Used 2006 Saab 9-3
- Handles well for a front-drive car, frugal yet powerful engines, generous passenger room, class-leading trunk space, excellent crash test scores.
- Suspension should be stiffer on Aero models, ride can be harsh over bumps, interiors lack upscale look and feel, V6's turbo lag.
Used 2006 Saab 9-3 for Sale
Edmunds' Expert Review
Roomy and fun to drive, the 2006 Saab 9-3 is a solid buy among entry-level luxury cars. Just don't expect the razor-sharp reflexes and highly refined interiors of its German and Japanese competitors.
The 9-3 is one of a long line of small sedans and coupes from Saab. Although Saab has sold cars in the U.S. since the late '50s, it wasn't until the debut of the 900 in 1979 that mainstream car buyers really became aware of the Swedish carmaker. Sales grew throughout the '80s, as the 900's unusual styling and turbo power plants made it an offbeat alternative to the typically staid offerings from Germany. The original 900 enjoyed a long production run of nearly 15 years until it was finally replaced by an all-new version in 1994.
For the 1999 model year, the 900 became the Saab 9-3. Along with the name change came upgrades to the suspension, steering and interior furnishings, as well as a minor exterior freshening. This was also the year that GM took full ownership of the company. Minor enhancements over the next several years kept the Saab 9-3 fresh, but stiff competition in the entry-luxury segment called for an all-new design. The sedan got a roof-to-rubber makeover in 2003, and the convertible followed suit in 2004. For 2006, a wagon called the SportCombi joins the ranks.
Even though Saab's signature hatchback body style is gone, the 9-3 is still easily identifiable as a Saab car because of its familiar body lines to its aircraft-inspired cockpit. The tradition continues under the hood where the 9-3 relies on two turbocharged engines for motivation. There's a base 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder that makes 210 hp and a more muscular 2.8-liter, turbocharged V6 capable of 250 hp. Power is sent through the front wheels, but improved steering system design all but erases the torque steer that plagued previous models. When compared to the competition, the Saab 9-3 stacks up favorably as one of the better-handling front-wheel-drive cars on the market. With the arrival of the SportCombi this year, the 9-3's agile handling characteristics may now be enjoyed in a practical sedan, a utility-packed wagon, or a top-down weekend cruiser. The brakes on all three are powerful, and the steering is quick and responsive in the turns. The base turbo feels more powerful than its 210-horsepower rating would suggest, and the 2.8-liter boasts even greater athleticism.
On the inside, the Saab 9-3 offers a modern-looking design and plenty of high-tech features, including a rollover protection system in the convertible. The sedan and SportCombi wagon offer more passenger space than the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4, while the trunk is one of the biggest in its class. There's no doubt that the new turbo V6 provides a welcome boost to the 9-3 range, which was previously at a bit of a disadvantage against German and Japanese competitors. Whichever body style you choose, the 2006 Saab 9-3 is a distinctive alternative, with enough performance, style and practicality to keep all the smart money from leaning toward a 3 Series and A4.
2006 Saab 9-3 configurations
The Saab 9-3 is available in sedan, wagon (called the SportCombi) and convertible body styles, all of which come in 2.0T and Aero trim. The 2.0T trim offers full leather seating, a 150-watt stereo, keyless entry, stability control, an eight-way power driver seat, dual-zone automatic climate control and 16-inch alloy wheels. The sporty Aero model adds bolstered sport seats, chrome instrument surrounds and interior trim, a lower body kit, a lowered sport suspension, a 300-watt stereo and 17-inch alloy wheels. Convertibles come with a fully automatic power top. Options across both trims include seat heaters, bi-HID headlights and a DVD-based navigation system.
Performance & mpg
Two engines are available on the Saab 9-3. Standard on 2.0T models is a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four that makes 210 hp and 221 lb-ft of torque. Aero models get a 2.8-liter turbocharged V6 capable of 250 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. All 2.0T models get a standard five-speed manual gearbox, while Aeros get a six-speed manual. A five-speed automatic with manual-shift capability is optional on 2.0Ts, while Aeros are eligible for a six-speed automatic.
The Saab 9-3 features active head restraints and seat-mounted side torso airbags. The sedan and SportCombi wagon come with full-length side curtain airbags, while convertibles get a rollover protection system that integrates pop-up roll bars, reinforced A-pillars and the front seatbelt pre-tensioners. Four-wheel antilock disc brakes, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and traction and stability control are standard on all models. The Saab car was named a "Best Pick" in frontal-offset and side-impact crash tests conducted by the IIHS.
The 2006 Saab 9-3 is one of the better-handling front-drive cars on the road. A stiff chassis translates into a car that's easy to place in the corners and satisfyingly precise on the highway. Still, we wish the sporty Aero model felt a little sharper when driven aggressively on twisty roads. Both engines deliver a strong pull throughout their power band. The V6 is especially impressive, though it does suffer from turbo lag at low rpm. The automatics downshift quickly but can be slow on upshifts, while the manual transmissions shift just fine but tend to feel rubbery through the gates.
Some climate and stereo controls can be difficult to operate, but a standard "profiler" system allows drivers to program a host of individual settings that can be recalled at the press of a button. The sedan and the wagon are sufficiently roomy, but legroom can be tight for adults seated in the back of the convertible. The Saab 9-3 can carry more than most cars in its class; it offers 15 cubic feet of trunk space in the sedan and 12.4 cubes in the convertible. The wagon offers 14.8 cubic feet of storage space with the backseat up, and 45 cubic feet with the 60/40-split rear bench seat folded flat.
Most helpful consumer reviews
Features & Specs
More About This Model
Saab is controversial.
Whether talking to loyalists who are angry about the "Saabaru" 9-2X or the Trailblazer-based 9-7X, or critics who think the whole brand should be scrapped given GM's current financial woes — there's plenty of angst surrounding the marque.
Drop the top of a 2006 Saab 9-3 Aero convertible and the controversy ends. Through the ups and downs of the automaker's recent past stood the convertible, first the 900 then the 9-3. While GM slashes prices on virtually every one of its products, the Saab 9-3 convertible keeps winning conquest buyers, capturing the imagination of people who wouldn't otherwise walk into a Saab dealership.
This year Saab marks the 20th anniversary of its ragtop by bestowing the 9-3 Aero convertible with a few minor refreshments and a new, more powerful turbo V6.
Special anniversary edition
To mark the occasion, GM is putting out a small number of a special 20th-anniversary-edition 9-3 Aero convertible, distinguished by its limited-edition Electric Blue Metallic paint and commemorative markings. It has a sticker price of $44,615.
A 2006 9-3 Aero with the new V6 is also available, starting at $41,900. The base 9-3 convertible starts at $36,500, but comes with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder.
Power to the people
The star of the show is the Aero's new 2.8-liter turbocharged V6, which delivers 250 horsepower and a maximum of 258 pound-feet of torque to the convertible's front wheels. According to Saab, this little beauty gets you up to 60 in less than 7 seconds (zero to 62 mph is measured at 6.9 seconds) but still delivers up to 28 miles per gallon on the highway. A similar engine is available in the 9-3 sedan and SportCombi wagon, powering what Saab claims are the quickest production cars it has ever made.
The low-end availability of torque shines on the convertible, getting you jumping on any grade, including the gorgeous but trying hills of Santa Barbara, California, the site of our test-drive. Saab claims 90 percent of maximum torque is achieved at 1,500 rpm, a low number for most engines out there made somewhat more impressive given the need for the turbo to kick in virtually lag-free to achieve this mark.
There's still a six-speed manual transmission that comes standard, but our sample was fitted with the optional six-speed automatic, complete with manual sport-shifting mode. With six gears to choose from, the car was always present with power when you needed it as the hill creeps steeper, the curve ends or the merge lane narrows. Performance was predictably smooth and quiet as well.
The complete experience
While there isn't much new on the 2006 convertible, handling, appearance, entertainment and comfort all remain just as strong or stronger than in previous models. And considering how much pressure Saab is under to remove cost from its products, that's actually a high compliment.
What makes the Saab such an enjoyable vehicle is the ease of its use. The suspension, consisting of a front MacPherson/back independent four-link, is buttery smooth — maybe even a bit softer than performance drivers might like, but no doubt comforting to the novice.
The chassis is stiff. There's power to spare. The styling is simple and inoffensive. While you could find a faster, more luxurious or better-looking ride, the Saab offers a generous helping in all major categories, making it a smart choice for those looking to break away from the pack.
Perhaps most impressive is the ride in the rear-passenger seats. Typically, automakers toss a couple seats behind the front row as little more than a joke to either lower your insurance rate or create some space for your golf bag. In the Saab, however, these spaces are big enough to be usable seats where passengers can comfortably enjoy the panoramic views of the highway in relative comfort.
Another surprise is the performance and design of the automatic soft top, which feels more like a hardtop when raised. The inside gives the appearance of a normal sedan cabin and dampens out virtually all expected road or car noise — a significant advantage over other soft tops.
One of the perks of the convertible, which is assembled in Austria, is that it remains a quirky Saab for reasons beyond the ignition on the floor or the grid-style air vents. It's got a wacky cupholder that pops out of the front dash. Its interior design is still decidedly minimalist, as the Swedes often prefer.
But just as we alluded to before, the day is coming where GM will go too far. The little things are already starting to disappear as the GM-supplied stereos, key fobs and the GM badge itself work their way into the mix.
For the time being, however, the Saab 9-3 convertible remains a profit center and a fun one at that. So after 20 years, it remains a unique product unlike any other. And these days, that's high praise.
Used 2006 Saab 9-3 Overview
The Used 2006 Saab 9-3 is offered in the following submodels: 9-3 Sedan, 9-3 Convertible, 9-3 Wagon. Available styles include 2.0T 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 5M), 2.0T 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 5M), Aero 4dr Sedan (2.8L 6cyl Turbo 6M), Aero 2dr Convertible (2.8L 6cyl Turbo 6M), 2.0T SportCombi 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 5M), and Aero SportCombi 4dr Wagon (2.8L 6cyl Turbo 6M).
What's a good price on a Used 2006 Saab 9-3?
Save up to $181 on one of 5 Used 2006 Saab 9-3 for sale at dealerships within 25 miles of Ashburn, VA with prices as low as $3,490 as of12/10/2018, based on data from dealers and consumer-driven dealer ratings ranging from4.9 to 4.9 out of 5 stars.
Price comparisons for Used 2006 Saab 9-3 trim styles:
- The Used 2006 Saab 9-3 2.0T is priced between $3,490 and$4,000 with odometer readings between 104842 and137350 miles.
- The Used 2006 Saab 9-3 Aero is priced between $5,990 and$6,590 with odometer readings between 82394 and119713 miles.
Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.
Which used 2006 Saab 9-3s are available in my area?
Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2006 Saab 9-3 for sale near. There are currently 5 used and CPO 2006 9-3s listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $3,490 and mileage as low as 82394 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the Carfax and Autocheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2006 Saab 9-3. Then select Edmunds special offers, perks, deals, and incentives to contact the dealer of your choice and save up to $181 on a used or CPO 2006 9-3 available from a dealership near you.
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Should I lease or buy a 2006 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.