Used 2002 Saab 9-3 Hatchback Consumer Reviews
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.
My car has only 54,000 miles and the engine is shot. It fell victim to the "Saab oil sludge problem" that so many other 9-3's and 9-5's from this era have succumbed to (Google "Saab oil sludge" and read all about it). Long story short, Saab admitted the oil sludge accumulation is due to an engine defect, NOT consumer negligence, and they "extended coverage" on '99-'03 9-3's and 9-5's. What they don't tell you is that you're not eligible for coverage unless you can produce oil change receipts for the entire life of the car. So for those, like myself, who bought their car used, you're essentially fresh out of luck. It's either pony up $6000 for a new engine or scrap it for parts.
2002 9-3 SE auto hatch with 125K. Loads of power in a practical package - especially in Sport mode. Best driver's seat ever! Would be a keeper but for constant repairs (antenna mast; squeaky brakes; center exhaust pipe; shocks; CPS; alternator; etc etc) and premium gas! Thank goodness the new engine cassette was a recall! Too bad, I guess they were right when they said SAAB stands for Swedish Auto Always Broken. 2009 Mazda 6 or Accord will take the 9-3's place in the garage. Sushi for herring I guess.