I bought this car recently for £13999 at 11000 miles on an 06 plate. The price was very competitive against the competition. My previous car was a 9-5 2.2 tid Vector estate and the improvement is significant. I thought the 9-5 excellent, sure of foot and economical for such a large car. It never let me down and was relaxing to drive over long distances. The 9-3 has all of these virtues plus greatly improved economy, very taut handling and a surprisingly spightly performance from only 120bhp. The only downside is that I miss the low speed torque of the 2.2 which was extraordinary. I have driven a 150bhp 9-3 and in normal driving could not see much difference. Some reviewers complain of the interior quality but I think it is good enough and to get the comparible BMW or Audi I would have had to part with at least another £3k. Not worth it in my view. I strongly recommend this car.
Bought new in June 2006 I have now covered 15000 miles. After about 2000 miles an annoying buzz started in the engine at between 1200 and 1700 rpm under a light load. This was diagnosed variously by the main dealer as "the air-box", the "injectors" and then "faulty valve guides". These were replaced twice (since initially incorrect parts were fitted, but the noise persisted. In desperation I insisted on a visit from a Saab field engineer, who drove the car and admitted there was a noise which he had not heard before, but which he subsequently insists is "characteristic of the model". It is not a noise I heard when initially test-driving the model, nor with other examples tried subsequently. Saab however say there is nothing they can, or will, do to try rectification. They have ignored my comment that if the injection system is to blame, this could account for a short period of three-cylinder running when cold.
Are there any other owners with this problem? And if so, what can be done?
I've had this car for four weeks now. I got a good 10% discount, along with anniversary options (sat-nav, Bluetooth phone system, leather, voice control system, body colour handles) which make this a lot of car for the price. Also included rwas ear privacy glass and heated seats, all for £22,000. So for equipment value for money this is a great deal. The same specification on a BMW would cost over £32,000. So you get lots of toys for your money.
As mentioned by others, the car has a cheap feel to some of the plastic fittings. The Bluetooth system cannot read the phone book on my phone (Nokia N73)! My Saab dealer says this is a compatibility issue, so I have to manually set all my contacts via the voice system. After further checks on the internet I've found out that this is a major issue for Saab's system. Check your phone first (phone book) if buying. Also, the sat-nav system doesn't allow postcode searches. Rear seat leg room is limited, too.
For the exterior, the looks are pretty good, but the 'ice block' rear lights are 'chavvy' looking. The rear privacy glass is not as private as I wanted, too - my previous Lexus was better.
For driving, the position seems very comfortable, and all round visibility is really good. The performance is very good, especially in 30-70mph range. Handling is good, although I do not drive my cars very hard. It has good fuel economy. The car isn't smooth in the 0-20mph range, though. It can seem rough and clunky at low speeds.
This is my third 9-3, the previous being a 2.2 TiD and 150 Linear (both diesels), both saloons. The 150 diesel was much better - quicker, quieter and better finished. Both were bought as ex-demonstraters with 4-100000 miles recorded.
Neither had any of the faults recorded by other correspondents, but only suffered v. minor faults e.g. a loose sill panel fixed in five minutes without an appointment. I have had a Sportwagon 1.9 Tid Linear for two months. I cover 25000 miles a year so reliabilty and running costs are important.
The car had covered 4000 miles when purchesed and had been used by the garage accountant. Perhaps this is a good way to eradicate any faults?
Build quality seems much better and the car is quieter and rides very well. Is this because it is on the standard wheels (15 inch) and tyres and no sports suspension? I agree with other contributors that the quality of the interior plastics is poor, and not up to the obvious competition.
Fuel consumption was 42-44mpg with the 2.2 engine and 48-52mpg with the 150 diesel. The sportwagon so far is 44-48 mpg.
Only other complaints are a lack of under-thigh support on the drivers seat, and the passenger seat should be height adjustable as it is too low for some passengers. My car has the uprated audio which is fine, so I can't comment on the standard system. All in all excellent value and a good drive for the money - thousands less than the competion.
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