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2003 Saab 9-3, any good?

Discussion in 'General Automotive Discussion' started by masterflex164, Aug 22, 2007.

  1. masterflex164

    masterflex164 Formula Junior

    Oct 17, 2004
    616
    New England
    My relative is looking to get rid of his aging 94 altima, and wants to get a nice sports sedan. Maybe something like a 3 series, or a C class, with ONLY a stick. He's looking to pay up to around 10-11,000$, and wants something that's in good condition.

    Now to the Saab...
    Anyone have experiences with them? We found a 2003 Saab 9-3 in a gold-greyish kind-of color and it was a stick. It has a 2.0 turbo. It has 38k on it, and looked fairly good (no dents or scratches). We didn't test-drive it yet because they were closed when we looked at it. The kbb value on it is around $14k to $17k, but the dealer is only asking 9,995$. The dealer that I saw it at, usually sells insurance repos, flood cars, and accident cars, but they insist its an accident free car. Is the car a reliable car to buy? Any problems with them? Around looking around the net, turns out the car has a lot of electrical issues with its "all in one" infotainment system and that it has terrible reliability, and loves to be at the dealers getting fixed, but a lot people also praise it. What do my fellow F-chatters think about the car? Take it or not? What should we look out for? Most of the used 9-3s, I've seen are 2003s [1st year], so does that mean they're the most problem prone?

    I've been pushing him away from it because it's a GM product, and the early 2000s, were where they went downhill REAL fast. I look at the car as a glorified Chevy Malibu that looks nicer, and handles soo much better.

    Whats everyone's opinion on the car? I'm insisting that he get a 3 series or a C class, but he's really liking the Saab. Can he find a E46 3 series in his price range? or is he better of with some car that has Toyhondabaru reliability?
     
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  3. wax

    wax Four Time F1 World Champ
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    Jul 20, 2003
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    Dirty Harry
  4. Korr

    Korr F1 World Champ
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    Dec 7, 2003
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    J3L2404
    It's junk that's to be avoided.
     
  5. 250californiafan

    250californiafan Formula 3
    Rossa Subscribed

    Sep 26, 2006
    1,765
    Shawnee, KS
    Full Name:
    Kevin
    Here is my story of our bad experience with Saab.
    Our Family bought a 2000 Saab 9-5 (GM owned at the time) new. After about a year and a half (20,000 miles) of problem free ownership things went way downhill. The car was unreliable and the dealership support was a joke. Mechanical problems were constant and repetitive and very expensive to repair. At about 50,000 miles the clutch went, and had to be replaced. Around the same time the interior was starting to wear badly, and the pixels in the "infotainment center" went making it near impossible to read the temperature on the climate control and the radio. On multiple occasions the car would not start and we had to have it towed to the dealership. On one occasion the wheel actually came off. One of the worst parts of the ownership was the dealership. When we went into pickup the car after being serviced I noticed that the lower part of the front bumper was cracked. We spoke to the service manager who refused to do anything, as he assured us that none of his people did it. At that point we should have switched dealerships but we didn't because the nearest dealership besides this one was almost 35 miles away. A few months later when the car was towed to the dealership due to the problem with the wheel was when the dealership treated us worst. As I left the dealership I noticed that the check engine light was on, so I turned around and went back to the dealership. I asked them why they would let the car leave the dealership with the check engine light on, especially as it was not on when the car arrived at the dealership. There response was that they do that all the time as nothing seemed to be wrong. (isn't that assuring) After talking to to several people the dealership reluctantly ran a diagnostics program to find out that it was a missing gascap. At that point the service manager commented that he was not surprised that the engine light was on as our car was a piece of ****. When he said that he was reffering specifically our car as it had some dents and scratches and needed to be washed (in all fairness the car was brought to a train-station everyday were people would bump in to it). I then got into the car and called my father to tell him about how the dealership was treating me, at which point the salesman tries to grab away the phone to try to explain what happened, which I thought was extremely rude. He said someone must have broken into the lot and stolen the gascap. I explained how that was not possible as the fuel door can only be opened by pressing a button on the interior. They then put in a new gascap and tried acting like they were gods for helping me. We ended up selling the car recently with 75,000 miles on it after many more problems.
    I admit it was a fun car to drive, but the problems and the poor service and horrible depreciation soured the whole ownership experience. If your friend can do car work on his own or has a cheap source of parts and does not mind having a car that needs a lot of attention, he should go for the car. If he does not he should stay far away.

    Looking at the other choices that you listed I would say to go with the 3-series BMW. Our Family also had a E46 BMW and it was reliable and a blast to drive. The manual transmission on that car is wonderful and better than the Saabs and more sporty than the one on my Mustang. Our BMW had 190,000 miles on it before we sold it.
     
  6. DMC

    DMC Formula 3

    Nov 15, 2002
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    Dean
    Verdict on the 9-3's is to stay away from the 2003's. They had some early build issues that were fixed by 2004. Some tend to be a little quirky, but they are pretty solid cars 2004 and up. I'm thinking about a 9-3 or 9-5 for my next commuter car. I would not buy an '03.
     
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  8. TrentS

    TrentS Formula Junior

    Nov 22, 2005
    783
    South Florida
    Forget Saab... They were great cars UNTIL GM bought the company, now they're just POS rebadged Opels.
     
  9. masterflex164

    masterflex164 Formula Junior

    Oct 17, 2004
    616
    New England
    thanks for the replies everyone, anymore sugestions?
     
  10. DMC

    DMC Formula 3

    Nov 15, 2002
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    Dean
    You could try to steer him towards an Acura, but those are just Hondas that look nicer and handle better. :p
     
  11. ParhamK

    ParhamK Formula Junior

    Nov 14, 2005
    523
    Sweden, Uppsala
    Full Name:
    Parham K.
    Dont do it...I see them broken down all the time. Depreciation is a major factor, and 10k is way too much.

    Greetings from Saab/Volvo land.
     
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  13. masterflex164

    masterflex164 Formula Junior

    Oct 17, 2004
    616
    New England
    Whenever I show him something that shows that the Saab sucks, he gets all mad at me. lol

    I think I should show him this thread :D, except he won't believe me because he thinks that all European cars are good, and since Saab is made in Sweden [even though, its owned by GM], it's a good car. Does that make a Vauxhall or an Opel good also because its made in Europe?
     
  14. wax

    wax Four Time F1 World Champ
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    Jul 20, 2003
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    Dirty Harry
    I think I understand his frustration, and respectfully so, as well. He's your Father, after all, just as mine is, well, mine. Nevertheless; IMHO, the only Saabs worth having are those built between 1989 and 1991 - specifically, the Saab SPG. We're not here to lead him astray, rather, to save him frustration, borne of experience.

    If you wish to investigate just how often problems arise with the 9.3 -

    62 Viewing 150,610 Posts on 14,254 Threads in the Saab 9-3 Sports Saloon/Sedan, Combi & Convertible Workshop is far too many.

    Those numbers aside, take note of how many recent workshop posts/threads there are on Saab Central for a model which has only been around since it was (accidentally) released (like a Killer Bee) in 2002.
    http://www.saabcentral.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=11

    There's a lot of guys here who will vouch for one BMW or another, for good reason.
     
  15. masterflex164

    masterflex164 Formula Junior

    Oct 17, 2004
    616
    New England
    my father? my cousin wants to get this car...
     
  16. DMC

    DMC Formula 3

    Nov 15, 2002
    2,360
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    Dean
    Only? The car has been around for 5 years.

    If you look at the threads in the "workshop", there are:

    "Will 19"x8 wheels mess up my ride?"
    "Has anyone seen a nicer color than the Chili Red? "
    "Poll: Bootlip Spoiler (pics) "

    The Workshop is a catch-all for threads. I don't think you can glean any information from the number of them. Just like any other cars these days, a lot of people have good experiences with them, and some do not. (see the Mercedes-Benz "Death of a brand?" thread in Silver Subscribed)
     
  17. wax

    wax Four Time F1 World Champ
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    Muahaha! I extracted that information pretty sneakily, aye?
     
  18. Evolved

    Evolved F1 Veteran

    Nov 5, 2003
    8,206
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Just get the lexus IS250 AWD or IS350 and call it a day.
     

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