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Discussion Starter #1
I am considering purchasing a Saab 93 linear and wanted to get some feedback from owners.

1) What is the best price that people have obtained for a new Linear in Toronto, Canada

2) My understanding is that the linear gets good mileage compared to its competitors (audi a4, bimmer) but how is it compared to 4 bangers

3) I read on some review sites that its okay to put regular gas in the linear because the computer adjusts for the lower octane levels. If I used regular gas as the primary fuel would that damage the engine over time?

4) Can I take this car to a Walmart automotive or Canadian Tire, or any regular mechanic for simple maintenance , or is it best to go to specialty garages

5) Can I find air filters and oil filters at Canadian Tire, or Walmart and do the oil changes myself. Right now, I have a Civic and its so easy for maintenance. Anyone I take it too knows how to fix it and parts are available anywhere. Plus, its really easy to do oil changes on my own

I test drove the linear the other day, and I really loved it. The car handled so well and sounded amazing. I am a bit scared of taking the plunge because with the way that gas is going, I don’t want to pay for premium fuel, and I don’t want to find myself having to be reliant on the dealer for simple maintenance like wiper replacements, or oil filters etc.


Thanks for your feedback people. I really appreciate
 

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As a 93 linear owner I'll try to answer what I can....

1) Dont' know the going rate, someone else will have to come up with that

2) It gets much better than the 6-cyl competition, I can get about 32-34 mpg on the highway for long trips, I not sure what I get in the city. I think this is about on par with 4 bangers with this output, maybe not as good as a civic which is lighter and less hp.

3) You should be able to use regular gas without a problem. I seem to remember that I lot of people have used only that. I use premium, but I also have PPC tuning, so I need that.

4) I can't comment on getting regular maintenance at walmart or equivalent, but the first 3 years/36,000 miles should be free service from the dealer. A lot of people do oil changes on their own with no trouble. I would stick to a saab mechanic for major services, 60,000 miles and such.

5) I don't know about air filters, I got an aftermarket one, but I think you can get the oil filter easily. I know someone just mentioned that it's the same as in a Saturn, and that it's pretty cheap to get the oil filter from a saturn dealer. Just gotta be sure to use full synthetic for the car as recommended.

I hope I answered some of the questions, I'm sure others will offer thier opinions as well. Best of luck getting a new car,

~Ryan
 

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We have had the 2004 Linear for almost a year and a half now. This is my wife’s car and I have an Aero. I have also had Civics and CRXs for a long time before I bought the Aero last year. Now to answer your questions…



1) I don’t know the prices in Canada. Here in the US they now offer the employee discount (~6% I think) plus what ever other discounts are offered.

2) Linear gets good mileage for a car that size, but not great. I average 33 to 35 miles per US gallon, long distance driving, depending on how I drive. My wife averages 23 to 25 mpg in the city. Now don’t forget, the Linear is also a 4 banger, except with a turbo. The 95 Civic EX Coupe I had averaged 29 in winter, 32 in summer city driving and 36 to 41 on the highway. So there is not much comparison there.

3) It may be OK to put regular, but the owner’s manual says 91, which is mid grade.

4) The car does not require a lot of service, as compared to your civic. If you are talking about oil changes, it is actually easier to change oil in the SAAB than in the Civic. In the Civic you had to do the oil change every 3000 miles and if you got it done by someone it will cost about $22 minimum. In the Saab, your car will tell you when to change oil, and it is usually around 15000 miles with mixed driving. As Ryan said before, this one is free, and so is the next one. Depending on how you drive you might even be able to get a third one free. If you do it your self, you can do an oil change for $40 US. Also there are no timing belt changes every 60000 – 75000 miles in the Saab.

5) You will have to pay a little extra for saab parts, but the service intervals are further apart. There are other items that will however ware out faster than you had in the Civic, like the brakes, and the OEM tires won’t last 55000 miles, But the 9-3 is a unique vehicle that will take you places quicker (if you want to), safer, in comfort and in style, better than the Civic ever could.



If you have little ones like I do, and is looking or a vehicle in this class, the 9-3 has the best safety feature/ratings in its class.



One last thing, if you buy one, you will never feel the lack of power when you switch on the AC again.;)

Good luck with your decision,

Vipula.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for your feedback. I appreciate your time and efforts.

I wouldnt mind hearing other thoughts as well. How have Canadians found the maintenance experience?
 

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1.) I don't know about Canada, but I paid about $23k USD, no options with promotional employee discounts and rebates.

2.) Gas mileage is slightly better than 6 cylinders in city driving, more so on the highway. Highway mileage will be almost as good as "econobox" four cylinders such as Civics and Sentras, but city mileage will not be as good.

3.) Technically it *might* be OK to run regular in the car temporarily. The manual warns against doing it regularly and to refill with premium ASAP. Basically the ability to run on regular or mid-grade is designed for temporary use if premium is unavailable and you must refuel. It will harm performance and may cause problems/engine light to come on, especially if done long-term. Some may argue with me on this, but I'm an auto repair tech.

4.) I don't know about in Canada, but in the US Saab covers all required maintenance. This only covers oil changes every 15k miles, however, and some (myself included) feel that this is a very, very minimalistic regimen and should be changed more frequently if you intend to keep the car after the warranty expires. That said, most "quick lube" places such as Wal Mart or tire stores I generally avoid for any type of car due to their haphazard service quality. I would not take my Saab there, especially, since it uses a filter element "cartridge" instead of a normal screw-on filter and this may blow a quick-lube "technician"'s mind. I would recommend doing it yourself or taking to the dealer or at least an independent mechanic familiar with European cars. The parts required for do-it-yourself oil changes would need to be purchased from the dealer, but they aren't terribly expensive. (Oil filter housing gasket, filter element, drain bolt washer= about $15 USD). Mobil1 synthetic oil is required and is readily available at most parts stores. The actual oil-change procedure is not difficult, but it is different from cars with screw-on type filters. If you're handy with vehicle maintenance and have tools, go for it.

5.) See 4.

Keep in mind this is a turbocharged car with a euro-style engine. While that shouldn't intimidate you, or mean that it's grossly expensive to maintain (because it's not), it should mean that you shouldn't treat it like the average econobox, and realize that it needs a little different care. Going into the decision to buy this car thinking you're going to be able to treat it like a Civic or something will only result in disappointment.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for your reply. Saab owners are indeed very helpful.

It seems that although I really love the saabs styling, handling, and gas efficiency - this car may not be the one for me.

I am the type of person that buys a vehicle and keeps it for 10-12 years. When the car gets older, I really wouldnt want to have any difficulty finding parts. Also, I have a strong aversion from buying parts from dealers and additionally, I like the ability to take my car to multiple mechanics. I am still not sure what the mechanic situation in Toronto is like, but I dont think there are many that specialize in Saabs..

Also, my hope when buying a new car would to not have to pay for premium gas.

Basically, I want a car in this class (styling, handling) with the lowest cost of ownership over 10 - 12 years. Any ideas?
 

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theabstract said:
Basically, I want a car in this class (styling, handling) with the lowest cost of ownership over 10 - 12 years. Any ideas?
Acura TSX? But I think it requires premium fuel. How about the Lexus IS 300? But the gas mileage isn't that great. Perhaps a Lexus ES330? But it isn't sporty at all. Almost all cars in this class have a trade-off. They are pretty much all excellent vehicles, but they are all different from each other with various pros and cons.

Not really in the same class, but I would suggest maybe an Accord or Camry sedan as being the most logical for economical long term ownership.

However, Saabs are well know for their longevity. I traded in my 10 year old, 178k mile 9000 on my 9-3. It was still going strong and getting over 30 mpg on the highway. I would also think parts will be readily available, these cars have been produced in large quantities.

However, no matter what kind of car I had, I would never just be willing to let any mechanic work on it. I think that's just a recipie for disaster. Just about all new foreign (and most domestic now too) cars require some degree of sophistication to work on them.
 

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theabstract said:
Thanks for your reply. Saab owners are indeed very helpful.


Basically, I want a car in this class (styling, handling) with the lowest cost of ownership over 10 - 12 years. Any ideas?

You get what you pay for. I dont think you will have much luck finding a car in this class (I am presuming you are speaking Saab, Mercedes, Audi, Volvo, BMW, etc?) with an over-all cost of ownership closer to what you experinced as a civic driver. Labor is almost always more expensive and more specialized in these kinds of cars than in the more economical cars. The good thing is, these cars are typically very sound and can go longer distances between service intervals so that might help off-set the costs somewhat. But its kind of an oxymoron to be seeking a 'cheap' entry-luxury car IMO

By the way, I am also a Linear owner and have every intention of keeping this car as long as I possibly can. This is my second Saab, my 1st one was 12 years old when I bought it and never really had problems locating parts. Sure, I paid more for labor...but I also had a 300k car that drove like a 30k car. If this 2003 93 is anything even remotely close to the reliablity I experinced in my 1983 900T - then there is nothing to worry about.

Another factor you might be overlooking is the great insurance rates on Saabs. That also helps offset the increases in overall cost of ownership. My 2003 Linear costs about $60 US cheaper to ensure per month than an old Cavalier I used to own!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Once again, thanks for your feedback.

My intention is not to find a new car with a cost of ownership similar to a civic - I understand the differences associated with an upscale product.

I will certainly look into insurance rates. Thats something that I have not yet done. I really like the saab, but am having a hard time getting it to work out on paper. Maybe I gotta look a bit more deeply. My heart is there, I just gotta convince my mind that it is the best overall value within its segment in its life cycle. :)
 

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theabstract said:
I will certainly look into insurance rates. Thats something that I have not yet done.
I was very (and pleasantly :) ) surprised that our 2005 9³ Linear is the same insurance wise as a 4 year old minivan that we traded in!
 

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Hmmm... I guess I'm just having trouble figuring out what your qualms are with the Saab. It is indeed a very reliable vehicle and you shouldn't have any trouble keeping it as long as you want to.

My recommendation about mechanics goes for any car. Saabs (and other Europeans) are a bit different in design than most American or Japanese cars, so they call for someone who won't be stumped by the oil filter being, say, located on TOP of the engine instead of under it. But my recommendation would be the same if you were buying a Honda or a Chevrolet.... use GENUINE parts and either do it yourself or find a good independent mechanic you can trust... don't take your car to places that sell clothes and paper towels and oh, yeah, tires and batteries as a sideline to get ANY car serviced. And don't go to Pep Boys or Firestone where the "technicians" are to auto repair what McDonald's fry cooks are to chefs. All it takes is one idiot leaving your drain bolt loose or your filler cap off to destroy your engine... and it happens a LOT at those places.

You shouldn't have any trouble getting parts for the car a decade from now. You can still get parts for older Saabs right now.

As with the other posters, what you *seem* to be saying is you want a car that handles nicely, looks good and will run on regular gas and can be serviced cheaply. Perhaps a Scion tC might be more in your ball park? Although as I said, I wouldn't subject any car I really cared about to WalMart or quick-lube joints.:nono;

You may also want to look at a base model Volvo S40. No turbo engine and costs about the same as a 9-3 Linear with the discounts.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Thanks for your feedback. Dont get me wrong, I have no qualms with the 93 - it is my first choice for a new vehicle. Just had a few concerns before I drop 40K cdn.

If all goes well, hopefully i'll be writing to share what my first drive was like in my new 93.
 
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