I started with saab 10 years ago, bought the 1999 model but has tons of issue. Sold it cheap and I ended up with the 2002 model se at 80K miles. Nowthe car has 120K and had no problems at all. It's all been fun with this car...205 hp and gets 30mpg hwy miles driving 65-70 mph.
So my conclusion to new buyer out there, research the history of the car, if the car has always used synthetic oil and been taken care of well, chances are you'll have a good reliable car...but if anything points out that this car has not been care well then buyer's beware.
NEVER Buy this car if you are going to treat it like a Honda or Toyota. You'll reap what you sow.
Today I hit 120,000 on my Saab. My repairs have totaled less than $1000; brakes, temp gauge sensor, mass airflow sensor. Love: acceleration, fuel economy, handling in snow/ice, cargo room. Dislike: rear passenger room, cupholders, pedal placement (too close together for my clodhoppers). Also dislike having to move the front seats up to fold the rear seats flat.
My wife called it a hunchback, so it is my Steel Gray Hunchback. Was looking around for another car actually, and test drove it, didn't feel right, and the one I wanted was sold. But I saw this one, and it had tint and a built in alarm. I was looking for utility, such as a hatchback to lug things around. 4 doors too. I also required better gas mileage since gas prices were sky rocketing. Also, power with torque to go up hills and turns. Alas, I test drove this 2002 Saab 9-3 SE: has leather seats, and more power than normal. It is a 4cylinder turbo auto, more economical than a 6cyl, with just as much power because of the turbo. Driving it ever since and my wife and I love it.
I purchased my '02 Saab 9-3 used and right out the car lot, it was problem after problem. It started with having to get the front right wheel bearing fixed, then the right headlight went out twice, shortly after I had to get the heating coil fixed (cold air blowing), then the air stopped working. Car stopped 3 months later on the expressway (found out I needed another fuel pump) got it fixed, 3 months later, I had to replace the Starter, left wheel bearing, control arm & ball joints on drivers side, CV Shaft, Spring Coil Sensor for Check Engine light, Brake Pads & Rotors, but the biggest problem is a Starting Issue. The car will randomly NOT start for about 15 minutes. No one knows why:(
The most important selling point for the 9-3 is its personality (i.e, quirkiness). The handling is very good on my new 9-3 SE with excellent steering and lots of power from the turbo 2.0 liter engine(although the secret is to click on the "sport" button which gives added power.) The 9-3 excels in terms of comfort as the Saab seats are outstanding and the controls are easy to see, reach and understand.