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Discussion Starter #1
Hello Everyone,

Hoping a few people on SC are owners of the late model Saab 9-3 wagons. Here in the US I rarely see many of them on the roads! Even while living in Oregon where in Portland you do spot many more Saabs than most places in the US but few of these wagons.

I am considering purchasing a low mileage Saab 9-3 IF I can find one in well taken care of condition.

Ive only owned the classics and most recently a lovely green 9-5 wagon with my current Saab a 2000 OG9-3.

Id like to know about reliability, parts availability, difficulty of regular maintenance(the OG9-3 is a breeze to change oil!) and anything else like are they fun to drive, have decent pick up etc. I know they are the most GM'ed Saab cars they produced but I still like the aesthetics of the small wagons and if not the 9-3 then will consider a Volvo V50.

Any feedback would really be appreciated!

Thanks!
 

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Just ticked off year 3 of an '08 Aero SC. Bought it with 100k, it has just over 130k now. I bought it with a failed TPMS sensor and a coolant leak, which were both easy fixes, although not cheap. Later problems included a failed fuel pump (common on the V6) and a failed ignition coil (also common). No other issues to speak of. Having owned every Saab up to this car, I will say overall it's been no more or less reliable, and while parts themselves aren't notably more expensive than past Saabs, there are simply more of them. Any job entails a higher parts count, and commensurate additional cost. The number of electronic modules is staggering, and IMO you'd be a fool to own one of these cars without a Tech 2 to go with it.

FWIW, a friend has 2.0 Anniversary SC and my feeling is that the V6 is generally (but not always) easier to work on and not materially more expensive to operate. I would do the V6 over and over again, even though it means dealing with the coolant reservoir and expensive fuel pump. Not having to worry about dropped intake vaves, annoying water pump changes, vacuum pump leaks, etc. That said, wagons are tough to find, and you may need to take what you can get.

Compared to the OG9-3 the 9-3SS is a far superior car from the driver's seat. Real suspension, real steering geometry, and modern transmissions. The loss of the B2x5 is sad, but performance-wise the B207 and B284 are solid - great motors. And in the case of the B207 you save some weight over the nose and that's not bad. All else equal, I'd take the SS any day.

Edit: One personal annoyance on the 9-3SS is the audio system through '06. I would personally skip those years if possible.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for all that insight. Ive always read poor reviews of Saabs with 6 cyl. engines esp the older generation Saabs.

I do want more hp as well I have a base OG9-3 and its auto to make things worse. Not really a dog but still not as peppy as Id like.

So are SS chain or belt driven? One thing I DO like is the chain driven motors. My 1999 9-5 wagon was sold with over 200K with original timing chain in tact.

I am considering a 07 or 08 wagon and yes the sound system DOES matter to me. the 9-5 had the 8 speaker system and tho stock it was a pleasure to listen to music in that car.
 

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Chain driven engines (excluding 1,8i (Z18XA) and diesel engines).
07 is pre-facelift 08 is facelift.
I highly suggest that you consider Prestige 300 (10 speaker) or Bose Centerpoint system because you told that sound system matters to you.
 

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The old 54* V6 found in the earlier cars wasn't great. The 3.0l in the 9000 and 9-5 was "fine," but the 2.5l in the NG900 was not. For people who wanted a V6 badge and a little smoother power delivery, I guess the V6 was the option, but it was never as good in terms of performance, reliability, or maintenance as the four cylinder.

The B284 in the 9-3SS is a very solid motor. The GM High Feature V6 is widely used across all GM cars - derivatives are still being sold today. It's a totally modern, well-designed engine. The major issue with the V6 in the 9-3SS is that it's pretty shoe-horned in there, which has created some cooling system issues (it tends to melt the coolant reservoir over 100k or so) and some maintenance issues - the thermostat is a royal PITA, and changing the rear spark plugs is annoying... not any more annoying than ANY FWD V6 IME, but still annoying. My opinion is that a period of annoyance every 75,000-90,000 miles isn't worth getting your panties in a bunch over.

My opinion is that once you get into the '07 cars with the non-fiber-optic audio system, you are directly into the B207 motors that drop intake valves and blow themselves up. For the annoyances the B284 offers, at least it never kersplodes itself. If you find one that's been fixed already, then no worries. Then you just have maintenance hassles like the water pump and vacuum pump … but those fall into the "once every 75-90k/don't get your panties in a bunch" category.

So, each motor has pros and cons, but intake valve issue aside neither is a clear maintenance/performance/reliability improvement over the other. It's give & take in both directions. They are both very decent motors, well designed from top to bottom.

I've got a fair amount of seat time in 2.0l cars, and IME a mildly tuned 2.0l doesn't hold a candle to a stock 2.8l in terms of shredding tires, never mind a mildly tuned V6. Getting a B207 to 300hp requires a turbo replacement. Getting a B284 to 300hp requires a software update. Not that you need 300hp - I'm just illustrating the point. :) No replacement for displacement? The stock 260hp V6 is a smooth, competent rocket ship. It feels every bit as far as all the 300hp Germans running around.

I don't know the audio systems in the 9-3SS very well... I feel like our Aero has more than ten speakers though. Dash, doors, tailgate, sub. 13? It's not the best stock system I've ever heard, but it's solid. Lack of Bluetooth and USB is an annoyance, but that is fixable if I really cared. And, my wife (who usually drives the car) does NOT. She's got her XM Radio and she's 100% satisfied. It does everything it's supposed to. I suppose it's ironic that I don't like the not-readily-upradeable fiber system but I haven't upgraded the easy-to-upgrade analog system. WHATEVER!

Mmmm… the only thing I would add is that unless you absolutely need it, I'd avoid XWD. There weren't many of them made, expertise on the system is limited, and it's not 100% reliable over the long term. IMO, as cool as it is it's just way too big of a maintenance hassle to justify against the utility.
 

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I've had my 09 combi 2.0 for a little more than a year and have put about 48k on, it now resides at 178k. Other than normal consumables (brakes, shocks, tires, etc.), I have had to have the cluster rebuilt at 135k to fix a wonky tach, and put a balance chain kit in it at 175k. Mine has the LED tail lights and I have just ordered a repair kit for the left rear. My daily commute is 150-200 miles and I am very happy with this little wagon.
 

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I have a 2008 2.0T SC with 223K on it. Other than tires, brakes, and suspension, it has had no issues. It is beginning to use a little oil (maybe a quart in 5K) and has a power steering leak somewhere other than the usual pump leak issues. It is quiet, smooth, reasonably fast, has great seat and sound, and is handles well. I am truly impressed with how nice it is for so many miles on the odometer.
 

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I have a 2008 Aero SC V6 I bought in 2012. I also have a 2004 Aero SS and a 2011 Vert, both 2.0T.
I owuld go with a V6 all day long and twice on Sundays. My SC had a low 33,000 miles on it when I bought it, around 82,000 miles now. Replaced the plastic coolant reservoir with the Genuine SAAB aluminum one (got the strut bar too, while they sell the strut bar separately, they do not sell the coolant tank by itself, I think it is needed to mount and clear the coolant tankV6 2.8t Coolant Tank and Strut Bar Kit, GenuineSaab.com ).

Buy one with as low a mileage as you can find/afford. Make sure you see service records and gauge the reliability of the owner. Mine was an Arizona car originally, brought to San Diego, and I brought it back home to Tucson. The V6 is so much smoother and faster. I got a Maptun basic stage tune and it helped the 250 HP up to probably around 290-300 HP. The 6 speed auto is better than th e5 speed too, IMHO.

No major issues over 8 years of ownership. New tires, new struts/shocks, new coils/ plugs, oil changes. Going to do the first brake job in a couple of months, still some life left on what I assume were the original pads and discs. Second O2 sensor failed recently. Also replaced the front bumper with the 2012 Griffen one from eSaab parts. I completely trashed the original Aero one. Parking lot curbs and curbs is general in Tucson are high due to wanting to keep monsoon rains confined to the street. The Aero bumper combined with our long front overhang makes it an issue going up curbs into driveways. The Griffen one is more like a non-Aero as far as height. Looks great too, and how many can say they have the look of the never made 2012? (I guess a few were made but not generally available)

And they chew up batteries due to underhood heat. Mine last only 3- 3.5 years ( of course our summers are 100-110 much of the time)
 

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271132
 

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2012 Saab 9-3 manufactured:
convertible: 95
sedan: 435
wagon: 524
TOTAL: 1054 cars
 

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2012 Saab 9-3 manufactured:
convertible: 95
sedan: 435
wagon: 524
TOTAL: 1054 cars
I thought they did some 2012, but in the US I never see them advertised for sale. If I search for 2012 in the cars sites they show 2011 models only
 

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Wrong grille and no ice blocks. ;)
 

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Wrong grille and no ice blocks. ;)
Don't know about the honeycomb grill, it is what was supplied with the kit. And where do iceblocks go on the front?


I did find some 2012 photos of the grille, you are right, it was more of a set of vertical and horizontal bars, but if not original, I do like this one better
 

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Lower honeycomb grille is in Aero model, others have horizontal lines grille.
Ice blocks are headlights (hint of blue).
 
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