When I first drove this car I was very impressed, there was minimal road noise, smooth refined drive and a beautiful interior. Although this car may not look like much from the outside, it has a well built and logical interior, and feels solid. The seat are very comfortable, but there sin't much space in the back.
So far I haven't had any problems, after owning it for 6 months, it still feels solid, reliable and still quite powerful. Mine is an auto, which makes driving a lot smoother. Sports mode is helpful for over-taking .
The major fault this car suffers with is Fuel Economy, i mainly do urban city driving, and i average about 21 MPG, which is ridiculous for a 2.0L engine(my mates M3 does 24MPG), and on the motorway the most i ever had was 26.5MPG.
Other than that I think this is a superb car, even though my mates cant understand why i bought it, I dont understand why people think its boring, its just refined!!!!!!!!!!!!!! it is quick and relaxing to drive on the motorway, and feels solid.
I would definately buy another 9-3(not the new shape though), maybe a diesel this time.
I owned a 900S 2.0-litre for 10 years and 120,000 miles, bought as an ex-demonstrator - it was very similar to the 9-3 that replaced it, other than being an injection engine rather than a turbo.
It's not the most exciting car to drive, but thoroughly adequate and competent (the 130bhp engine is probably about right for the chassis), and an excellent long-distance cruiser. The seats are superb, far better than all the obvious rivals. Several times I drove over 350 miles non-stop and over 500 miles in a day in this car and stepped out of it feeling relaxed and fresh. Without going to an estate, the carrying capacity is excellent.
It was very reliable - apart from some minor electrics and standard service items, the only things that needed replacing were front dampers, ABS sensors and one of the main belt pulleys. Average fuel consumption was 32mpg for a mixture of motorways, country roads and the odd bit of pottering; gentle driving on A-roads could put that up to 35-38,pg, and the worst I had was 26mpg for town driving in winter.
The car comes thoroughly recommended if you can find a good example. For taller drivers, the earlier 9-3s had less legroom than the 900, though this was remedied in 2001-2002.
Incidentally, I replaced my 900 with a new 9-3 estate, which I kept for six months mainly because I couldn't get on with the seats or the driving position.
I have my 99 T-plate car since July 2005 and, apart from the big 66,000 service that a local Saab specialist did for a reasonable £320, it has not cost me a penny.
I came to this car from and MGF VVC and the difference in drive was obviously quite noticeable, so my first decision was to replace the 15" alloys with a set of 17" ones from a 9-5 Aero - the difference is astonishing, the car handles much better, floats far less over crests and dips in the road and torque steer is reduced. With 154bhp, performance is brisk for such a heavy car but make use of it and the MPG quickly dips into the mid twenties, although mid-thirties is easily achievable on a steady motorway cruise.
Build quality is fine(not quite as good as an M-plate 9000cs I owned a few years back, though this is the way a lot of newer cars are going). Saab are known for high service/parts costs, but this is no different to other prestige brands such as BMW, Audi or even Volvo for that matter.
Overall, I would highly recommend one of these, buy one a few years old for a fraction of the new price and enjoy a safe and individual motor. I think the lower powered turbos make more sense unless you've got money (and tyres!) to burn.
I have owned the car for two years and under warranty had a new turbo, catalytic converter and clutch.
Once all this was sorted, the car drove like a dream. The performance is outstanding but it's a shame the chassis can't cope with the power - it has horrendous torque steer.
I love the car and the leather seats are the best I have ever sat in. The car is well built and I don't want to get rid of it. I have covered 14,000 miles in two years and it's now done 29,000 over all.
It's fuel economy isn't as bad as they say. I return over 31mpg daily and up to 38mpg on a run, so not bad. However, servicing is dear at the main agent.
I love the uniqueness and rarity of the car. Go and buy one!
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