I wrote a review below in 2007. Since then, i have had to do only the water pump, which started leaking only after i power flushed the coolant. Really can't believe how solidly this car was built. I also have the auto and wish i had a stick shift. And my car was a NYC car for the first 50K of it's life. But these cars were built for cold weather... overbuilt really. Anyone who has not seen the Top Gear Saab Tribute from a few months ago should head over to Youtube right now. Saab really did build a better car.. a car to last for decades. It's a dam shame what happened to them. Their attention to every detail, the quality of construction, and pride in engineering are inspiring.
With a few miles short of 270,000 I can safely say this is the best car I have ever owned. I bought this Saab new and have driven it 80-85% highway. Highway mileage driving at 75+ MPH is 28/29, well beyond original rating. I have put tires on it every 60-80K, oil every 5-6K, and exhaust systems every 70-90K. Beyond these, only a fuel pump and two clutches and scheduled maintenance. The best and still running like a top.
This has been one of the best cars that I've ever owned. Heavy enough to be safe on highways, steady enough to not even bounce when side-swiped, reasonable on fuel and the hatch back has been indispensable. I've loved this car. The 1st transmission failed at 49K, but it was replaced (free) with a re-built and we've had no problems. The gasket heads got a little leaky last year but we've got everything under control. I've made a few major repairs thru Saab which is costly but we wanted to be sure we weren't using poor replacement parts. We finished all minor repairs and tune ups at a good local service garage.
I actually have the automatic, which I bought in the name of practicality because I live in Los Angeles and I sit in hours of traffic every week -- but since buying the car, I half-wish I had a stick because this car is so much fun to drive. Originally from MA, the car's undercarriage rusted significantly before I bought it, which has caused a dearth of minor(ish) problems. Though, in the car's defense, none that you wouldn't expect to see on a 17-year-old vehicle with mostly original equipment. I have taken it from 82K miles a couple of years ago to about 107K today without any major repairs. Build quality, especially where the interior is concerned, is a bit lacking.