1997 Saab 900 Consumer Review: Good memories, mixed feelings

1997 Saab 900 - Consumer Review

Average Consumer Rating

56 Total Reviews

SE 4dr Hatchback (2.0L 4-cyl. Turbo 5-speed Manual)

Build Quality
Reliability Value
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Good memories, mixed feelings
By cactusleaf on


1997 Saab 900 SE Turbo 4dr Hatchback


Mine was a great car when it was around! The turbo's power is really surprising for a 4-cylinder. 5-speed is a must to keep the in-town gas usage down. Brakes are firm and responsive and do their job well. Handling could be better, as it always felt kinda heavy around corners, especially for how fun and sporty the engine is. Mine was getting rusty but lasted until 165k. Engine seized, despite taking care of it. The car was extremely lovable and fun and I still miss it. It's unlike any other car ever, and you have to drive it to really get why. It just feels kinda raw and European. It can start falling apart on you as it ages, especially the interior, but you tend to shrug it off and smile.

Best Features

The engine is this car's best trait. Not the smoothest, but it's designed well. Some lag, but the turbo gives it teeth starting even around 2.5k rpm. (Full disclosure: mine unexpectedly seized at 165k. I had to scrap it. Go figure.) Cargo space is second. I like the fact that it's got zillions of cargo space, some legit luxury features (climate control, heated seats & mirrors), and an efficient performance engine, all in one very unique package. The narrow wheelbase and cabin is nice and quaint, but somehow still seems large up front, probably due to a very low center console. I love that it's relatively rare to pass another one on the road. And the seats are unbeatable on long trips!

Worst Features

It's loud and clunky and not a smooth ride.. but, you know, that's Saab. The clutch is crappy: cable, heavy, kinda long and in need of a clutch-stop. And it seems to get heavier as the cable wears. Compared to the light-as-a-feather hydraulic deal in the classic 900, this one is rubbish. Handling, too: C900? No body roll, sticks to the road. This? Big and unwieldy in comparison. The interior is just odd. The feel is almost pre-cab forward. And it can get super rattly. The sound system is a joke. And despite the hatch, the rear seats don't fold flat, so it could have lots more space if it wanted. Shifter is a bit clunky and rubbery. Heated seats are guaranteed to have given out by now.
Recommend (3) (0)

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