Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP), also known as "sticker" price, is a recommended selling price that automakers give a new car that is above the invoice price paid by the dealer. It is a price that does not include any options that can be added to a particular car style. When shown as a range, the prices are starting MSRPs, without options, for multiple styles for that model.
This price range reflects the Kelley Blue Book Suggested Retail value for all trim levels, but not necessarily all available options.
The Kelley Blue Book Suggested Retail value represents the amount an auto dealer might ask for a specific vehicle; the actual sale price will vary. A vehicle's popularity, condition, warranty, color and local market conditions are factors involved in determining a final price. The retail value is not a trade-in or private party value.
The Suggested Retail value assumes that the vehicle has been fully reconditioned and has a clean title history. The Suggested Retail value also allows for advertising, sales commissions, insurance and other costs of doing business as a dealer. Most vehicles offered at this price have passed an inspection, and some may carry a warranty. Vehicle mileage is assumed to be normal or below normal.
Best Bets get above-average mpg, class-average or better reliability, class-average or better crash-test ratings, and our recommendation.
Expert Reviews 1 of 2
By Jim Flammang
February 8, 2005
Vehicle Overview The 2003 redesign of Saab's compact 9-3 transformed it into a premium sport sedan with a long wheelbase and a wide track, which promised improved handling. For 2004, a sporty new Aero model replaced the Vector.
A redesigned 9-3 convertible, available in Arc and Aero forms, arrived for 2004. A navigation system joins the options list for 2005, and a 175-horsepower Linear edition of the convertible is now available. (Skip to details on the: 9-3 Convertible)
The base-model Linear, luxurious Arc and sporty Aero editions get a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 175 hp in the Linear sedan and 210 hp in the other models. Linear models have leather-appointed upholstery and 16-inch alloy wheels. In addition to a more potent engine, the Arc is equipped with fog lights and automatic climate control. For a sporty flair, the Aero features performance tires on 17-inch alloy wheels, a lowered chassis, sport suspension and sunroof.
Only Canadian Aero models come with a standard six-speed-manual gearbox; Aeros bound for other countries come with a standard five-speed manual. Competitors include the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series and Volvo S60.
Exterior Styling features include a coupelike silhouette, an integrated grille and headlights, short front and rear overhangs, and a steeply raked windshield and back window. The automaker says negative wheel camber reinforces the 9-3's sporty stance and wedgelike profile. With its low 0.28 coefficient of drag, the 9-3's aerodynamics are appealing. Low lift forces at the rear axle should improve high-speed stability.
Interior The 9-3 sedan accommodates up to five occupants and has a 60/40-split folding rear seat. According to Saab, the instrument panel "arcs around the driver." The gauges light up in green, and buyers can specify a Night Panel that suppresses most instruments. Wood interior trim is optional in Arc models. The trunk holds 15 cubic feet of cargo.
Under the Hood Two turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinders are available. Linear models, which are badged 2.0t, get a 175-hp engine, while 2.0T signifies Arc and Aero models with the 210-hp power plant. A five-speed-manual gearbox is standard, and a five-speed-automatic transmission that offers manual gear selection may be installed.
Safety Dual-stage front airbags, seat-mounted side-impact airbags, side curtain-type airbags and Active Head Restraints are installed. Convertibles get side-impact airbag head extensions in place of side-curtain airbags. Standard equipment includes Saab's Electronic Stability Program stability system, Cornering Brake Control, all-disc antilock brakes and electronic brake-force distribution.
Driving Impressions Saab promotes the sportiness of its 9-3 sedan, and the claim is valid. In tight, quick maneuvers, the 9-3 holds its own easily against the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series. Though it is stable and confident on the road and easy to drive in town, the 9-3 doesn't have the same overall sporty feel of some rivals.
Throttle response with the automatic transmission is eager once you get rolling; only the barest hint of turbo lag is noticeable. The manual gearbox works with light, easy action and positive clutch behavior. The cockpit and seats are driver-oriented, and the sedan doesn't feel cramped up front. Backseat space is cozy but sufficient.
9-3 Convertible After launching the redesigned compact 9-3 sport sedan for 2003, Saab released the 9-3 convertible as a 2004 model. Both feature the same chassis dynamics. Saab claims the 9-3 convertible is nearly three times as stiff as its soft-top predecessor. The convertible got an all-new suspension layout, and supplementary "ring of steel" reinforcement compensates for the loss of structural rigidity that convertibles ordinarily suffer. Seat belts are integrated into the seat frames, and pop-up roll bars are installed behind the rear seats.
Only Arc and Aero convertibles, using the same 210-hp, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder found in the sedan, were offered initially. A new Linear convertible for 2005 holds Saab's 175-hp, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder. All convertibles are equipped with either a five-speed-manual or five-speed-automatic transmission. The automatic transmission includes a manual-shift provision.
Driving the 9-3 convertible is virtually effortless. Performance is comparable to the equivalent sport sedan. The soft-top exhibits a magnificent highway ride and precise steering and handling. Back to top