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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all. I am looking at possibly getting a 9-3. Currently, year and sub-type are open, but looking at the 2nd gen 9-3
Just looking for something that doesn't drink as much gas as my 9-7x.
My question is what issues should I look out for?
I know the late NG900/ early 9-3 engines were prone to sludging. Are the newer engines prone as well?
Any areas that are more rust prone? I had a '94 NG900 that had the rear shock towers rust out, but made 250,000 before it rusted away.
Thanks
 

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Hello all. I am looking at possibly getting a 9-3. Currently, year and sub-type are open, but looking at the 2nd gen 9-3
Just looking for something that doesn't drink as much gas as my 9-7x.
My question is what issues should I look out for?
I know the late NG900/ early 9-3 engines were prone to sludging. Are the newer engines prone as well?
Any areas that are more rust prone? I had a '94 NG900 that had the rear shock towers rust out, but made 250,000 before it rusted away.
Thanks
I think you have the wrong years for the sludging issue.
The sludging was a problem on cars with the T7 engine management hardware/software.
That was the 1999-2002 viggens, 2000 - 2002 9-3 hatch backs, 2000-2003 9-3 convertibles, and 4 cylinder 9-5s thru 2005.
The NG900's and early 9-3's had the T5 engine management systems and didn't have the widespread sludging.
 

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I expect most Saab cars will be easier on fuel than a 9-7X.

Known issues include bad valves on some 2007-2009 2.0 cars.

If you like manual transmissions, look for a six speed manual.

If most of your driving is highway, then even a 9-5 will be pretty economical.

If it's mostly city driving, I'd say that an NG900 with the non-turbo 2.3 and manual transmission would be my choice. Good luck finding one in decent condition now.
 

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2011 9-3 Turbo4 (2.0T)
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Honestly, they are all old and discontinued vehicles with quirks for all models as I understand it, and so with that in mind it's probably best to just approach it on a candidate purchase-by-candidate purchase basis. i.e., here are 4 cars I've found near me, I'm interested in them for XYZ - what do I need to look for? Just my 2c - I'm always trolling the local listings and there are a lot of cars around me that are clearly hot messes just by looking at the ad, and so my mentality is more about finding a good individual survivor with the features I might want
 

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If you like manual transmissions, look for a six speed manual.
Would definitely recommend a manual, I have the 5 speed myself, and it's a fine gearbox. Over the years I've owned various 5 and 6 speed manuals, and I never really saw the need for a 6 speed box honestly, especially for a petrol turbo car with a wide power band. The six speeds I've had in the past I used to commonly skip gears when shifting, even do it with the five speed at times. 🤷‍♂️

But, for a diesel with a narrow power band or a track toy the six speed could be more useful...
 

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2007 saab 9-3 aero convertible 2.8v6 anniversary
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Sorry but I love the 9-3 aero semi auto, that's all I've driven in my saab life, first 2006 2.8V6 which got smashed up. Then a 2004 2.0T lovely runner and definitely turned heads but unfortunately hit another car at less than 10mph and my insurance wrote it off because the airbag never ejected, then another 2.0T 2006, spent a lot saving her from deaths door and she runs perfectly, perfect now and even stage 1 remapped to 250bhp. Now back at the beginning with a 2007 2.8V6 anniversary stage 1 remapped to 300bhp
All the cars I've had have been convertibles, loved everyone and would live another life driving them all again
The suspension and handling is great, the responsive power is great, the look is sexy and head turning always.
Fuel you pay for what you want, you'd be surprised the 2.8v6 has a better mpg status on long runs, which of course is to do with the 6th gear
If you buy a 1.8 or 2.0t you'd only spend money remapping them for more power to nearly get them to the standard of the 2.0T aero. Oh and don't get me wrong remapping isn't only for power, you do notice better fuel consumption, I'm just 9-3 crazy but for me it always has to be an Aero model, nothing less
And I never would drive a diesel which is the 1.9 185bhp, just 100% hate diesels and that's my personal preference

Good luck with your choice
 

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2011 9-3 Turbo4 (2.0T)
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Sorry but I love the 9-3 aero semi auto, that's all I've driven in my saab life, first 2006 2.8V6 which got smashed up. Then a 2004 2.0T lovely runner and definitely turned heads but unfortunately hit another car at less than 10mph and my insurance wrote it off because the airbag never ejected, then another 2.0T 2006, spent a lot saving her from deaths door and she runs perfectly, perfect now and even stage 1 remapped to 250bhp. Now back at the beginning with a 2007 2.8V6 anniversary stage 1 remapped to 300bhp
All the cars I've had have been convertibles, loved everyone and would live another life driving them all again
The suspension and handling is great, the responsive power is great, the look is sexy and head turning always.
Fuel you pay for what you want, you'd be surprised the 2.8v6 has a better mpg status on long runs, which of course is to do with the 6th gear
If you buy a 1.8 or 2.0t you'd only spend money remapping them for more power to nearly get them to the standard of the 2.0T aero. Oh and don't get me wrong remapping isn't only for power, you do notice better fuel consumption, I'm just 9-3 crazy but for me it always has to be an Aero model, nothing less
And I never would drive a diesel which is the 1.9 185bhp, just 100% hate diesels and that's my personal preference

Good luck with your choice
The auto is pretty good - it wipes the floor with our auto jetta's transmission. In manual mode, with a stage 1 tune, it's very clearly superior to the full automatic mode. The snappier throttle response and more-often-locked torque converter in M makes full auto mode feel really disconnected by comparison. It really feels comparatively like a rocket when you flip it out of auto into manual mode
 

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2007 saab 9-3 aero convertible 2.8v6 anniversary
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Very true my 2.0T was stages 1 to 250bhp plus had a ramair air filter which gave me definitely extra boost. I think it's actually better than the K&N
 

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Depending on where/when you do most of your driving the NG 9-3 can get surprisingly bad gas mileage. I have the 2.0 & of course the 2.8 would be even worse. If you do a lot of legit rush hour/stop & go driving I would look for a different car if fuel economy is truly very important to you. If you do mainly open highway driving however then you'll be happy with the mileage. The difference can be huge...
Various years have various issues (intake valves, fiber optics in the audio system, etc) & the 2.8 has more heat related failures (coolant tank cracking, shorter battery life, coil packs) than the 2.0. Regardless of year or engine module failure is all too common in the 9-3 so keep in mind you may very well be looking for a new ECU/ABS/CIM, etc at some point.

IMO more gears are always better & manual is definitely the way to go although the tall gearing doesn't creep very well in stop & go traffic. Body rust occurs in the typical spots, especially the wheel arches. If looking for one I would go for a manual 2.0 but I am heavily biased towards MT. If you pay other ppl to do all of your maintenance I would look into what shops work on the car near you (I'm sure you've been through this with the 9-7 as well) just to make sure you've got repair options with a techII nearby.
 

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Depending on where/when you do most of your driving the NG 9-3 can get surprisingly bad gas mileage. I have the 2.0 & of course the 2.8 would be even worse. If you do a lot of legit rush hour/stop & go driving I would look for a different car if fuel economy is truly very important to you. If you do mainly open highway driving however then you'll be happy with the mileage. The difference can be huge...
+1 the fuel economy in true, legit, stop-and-go city living is actually kinda terribad on the 2.0 (at least the 5AT). I really struggle to hit the EPA estimate for the city (which is only 18-19mpg depending on what source you look at for the 2011) and I'm not a jackass at the light. On the other hand it's fuel efficient cruising along at 35-40mph+ from suburban roads to the highway. I get 35mpg verified on the highway with a performance tune. So... yeah... big factor to consider
 

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Depending on where/when you do most of your driving the NG 9-3 can get surprisingly bad gas mileage. I have the 2.0 & of course the 2.8 would be even worse. If you do a lot of legit rush hour/stop & go driving I would look for a different car if fuel economy is truly very important to you. If you do mainly open highway driving however then you'll be happy with the mileage. The difference can be huge...
The fuel economy on the automatic is appalling. The manual car is fine in city driving, I can easily get 25 MPG (US) from mine, and quite easily exceed 35 MPG on the motorway. The automatic car will dip into the teens on strictly city driving, and struggles to exceed 30 MPG on the motorway. With my combined, but mostly highway driving, I am getting about 25 MPG from my automatic 2.0. Both cars are 2.0 Aero's, one is a 2006 saloon and the other is a 2008 wagon.

But, if all you do is sit in traffic, you should buy a hybrid.
 

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I have never exceed over 11litres/100km with my 2.8 CV.
 

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2007 saab 9-3 aero convertible 2.8v6 anniversary
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The fuel economy on the automatic is appalling. The manual car is fine in city driving, I can easily get 25 MPG (US) from mine, and quite easily exceed 35 MPG on the motorway. The automatic car will dip into the teens on strictly city driving, and struggles to exceed 30 MPG on the motorway. With my combined, but mostly highway driving, I am getting about 25 MPG from my automatic 2.0. Both cars are 2.0 Aero's, one is a 2006 saloon and the other is a 2008 wagon.

But, if all you do is sit in traffic, you should buy a hybrid.
Sorry a bit of disagreement here, I can get 34-36mpg from my 2.8v6 and that's crusing at 90mph. The 2.0T is economical also especially with the stage 1 remap and crusing at 90mph also, the only time I saw my 2.0T drink is when I pushed her over 100-130mph, hitting over 4000rpm the car starts using its max bhp, takes its shirt off and really says I'm the man, try and mess with me now, but also says keep your eye on the road and not the fuel gauge 😂
My 2.8V6 constantly says I'm the man, even when crusing 🤫
Let's put it this way, I'd only get an Aero model not a linear or vector
If you're concerned about fuel ⛽ I would suggest a Fiat 500 and not look at the Saab unless you're not getting an Aero model and lower your standard to a 1.8t 🤢🥵🥴😵😵‍💫 and then pay out to get it remapped to the 210bhp of the Aero
These newer cars are miles more fuel efficient, my partner gets around 58-64mpg in her Hyhundai hybrid but its about the car, its the Saab badge, the Saab history and being 110% proud behind the wheel
Be good and safe bro
Get what you feel comfortable in and what makes your heart skip a beat
 

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The fuel economy on the automatic is appalling. The manual car is fine in city driving, I can easily get 25 MPG (US) from mine, and quite easily exceed 35 MPG on the motorway. The automatic car will dip into the teens on strictly city driving, and struggles to exceed 30 MPG on the motorway. With my combined, but mostly highway driving, I am getting about 25 MPG from my automatic 2.0. Both cars are 2.0 Aero's, one is a 2006 saloon and the other is a 2008 wagon.

But, if all you do is sit in traffic, you should buy a hybrid.
I have a 2.0T 6sp manual. Thr city fuel economy is surprisingly bad. Driving rush hour 2x per day then mixing in random highway driving still gets only ~20-22mpg. 34mpg if cruising on flat highway, again surprisingly bad if you have mountains to climb. The car is heavy & the engine is underpowered so adding rpms, boost, or in the case of the 2.8, 2 extra cylinders really affects the potential max mpg you will see. Unfortunately with that mpg the 0-60 time is still above 8 seconds so it's not like you're trading fuel economy for blazing performance.

Those numbers are with pretty boring/conservative driving. Again, better than a 9-7 I'm sure but not very good compared to other vehicles if fuel economy is a priority for the OP.
 

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I have a 2.0T 6sp manual. Thr city fuel economy is surprisingly bad. Driving rush hour 2x per day then mixing in random highway driving still gets only ~20-22mpg. 34mpg if cruising on flat highway, again surprisingly bad if you have mountains to climb. The car is heavy & the engine is underpowered so adding rpms, boost, or in the case of the 2.8, 2 extra cylinders really affects the potential max mpg you will see. Unfortunately with that mpg the 0-60 time is still above 8 seconds so it's not like you're trading fuel economy for blazing performance.

Those numbers are with pretty boring/conservative driving. Again, better than a 9-7 I'm sure but not very good compared to other vehicles if fuel economy is a priority for the OP.
Don't know what to tell you. It is not possible to get less than 25 MPG with my 2.0T 5-speed manual. My driving is a mix of city and highway driving, I drive that car much more enthusiastically than the automatic car often in excess of 140 MPH, often sitting in traffic, and it never is less than 25 MPG. The automatic, I baby it, I drive slow, don't race to the lights, drive usually no more than 70 on the highway, and it returns...25 MPG. The manual car will easily exceed 40 MPG if I baby it. 🤷‍♂️
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Thank you everyone for your input. While I would like to get somewhat better gas milage than I currently get(the 9-7 is getting 16!), I don't want it to be cramped and boring.
If I wanted boring, I would buy an Astra!
This car would also be making 300+ mile runs every so often as well. I did that trip in a older Nissan Versa(Tiida) and was sore for a few days after.
After looking at what is around, I am narrowing the search down to either 06 or 07 with the 2.0. Would be nice if the right Sport-Combi crosses my path.
Now to begin the long search for the right car(it took 2 1/2 months before I got the 9-7!).
 

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I'm curious what "gallons/hour" people are getting on their 2.0Ts - this is a reading the eSID gives while idling (as opposed to miles/gallon while moving). With no AC I think mine is around .37-.44, and goes up over .6 with AC running hard (like right now when it's 98 FREAKING degrees out). That alone guarantees bad fuel economy in true stop-and-go city traffic. I'm not talking cushy suburban "city" miles ;-) I assume this is identical on the manual unless the AT drags a ton more while idling (which... I guess maybe it might)
 

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If I wanted boring, I would buy an Astra!
This car would also be making 300+ mile runs every so often as well. I did that trip in a older Nissan Versa(Tiida) and was sore for a few days after.
Astra vs Tiida... no doubt Astra.
If you really want boring car, buy Nissan (and you regret every moment what you own it).
 

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I'm curious what "gallons/hour" people are getting on their 2.0Ts - this is a reading the eSID gives while idling (as opposed to miles/gallon while moving). With no AC I think mine is around .37-.44, and goes up over .6 with AC running hard (like right now when it's 98 FREAKING degrees out). That alone guarantees bad fuel economy in true stop-and-go city traffic. I'm not talking cushy suburban "city" miles ;-) I assume this is identical on the manual unless the AT drags a ton more while idling (which... I guess maybe it might)
Move the gear selector from "D" to "N." Does the consumption change?

Bad city fuel economy is guaranteed by a torque converter.
 
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