2001 Saab 9 3
1-10 of 16 reviews
Test drive review

Affordable performance

by from Northern New York on April 26, 2010

I have the SE model with manual transmission and it is truly an excellent car. It is very fun to drive, and very fast with the high pressure turbo. The 5 speed shifts very smoothly, and it is packed w...
I have the SE model with manual transmission and it is truly an excellent car. It is very fun to drive, and very fast with the high pressure turbo. The 5 speed shifts very smoothly, and it is packed with features like heated seats, automatic headlights, etc. There is a LOT of space in this car. Very versatile hatchback, and the seats are very comfortable on long trips. I average about 24 MPG on mostly around town driving. It will do 30+ on the highway easily. One thing to watch out for with Saabs of this age is oil sludge. If synthetic oil has not been used and/or it has not been changed every 3000 miles, they are very prone to sludge buildup, which, if not taken care of, will kill the engine. I recently had to have the oil sump dropped on my car to have the gunk cleaned out, about a $600 job, so don't buy one of these without complete service records unless you don't mind having this procedure done after you buy the car. Also, be sure to use synthetic 0W-40 oil and Premium fuel (at least 91 octane in the base, 93 in the SE and Viggen) once you buy it. Saab reliability is directly correlated to maintenance. If you are willing to put the time and money into upkeep, a 9-3 may be the best car you've ever owned. If not maintained, though, they can be a nightmare.
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Performance
Reliability

Purchased a used car

Uses car for Commuting

Does recommend this car!!

15 out of 15 people found this review helpful. Did you?
Test drive review

Lots of Fun

by from long is, ny on July 24, 2010

The convertible is a great 2nd car. the trunk space and back seats are minimal, but with the top down, cruising on the hwy, it is a blast to drive. I have 125k and have had few problems - replaced the...
The convertible is a great 2nd car. the trunk space and back seats are minimal, but with the top down, cruising on the hwy, it is a blast to drive. I have 125k and have had few problems - replaced the starter and some other wear & tear stuff. Parts are pricey but not crazy and if you find a mechanic who knows what he is doing, it is not that expensive to own. Oil changes, tune ups, tires and brakes are no more expensive than on my Ford. The styling is sharp on the outside, but cup holders and door buttons that are behind you are inconvenient and the cupholder on the dashboard is an accident waiting to happen. This car has been dependable and if you find one that was well maintained, it will last a long time. Make sure it has TWO KEYS!!!! Keys can only be made at the dealer and have to be programed to the car - about $300 each!!! I get about 20+ mpg and like the handling and the turbo charged acceleration. It is good to check out one of the SAAB sites b4 buying one. Make sure the prior owner maintained his car - do not get a fixer-upper. If this is your family's only car, get a Nissan or a Honda, don't take a chance. But for a 2nd weekend cruising car, for the $, it can't be beat!
Comfort
Exterior Styling
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Value for the Money
Performance
Reliability

Purchased a used car

Uses car for Having fun

Does recommend this car!!

12 out of 12 people found this review helpful. Did you?
Test drive review

Sporty, versatile, good car when treated well

by from Boston on August 6, 2009

If you want a Honda do not buy a Saab. I bought the base 9-3 5 door with the manual transmission 4 years ago with 58k miles on it and now I am taking it in for the 90k service. There have been no seri...
If you want a Honda do not buy a Saab. I bought the base 9-3 5 door with the manual transmission 4 years ago with 58k miles on it and now I am taking it in for the 90k service. There have been no serious mechanical problems and the car has been a pleasure to drive. The trunk is huge allowing us to avoid buying a wagon for now, and it gets over 30 mpg on highway driving. The vehicle requires synthetic oil (changed frequently if you do a lot of city driving) and premium gasoline. I am careful about who I let touch it. A good mechanic who knows Saabs is a necesity for this car if you do not want expensive trouble. The car is great in all weather (traction control) except for snow over 6 inches. I love the car and I hope to drive it for another 90k miles. The back seat is not huge, but is adequate for short to medium drives for an adult, our infant car seat fit behind the driver or passenger without trouble. The driver information screen gradually stopped working after 75k miles (don't spill drinks into the dash). The estimates to replace it varried from $800 to $200 with a lifetime replacement. My wife has expressed annoyance that the manual transmission is not as or pleasurable to shift as her old Honda Civic, but she has learned to enjoy the turbo whoosh on the highway and the strong acceleration when merging into busy traffic. Best features- Strong turbo engine, big trunk, good fuel economy, all weather capable. Worst features- Unforgiving maintainence schedule, easily can become expensive to maintain.
Comfort
Exterior Styling
Interior Design
Value for the Money
Performance
Reliability

Purchased a used car

Uses car for Commuting

Does recommend this car!!

11 out of 11 people found this review helpful. Did you?
Test drive review

Sporty, Fun & Reliable

by from Sacramento, CA on September 9, 2010

I've now owned two 2001 9-3 SE convertibles, and they have both been solid, fun vehicles. They have both been comfortable on multi-day roadtrips, get better mileage (22/29 mpg) than the newer models a...
I've now owned two 2001 9-3 SE convertibles, and they have both been solid, fun vehicles. They have both been comfortable on multi-day roadtrips, get better mileage (22/29 mpg) than the newer models and hold together very nicely. If I could purchase a NEW 2001 9-3 SE, I'd do it in a heartbeat!
Comfort
Exterior Styling
Interior Design
Value for the Money
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Reliability

Purchased a used car

Uses car for Just getting around

Does recommend this car!!

10 out of 10 people found this review helpful. Did you?
Test drive review

Would by another in a heart beat!!

by from Lebanon, PA on June 30, 2009

I love my Saab. I have a 2001 9-3 SE fully loaded, leather, sunroof, heated seats, dual power seats, tcs, and on-star. Great features and awsome performance! Like i said I would buy another one in a h...
I love my Saab. I have a 2001 9-3 SE fully loaded, leather, sunroof, heated seats, dual power seats, tcs, and on-star. Great features and awsome performance! Like i said I would buy another one in a heart beat! And F.Y.I. Saab is owned by GM not by Ford.
Comfort
Exterior Styling
Interior Design
Value for the Money
Performance
Reliability

Purchased a used car

Uses car for Just getting around

Does recommend this car!!

8 out of 8 people found this review helpful. Did you?
Test drive review

Love Love Love my toy Saab 9-3 convertible

by from California, but formerly Wisconsin on July 30, 2008

I love this car. I know that's a strong word, and usually I am pretty utilitarian or pragmatic when it comes to cars. However, I did always want a convertible. This is great. granted there are odditi...
I love this car. I know that's a strong word, and usually I am pretty utilitarian or pragmatic when it comes to cars. However, I did always want a convertible. This is great. granted there are oddities about the Swedish car that some don't like--not great stereo options, buttons in wierd places, bad cupholders (can't drink while driving in Sweden)--but get over it. It has more power and braking ability than any car I have had. Handling is superior. Try and beat me off the line when I am in sport mode--no can do. It has a great trunk for a convertible, and actually a nice and comfortable back seat. the top is triple insulated, and the car is designed to have great traction in snow. After all, it is built for the Swedes. This makes it one of the few convertibles that makes sense for northern climates. However, I always drive with the top down. You will LOVE it.
Comfort
Exterior Styling
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Value for the Money
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Reliability

Purchased a used car

Does recommend this car!!

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Test drive review

I love my Saab!

by from westfield, NJ on January 28, 2010

I love this car! Its fun to drive, comfortable, and very cool looking. The trunk is huge and the seats provide plenty of room. Ive only had it for 4 months so I cant say too much about the reliability...
I love this car! Its fun to drive, comfortable, and very cool looking. The trunk is huge and the seats provide plenty of room. Ive only had it for 4 months so I cant say too much about the reliability but so far ive had no problems. As long as you do the routine work (brakes, oil change, etc) you will be fine. My only complaint is the radio. Some stations come in very fuzzy and the speakers are not very well. Don't expect to get great sound out of them. Also, there is only one cup holder and it's too tiny to accommodate most drinks. One thing to note is that it is very hard to see out the back window in the hatchback version and parking can be difficult. It's hard to determine how far away you are from the car in back of you. The heat and A/C also work very well. Overall it's a great car and I would DEFINITELY recommend it
Comfort
Exterior Styling
Interior Design
Value for the Money
Performance
Reliability

Purchased a used car

Uses car for Just getting around

Does recommend this car!!

6 out of 6 people found this review helpful. Did you?
Test drive review

Best car I've owned

by from deleware on September 10, 2012

Bought used with 30K miles in 2006. Now has 88K miles. Only problem so far is power antenna; we just leave it up. I do oil changes at 5K, replaced spark plugs at 50K, tires at 60K and replaced battery...
Bought used with 30K miles in 2006. Now has 88K miles. Only problem so far is power antenna; we just leave it up. I do oil changes at 5K, replaced spark plugs at 50K, tires at 60K and replaced battery before winter of 2011 (preventive maintenance). All else is original. Fun to drive, quick, 28 mpg local and 32+ travelling. This 2001 4 door 5 speed manual turbo moon roof hatchback is wonderful car. Too bad they stopped making them.
Comfort
Exterior Styling
Interior Design
Value for the Money
Performance
Reliability

Purchased a used car

Uses car for Just getting around

Does recommend this car!!

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Test drive review

Incredibly sporty, fun and handles great

by from Maryland on August 29, 2006

A wonderful ride, great in traffic with lots of performance for passing or flying on the highway. It was a perfect vehicle when I was single, dating and on the town. Being a four seater allows c...
A wonderful ride, great in traffic with lots of performance for passing or flying on the highway. It was a perfect vehicle when I was single, dating and on the town. Being a four seater allows company to join you when you want it. A tow hitch lets you make great use of the bike trail and look good when you arrive. The heated seats and front wheel drive is great in a light snow and the insulated roof makes for a quiet ride.
Comfort
Exterior Styling
Interior Design
Value for the Money
Performance
Reliability

Purchased a new car

Does recommend this car!!

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful. Did you?
Test drive review

at 110,000 miles, still going strong

by from Clinton, NY on October 14, 2007

I bought my 9-3 SE in 2001, and have driven it on highways, in snowstorms, on unpaved rural roads,--you name it. It is the GREATEST car to drive--it's like a little rocket, and has been incredibly dep...
I bought my 9-3 SE in 2001, and have driven it on highways, in snowstorms, on unpaved rural roads,--you name it. It is the GREATEST car to drive--it's like a little rocket, and has been incredibly dependable, and really fun. I'd buy another one in a heartbeat. I wish Saab would reinstate the hatchback--it has a great cargo capacity, and I love the style. Sitting in the back seat, however, isn't all that comfortable if you're taller than 5'6".
Comfort
Exterior Styling
Interior Design
Value for the Money
Performance
Reliability

Purchased a new car

Does recommend this car!!

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful. Did you?
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Our Expert Review: 2001 Saab 9 3