


  • Controls not always intuitive, offbeat image, severe torque steer in SE and Viggen models.
Saab 9-3 years

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Edmunds' Expert Review

An offbeat alternative to the staid German sedans that dominate the category.

vehicle overview

Despite some shortcomings, we're fond of Saab's uniquely styled coupes and sedans. The base 9-3 comes in three-door coupe and five-door hatchback while the convertible has been dropped for 2001. All come equipped with a powerful 185-horsepower four-cylinder engine. This turbocharged 2.0-liter produces stunning acceleration that can char the front tires into bits if the driver so chooses.

Move up to the even more feature-laden SE five-door or convertible, and you're opting for even more performance. All SEs are powered by a high-output version of the turbo four that spins an amazing 205 horses (that's better than 100 horsepower per liter of displacement!) through either a four-speed automatic or five-speed manual gearbox. Perhaps even more impressive is that in stick-shift models, this motor makes its 209 foot-pounds of torque at an amazingly low 2,200 rpm, and then maintains peak torque all the way up to 4,500 rpm. Talk about a useable power band!

In addition to getting bigger wheels and tires, the uplevel SE also boasts a sportier look with a front chin spoiler, flared rocker panels, a low-slung rear valence, body-colored mirrors, chrome exhaust tip and a sports steering wheel. The SE Convertible models add a rear spoiler, while five-door versions come equipped with a specially tuned sport suspension for more responsive handling. For pure enthusiasts, Saab offers the high-performance 9-3 Viggen. With 230 horsepower and a healthy 258 foot-pounds of torque from its high-output turbo 2.3-liter, the Viggen can be had as a coupe, hatch or ragtop, and either in black, Steel Gray or Laser Red.

All 9-3 models feature Saab's patented pendulum-design B-pillar, which deflects side impacts away from head and chest areas; the world's first head-restraint system to reduce the risk of whiplash-type injuries; and seat-mounted, two-stage inflating head and chest side airbags.

The Saab 9-3 is a fun-to-drive, equipment-laden near-luxury car that competes against entries from Volvo, BMW and Mercedes. While the 9-3 is a good car in its own right, the problem is that there are plenty of good cars in the 9-3's price class. If your tastes run a bit on the eccentric side, however, this car's personality and quirkiness may be a better choice for you than a BMW 3 Series or Mercedes C class. You'll certainly stand out more in the crowd, and have fun doing it.

2001 Highlights

The base convertible has been dropped for this year while all other models get two new colors. The OnStar telematics system and traction control are now standard.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2001 Saab 9-3.

Overall Consumer Rating

Most helpful consumer reviews

A great, unique, fun car.
I have been a Volvo driver since I stared driving and buying cars. This is, in fact, the first non-Volvo I have owned though I have driven dozens of other cars. I can say without hesitation that this is one of the better cars I've driven. The quality and safety are similar or superior to the pre-Ford Volvos. A great if relatively unknown car. I like this car more than I even expected when I bought it. Unique styling adds to the fun in my book.
Love the car
I am the original owner. The car now has 132000 miles on it. Two years ago, in the winter, I drove it ALONE 4545 miles from Charlotte NC to Anchorage Alaska and that includes driving the Alcan Highway and then repeating the journey back home 6 months later. I now have driven it 2768 miles across country to Portland. This car never even "burped". I love this car. If I had any complaint, it would be the SID's pixels going out.
Could be better
going strong after 191000 miles, fun to drive and amazing capacity.The turbocharged engine makes things fun and it is amazing in the snow. Now for the down sides it feels like I am playing wack a mole with all the problems maybe its just the fact it is an old car at this point. I would consider it decently reliable but, the parts feel like there unnecessary expensive compared to cars of the same size. Good car could be better though. if given the decision I would pass considering the company is out of business and there isn't much of a scrap Saab base to scavenge parts.
Great Value, Good Mechanic is Key
Louisville Vicar,02/16/2016
We've had our 2001 Saab 9-3 for 10 years now, and recently thought about saying good-bye. It's worth about $1500 to a private party, but it's way more more car than that! The truth, as I see it is this: If you have a mechanic who knows Saabs, owns the right equipment, and understands how to fix them, you are good-to-go. We are lucky to have Ray and Rich at Auto Works of Knoxville in our area. Ray bought all the right equipment to service Saabs years ago, and customers come from as far as St. Louis, MO to have their Saabs worked on here. Ray and Rich know these cars and keep us up and running. Saabs are Saabs...quirky and sometimes frustrating to own. Ours, we call her "Sadie", will suddenly decided she's going to turn on the check engine light and stay in second gear. The fix is a reset with a code reader. Works great for six months, then she does it again. Then about every two years, she'll just stop running at a stop sign. Suddenly starts idling rough and shuts down. Solution? Rich cleans the throttle body and resets the computer. "The next time, though, the throttle body will need replacement" says he. Ray says we can still keep driving her, he can still get parts, and anticipates he will be able to for years to come. Stellar performance, especially from a car valued at $1500....Oh yeah, we spent $600 last year to fix a tiny, flimsy switch that lets the top go down successfully. You have to be able to cuss in Swedish to get your fingers in the place this thing goes, and the flimsy switch is replaced by another...flimsy switch. But hey, it still works and is fun. "That's cool!" observes our Grandson Sam as he watches the top cycle. It is. We're keeping her.
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Features & Specs

19 city / 26 hwy
Seats 5
5-speed manual
205 hp @ 5500 rpm
19 city / 26 hwy
Seats 5
5-speed manual
185 hp @ 5500 rpm
18 city / 28 hwy
Seats 5
5-speed manual
230 hp @ 5500 rpm
18 city / 28 hwy
Seats 5
5-speed manual
230 hp @ 5500 rpm
See all Used 2001 Saab 9-3 features & specs


IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 2001 Saab 9-3
Used 2001 Saab 9-3 Overview

The Used 2001 Saab 9-3 is offered in the following submodels: 9-3 Viggen, 9-3 Hatchback, 9-3 Convertible. Available styles include SE 4dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 5M), SE 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 5M), 4dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 5M), Viggen 2dr Convertible (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 5M), Viggen 4dr Hatchback (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 5M), Viggen 2dr Hatchback (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 5M), and 2dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 5M).

What's a good price on a Used 2001 Saab 9-3?

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Which used 2001 Saab 9-3s are available in my area?

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Can't find a used 2001 Saab 9-3s you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Saab 9-3 for sale - 9 great deals out of 11 listings starting at $19,326.

Find a used Saab for sale - 7 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $10,594.

Find a used certified pre-owned Saab 9-3 for sale - 4 great deals out of 15 listings starting at $10,603.

Find a used certified pre-owned Saab for sale - 2 great deals out of 21 listings starting at $23,586.

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Should I lease or buy a 2001 Saab 9-3?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Saab lease specials
Check out Saab 9-3 lease specials