2008 Saab 9-3 Review
Pros & Cons
- Quiet ride, accurate steering, responsive all-wheel-drive system, supportive front seats, available in three body styles.
- Subpar interior materials and build quality, too much body roll on Aero model, ride can be choppy over bumps.
List Price Estimate
$1,424 - $2,835
Used 9-3 for SaleSee all for sale
Edmunds' Expert Review
Most helpful consumer reviews
New Jersey Saab Owner,05/18/2016
2.0T 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
For a weekend driver the Saab price was a bargain. Why spend 40 grand (what this listed for when new) to get that wind in your hair feeling, when you can get a used Saab that has some class to it? Granted it can get expensive, but I do a lot of my own work, brakes, filters, oil, plugs, belts etc. The car itself is solid, tight steering, easy to work on, hugs the road, very quiet for a cloth top, and the 2.0 turbo has plenty of punch. MPG is terrific. The car is a looker, easy to park, gets plenty of comments and you don't see many of them around. The trunk with the top down can hold enough luggage for a long weekend. This is just right if you want a nice looking car gets plenty of attention, and if taken care of the 2008 has good reliability reviews. Since my original post in February I received two recall notices, one for the airbag and another for the seat belt, both of which were repaired by our local dealer. The Saab sat in the garage all winter and was started up every week. I am using synthetic oil, replaced the spark plugs, new battery, put on new brakes, and enjoying the ride. Now the warmer weather is here, it has been driven several times with no issues and look forward to the weekends. I now have 98,000 miles and it still runs like a champ. I has a MR2 which was a good car, but had no trunk or room for storage. The Saab is easier to get into, small enough to park in tight areas, yet big enough to carry a few bags of groceries. The back seat isn't roomy, but is big enough for guests on short notice on a spur of the moment trips. We are very happy with this vehicle it, was inexpensive as a used rag top, you don't see many on the road, we get lots of compliments, great gas mileage, and enough storage for a weekend jaunt for two retired people. The only drawback is you need the OnStar feature for the Bluetooth to work. Since GM no longer services Saab, the buttons are useless. It doesn't affect the performance of the vehicle and isn't a crucial factor for me. Here it is 2018, and the Saab is still running great. A great car for a weekend jaunt, and love the compliments especially with the top down!
2.0T 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
I was in the market for a new car and was looking through all of the usual suspects; BMW, Mercedes, Infinity, Cadillac...blah, blah, blah! I had a very strict amount that I was willing to spend because of kids in college and having to purchase another vehicle for my wife and another for my daughter who gets her license in less than a year. So, while I was looking I happened to come across a couple of used Saab convertibles. I did some research and I could not find one really negative review. That was cool. I then called a trusted Euro Repair shop in my area. We discussed the Saab turbo 4 cylinder engine, reliability. maintenance fees, convertible top reliability - a basic rundown of his experience of this car. His overall input was that it was very reliable, fun and easy to work on car. He stated that if I took care of it and was REALLY methodical about changing the oil every 2.5K miles, it would last a very long time. So, with that I went to go take a look at the car. It was Silver with Black interior and it was in phenomenal shape. 82K miles. Very good maintenance records and it had been taken care of. Car Fax showed everything was clean. Away we went for the test drive! I immediately noticed that the instrument cluster is laid out very logically and easy to read. I absolutely love the ignition being in the center console. It's different! I fire it up, drop it in drive and head out on the test. Tight steering, front wheel drive 'pull' feels different than rear wheel drive 'push', but it bites and performs really well. Quite, low road noise and surprising performance are things that hit me right away. Seats are very firm but comfortable. I approach the freeway and push the pedal down. Wow! Nice! Great acceleration, handling and we quickly reach 85mph in no time and all of this while not even being in 'Sport' mode. I've driven and owned pretty much every import and I am embarrassed to say that I never looked at a Saab before. The fact that the company is no longer around makes me wonder if they would have been a little more Marketing savvy, if they would still be around. Who knows!!?? What I do know is that I love this car. Convertible top works flawlessly, it looks great, it performs incredibly well. Gas mileage is exceptional given the performance. Bang for the buck, I could not have made a better choice. I'm looking forward to many road trips in this awesome ride! Great fun!
2.0T 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
I had never planned on buying a Saab and in fact all I could remember at the time was how ugly the older Saabs looked. A friend of mine had a 2005 Saab 9-3 and the first time I rode in it I was truly surprised. It was far from the hatchback design of the S900 and it was quick and had nice fit and finish. This began my passion for these cars. I have driven a 2005 9-3 2.0T a 2006 9-3 aero, and two different 2008 9-3 2.0T. All the cars I had were great although I did experience less than stellar performance in the Pirelli and Continental tires that they were putting on the cars until 2008 when the TMPS sensor option was included. I have been very pleased with the reliability of all the cars I owned and feel that the 2008 and up Model Years to have the best long term reliability. This is why I went ahead and purchased one after my lease on my first 08 9-3 ended. The overall fuel efficiency of this car is excellent and seems to beat many other makes for the power output that it gives. I worked for VW and Audi and have driven many of their cars and just dont feel that their 2.0T has as much power as the 9-3. Even though the 2.0T for Audi and VW has been rated very high I know internally that there are still issues with oil consumption and slug in models that this engine has been used in, and thats why I would never purchase anything containing their 2.0T. The new styling in 08 really for me was a winner. I had appreciated the older design, but wasnt a fan of all the plastic rubbing strips and trim that was visible on the outside of the car. I was happy to see that the facelift was focused on the outside and left the interior relatively untouched. The only thing that I wish had been standard on the 2.0T is visible sports exhaust, and xenon option. I really enjoy the interior and the only thing I would have like to see is a little less plastic and more leather covered surfaces like on the door handles and the front panel that surrounds the radio and instrument cluster. The leather Ive noticed stays in good condition if you maintain it, however if you dont after about 100,000K the drivers seat gets pretty rough looking. In older VW models that have leather it holds up much better probably due to several seemed portions on the seat bottoms rather than one large piece that tends to get stretched like in the 9-3.
Aero 2dr Convertible (2.8L 6cyl Turbo 6M)
After researching manufacturers such as Audi and BMW, I chose the Saab Aero Convertible. My criteria included 1) fun to drive, 2) performance, 3) curb appeal, 4) amenities, and 5) price. The 2008 Aero Convertible had it all. The 6-speed manual is fun to drive, and performs like a champ. It has a great look, small on the outside, but comfortable on the inside. I love the Xenon lights and the Bose Stereo. 2008 was the right price point. And this vehicle, steel gray with black top, had been meticulously maintained, with only minor wear noted. The key fob is also really cool. Although the interior materials may not be up to others, it is not worthy of the criticims.