Saab 9-3 & 9-5 model info needed

Discussion in 'Cars in General' started by JCE, Nov 4, 2009.

  1. JCE

    JCE

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    Can someone give me a good solid amount of info in the models/trims of the North American Saab 9-3 and 9-5?

    What is the Sport, Linear, Aero and Arc in the model line? What are the other models in the range? And most importantly how good are they really being GM products?

    I have my reasons for asking for which someone *cough* will most likely answer and answer enthusiastically. :lol:
     
  2. YSSMAN

    YSSMAN Premium

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    I'll admit that my knowledge of the vehicles themselves is somewhat limited despite my love for all things GM. Historically speaking, the cars themselves are pretty old, if that helps. The current 9-3 dates back to 2002, the 9-5 going back as deep as 1998. Generally speaking, they haven't changed a whole lot other than some modest changes in exterior dimensions, and some various interior updates. All of the "modern era" GM Saabs use the same Saab-tuned Ecotec family turbocharged engines, matched to their own special five speed automatic, with available front or all wheel drive.

    Other than that, there isn't a significant amount of difference between a lot of the models other than power output and some of the special trimmings offered. As time went on, GM (just like with any other product) eventually got the mix right for the power/comfort/handling/ride balance necessary to be an attractive buy, especially as a used vehicle. Late model versions are damn-near bulletproof, or at least, that's my understanding. I'd bank on those produced after 2002 for the 9-3 to be a pretty solid buy, as for the 9-3, probably after 2005. Although, I'm not totally sure.

    If you want some "ZOMG" to go with your "BORK BORK BORK," you're going to have to go for a 2006+ version that would offer the 2.8T V6. But, that I assume would be far out of your suggested price range.
     
  3. JCE

    JCE

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    How did you know I was asking for my own car hunt? :sly:

    Basically my goal is to get the most amount of luxury + power + manual transmission + possible convertible with the least amount of money. I'm seeing 2004-2005 9-3 Aero convetibles for $10-13k with varying mileage. I just don't know what model trims are what and where they fit.

    Saabs are so undocumented its not even funny, even wiki isn't much help with the trims themselves.
     
  4. homeforsummer

    homeforsummer Premium

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    The trim levels I'd assume are similar to those in the UK:

    Sport - Not sure, we don't get this in the UK
    Linear - Base model. Cloth seats, small wheels, still a fair amount of toys
    Aero - Top spec - sporty trimmings, leather/cloth trim, good looking bodykit, biggest engines
    Arc - Semi-luxurious one, full leather, loads of toys, good mix of engines.

    There's no real "heirarchy" of models other than the Aero being at the top and the Linear at the bottom - unless the Sport is somehow the base model in the States, in which case I'd presume "Sport" is a misnomer.
     
  5. micke_o

    micke_o

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    The "new" 9-3 has a more modern chassies than the 9-5 which is about to be replaced with a completely new 9-5 next year I think. There's a lot more room inside a 9-5 than a 9-3.

    As someone said, they've been updated over the years. The handling of the 9-5 with standard chassies is A LOT better if you compare a '99 and a '03 with a '07 for example - even if you take the difference in mileage into account.

    I don't know about differences between European models and North American ones. Maybe these guys know:

    http://forum.saabturboclub.com/viewforum.php?f=27&sid=e7213085b8937491b220066b71b771e0
     
  6. High-Test

    High-Test

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    I drove a 200(3?) 9-3 for almost two years. My mom had one for about the same amount of time.

    Her car was an angel, and she had no trouble whatsoever.

    Mine seemed to have been built by angry chrysler workers. In four years, the car ate two transmissions and was destroying its third when we got rid of it in 2007. It also thought O2 sensors were a delicacy, so it ate those happily as well.

    I don't know if I had the bad apple or if it really is hit or miss with the 9-3. They're fantastic cars, and quite fun to drive. They could get a little pricey to work on.

    I averaged about 26 miles per gallon in mine, and that was 100% teenaged leadfoot driving. The seats are quite good, and the whole interior has a really good feel to it.

    Despite the issues I had (fear of getting shut down by the "gearbox malfunction" error message) I would recommend it. They've fallen in value dramatically, and you should be able to pick one up for as low as nine grand.

    The earlier of the GM 9-3s aren't bad on the eyes, wither.
     
  7. micke_o

    micke_o

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    Was that automatic or manual trannys breaking down on you? If it's eating trannys like that I would suspect some other cause than bad trannys (even though the manual ones aren't known to be indestructable...).

    Uhm - eating O2-sensors too you say. Tuning chip = lots of torque killing tranny and causing the fuel/air mixture to be other than perfect? Or just bad luck :-(
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2009
  8. High-Test

    High-Test

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    Bad Luck.

    It was bone stock, with the auto with the "sport shift" or whatever cutesy name GM gave it.

    My stepmom had it first, and she's the most cautious driver I know. The transmission blew up twice on her, and when we sold it it was slipping out of second. (and no longer under warranty)

    When I say blew up, the car just shut down on the side of the road and would not start again, popping up a message on the infotainment system that read "gearbox malfunction: contact saab service immediately." Sometimes it was a fluke and the car would start again, between five and twenty minutes later. Two of those times it was not a joke and my stepmom was stranded for an hour until a towtruck came. She also got a few flukes of the transmission error. I don't know if it was a sensor going bad somewhere that controlled the entire slushbox, but something was not right, even on the third go-around.

    I took "ownership" of the car at about 58,000 miles and it was on transmission number three. When we dumped it two years later (I was afraid of it giving me the error that was becoming more and more common) it had 84,000 miles on it and it was "slipping out of second" according to our independent mechanic.


    JCE, if you can find one that's screwed together right, they're fantastic cars. Seriously. Fair amount of room, quite good roadholding, a great interior, and they're very zippy even with the 2.0t.

    The 2.0T (the 210 horse variant, the Vector) is a rocketship if it makes the 2.0t look slow. I'm frightened of what the 2.8 does if I can have so much fun with the base engine.
     
  9. JCE

    JCE

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    There is apparently a Sport Sedan, Linear, Aero and finally Arc. But I had no idea what distinguished these other than the engines. So the Arc is the luxury model, but does it have the fast engine? Or does the Aero have the hot engine? I'm seriously considering the Saab for alot of reasons. The main one being reasonable low mileage newer models for cheap. I saw a 2005 9-3 2.0t manual transmission convertible with less than 30k miles for $9,995. That's incredible value!

    I've recently heard nothing but good things about Saabs. Plus the depreciation is insane, I can get an almost new one for less than $15k and a mint condition 2004-2006 model for less than $12k--and those are Aero and Arc prices with or without a convertible roof! I'm sold as long as the build quality is there...and it holds up to my spirited driving style.

    And possibly the main #1 reason I like Saabs is the really nice interiors, they feel just "right".
     
  10. micke_o

    micke_o

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    In the past Aero has always been the one with the hottest engine (for at least some models the auto tranny have had lower maximum torque and/or missing overboost in the Aeros). Aero=sporty - they usually have upgraded brakes and sport chassies. Recently I've been seeing even diesels with Aero "signs"... Also, this might differ from market to market.
     
  11. Famine

    Famine Administrator

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    That's not saying much though. The 2003-on Saab 9-3 is a 2002 Vauxhall/Opel Vectra C while the 1997-2009 Saab 9-5 is a 1988 Vauxhall Cavalier/Opel Vectra A, both renowned amongst the floppiest, most turgid, numb-feeling chassis ever stuck under a car.
     
  12. micke_o

    micke_o

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    Maybe, but the 9-3 is still a newer construction than the 9-5. Also, I can assure you Saab made "a few" modifications to the chassies... Unfortunately I haven't driven the new (03->) 9-3 but quite a few 9-5. '99, '03, '07 and I own a '00 with sport chassies and that one is a lot sturdier than the '99 and the '03. Compared to the '07 (with the same wheel/tyre dimensions) my car is rolling less if you're pushing against the limits but there are quite some difference in comfort. The tradoff feels better in the '07 - maybe I'm getting old :-) Compared to other cars I think they're good - not the best but good, especially looking at the price. From what I've heard from friends who have driven/owned both 9-5 and 9-3 (new generation) the verdict has been that the 9-3 chassies are "funnier" but the engine characteristics are more boring than 9-5. Also, they have been developing over the years, luckily.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2009
  13. Famine

    Famine Administrator

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    There are adults just reaching legal drinking age in the USA that are of newer construction than the Saab 9-5's chassis.
     
  14. micke_o

    micke_o

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    :)