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Alright well, I am looking for a car that handles well, has adequit power, attractive, built with nice materials, reliable... I see these 2003 and 2004 Saab 9-3's with 20-40k on them going for $11-15000 and I say to myself WOW... what a deal. BUT I then hear they are unreliable as hell and just not something I should be getting into. I like spirited driving, a car that can be aggressive or semi-aggressive when I want it to be... and civil when I want it to be. This car fits the mold as far as materials I'd think... appearence and overall appeal... I can get over the FWD thing too and I LOVE the Xenons. BUT! How unreliable are these cars from a REAL world perspective and owned by someone who does NOT drive like a grandpa, why is this car so cheap? When the sticker rivals that of 3 series BMW's when new... Should I be scared off? I need a NO BS Pros and Cons list of this car. Thanks
 

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This is car is cheap simply because it depreciates wayyy too fast. Earlier models have had their fair share of glitches, but they seem to have fixed most in the newer models.

I personally have an 03, and I love every single bit of the car. Only thing is the interior build quality could have been a bit better. Asides from that, my car is chipped, and I drive my car quite hard. Its just that sometimes there a couple of electrical glitches and small things go wrong, nothing major. All the mechanics of the car seem to be quite bullet proof.

Also keep in mind that each owner might have a different definition on what reliability actually means. I love my car, and I love to drive it every second I can. I see you drive an E46 M3; Now that car is a blast too. Just chip your Saab, and it will be VERY fun too :cheesy:
 

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Well what ones should I stay away from? Years? Mileage? What are the different types of Saab 9-3 from 03 and 04? Vector? WTF is that? What are the most common modifications for go fast... that don't impare reliability? What should I know before getting into one?
 

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You are in the wrong place to hear people say don't buy this car. People that come on here with serious complaints tend to sell the car pretty quickly and stop posting here.

The secondary market for Saabs is not too competitive. Saab's advertising and product placement don't even come close to BMW. I would argue that these sports sedans like Lexus, Audi, BMW, Saab are all within 5% of each other. Usually car magazines rank them all close. I think Saab has the lowest "true cost of ownership" of any of these. Each brand has both passionate advocates and detractors, and there's basically no talking to these people.

The weak points of the brand, IMO, are poor dealer service depts. and the reality that low production numbers do not support a robust aftermarket for performance enthusiasts.

If I were in the market today, I would probably go for a more balls-to-the-walls kinda car, like a Mustang GT. I bought the Saab when I still needed to put kids' car seats in the back, so a sedan was a must. I'm eager to see what Chrysler does with the new Challenger, and where the double-clutch transmisssions end up in their offerings. I would consider BMW, but where I live every 5th car is a beamer. It's truly ridiculous.
 

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RickE46M3 said:
Well what ones should I stay away from? Years? Mileage? What are the different types of Saab 9-3 from 03 and 04? Vector? WTF is that? What are the most common modifications for go fast... that don't impare reliability? What should I know before getting into one?
To directly answer this.
03 Linear Launch > Arc > Vector
Vector back then = Aero
Linear Launch is the one to steer further away from and if you are a perfomance purchaser you are looking for the Vector in 03 and the Aero in 04.

Aero/Vector is the 210hp high performance version. You can chip this to 250 hp for about a buck. No reliabilty issues and better fuel consumption result in from the upgrade.

Auto Boxes in the 03s can have coolant contamination which is a problem if it happens, otherwise mechanically the transmission is fairly bulletproof. Other software glitches can arise, some of these just from the need to replace the battery! Some user mechanics can be a problem like the electric windows or sunroof, but are known and fixable.
 

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ctrlz said:
If I were in the market today, I would probably go for a more balls-to-the-walls kinda car, like a Mustang GT. I bought the Saab when I still needed to put kids' car seats in the back, so a sedan was a must. I'm eager to see what Chrysler does with the new Challenger, and where the double-clutch transmisssions end up in their offerings. I would consider BMW, but where I live every 5th car is a beamer. It's truly ridiculous.
Really? A Mustang GT? I'm surprised ctrlz. Have you driven one for any length of time? I owned a 2002 GT Convertible, before the new styling. and I have to say, yes it was 'ok fun' to drive, but the interior on those cars is blaaah. And the new styling albeit retro is even more blaaah. Considering you sit inside the car the whole time, I'd think coming from a Saab interior, you would panic at the bland-ness. Of course, IMO, Euro and nearly all other imports have a nicer fit-and-finish inside than the Domestic cruisers or muscle cars. I drove domestic for 15 years before going to Japanese and Euro and I'm never looking back....
If you want balls-to-the-wall kinda car with a luxury feel, get the 2008 G37. That will blow any Mustang away AND u'll feel at home inside.

I had to provide my input when i saw 'Ford Mustang' posted in here. Dollar for dollar, yes Domestic is a good 'deal'. But what turned me away forever was, one Saturday morning I was watching MotorTrend, and the car reviewer was talking about the Mustang and other domestics having a 'cheap' interior and also talked about the 'bodyroll' on certain cars. And his next comment was "But Domestic car owners will always look past these flaws.." paraphrasing, "Domestic car owners will take what they get because they aren't paying big import dollars nor do they have any taste." - and that was it for me, I didn't want to be lumped in with 'them'.

Ok, Hi-jack of thread over.

ps. GM owned SAAB is the exception of course ;). I've owned GM's, Fords and Chyrsler/Dodge vehicles...so no bias to the Ford either.
 

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The insurance for a Mustang GT is substantially more than for a Saab 93. If I had collision on my 1988 Mustang GT, I believe it would cost as much to insure as my 2006 Saab 93.
 

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stay away from automatic transmissions in MY03's. There are minor electrical glitches every now and then, but they tend to work them selves out (for me at least). I only push my car hard less than 20% of my driving, but when I do, it is phenomenal. The turbo rush never gets old (i'm also a sucker for the sound of the spooling and dump valve). The car is incredibly smooth and comfortable. I will never drive another type of car.


I have a 2003 linear (5 speed) and I have loved every second of it. Sure I wish I had the vector/aero, but the linear does me fine. Hopefully a BSR tune (around $800 USD) down the road will give more of that rush.

I say this car perfectly encompasses: utility, economy, power, sporty driving, comfortable environment, and the utmost in safety.

Go for it! Yeah I know, I'm a little zealous.
 

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Love my '03 Vector. No problems to speak of, as they'd been sorted out under the previous owner's warratny. Good luck!
 

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SMHarman said:
To directly answer this.
03 Linear Launch > Arc > Vector
Vector back then = Aero
Linear Launch is the one to steer further away from and if you are a perfomance purchaser you are looking for the Vector in 03 and the Aero in 04.

Aero/Vector is the 210hp high performance version. You can chip this to 250 hp for about a buck. No reliabilty issues and better fuel consumption result in from the upgrade.

Auto Boxes in the 03s can have coolant contamination which is a problem if it happens, otherwise mechanically the transmission is fairly bulletproof. Other software glitches can arise, some of these just from the need to replace the battery! Some user mechanics can be a problem like the electric windows or sunroof, but are known and fixable.
You say coolant contamination? I've been having hard/delayed shifting lately in my 03' ARC sentronic... could this be why?

I took my car to the dealer and they told me that I need to have my right-side motor mounts replaced... which may be true but I don't want to get the car back and still problems with shifting...
 

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Rick,

I purchased my 2003 ARC. 6 speed manual loaded almost 2 years ago. Had 26,000 miles on it. I had to replace a faulty SAI (Secondary Air Injection) valve and a battery. Thats it. I have 69,000 miles on it now. I can truly say that I'm totally happy with my purchase. The valve cost me 80 bucks from Nick at Genuine Saab and took me 5 minutes to install. This car rocks!!! I drive approximately 100 miles round trip every day to work. I average about 28 MPG during the week and get about 33 MPG on interstate trips. The car, when you stick your foot in it, goes like hell. I, like most people here on this forum; bought their Saabs because they enjoy a greater bang for their buck. This car provides that in spades. It's a safe car, very low insurance rates (due to safety features) and a very low theft rate. If you like the styling and want something different. Buy it. I promise you won't regret it. I would look for preferably and Aero or ARC model, both have 210 BHP in the 2003-2005 models. Linears are 175 BHP. Most ARC owners like the Aero body better then their ARC body skirts.

Jeff
 

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2004 a good car

i have a 9-3 with over 110k and so far no major mechanical problems. I like it so much and trust the brand so much that i just bought a used 9-5 wagon , 2005 aero model.
the one issue i have had is with the somewhat poor interior build quality.
 

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I have one of the original 2003 Launch Linears, and it has been, without a doubt, the best and most reliable car I have ever owned. I have almost 97K on it now, and the only out of warranty repair I have had to do was the driver's window regulator at 90K. As a comparison, my 2001 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited had toasted two regulators before 36K. These cars are relatively cheap to maintain too, with the availability of online parts resources and a good indie mechanic.

That being said, the best way (IMHO) to buy these cars is CPO. You get a 6 year 100K warranty fron Saab and someone else takes the hit of depreciation. That's how I'm going to buy my next one (in another 100K or so :cheesy: ).
 
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