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Average User Score
4.4 ⁄ 5 stars
Based on 31 reviews
2003 Saab 9-3 Overview
Overall User Score
Based on 31 reviews
The Saab 9-3 was completely overhauled for 2003, as the GM-owned Swedish automaker unveiled an entirely new build platform and body styles, updated power plants, and a fully redesigned interior. The trim levels were also renamed, and the number of 9-3 variants was reduced from five to four.
The 9-3 SE Convertible is the only familiar name in the 2003 lineup, and it is only only available version of the convertible body. The coupe has been discontinued entirely. The five-door hatchback body has been replaced with a true four-door sedan, which is offered in three trim levels. The base model is called the Linear, followed by the mid-level Arc and the top tier Vector.
The 2.0 liter inline four returns as the foundation for the 9-3's turbocharged power plants, but two new variations of this engine are less powerful than before. The Linear's 2.0 delivers 175 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque, while the 2.0 liter unit in both the Arc and Vector models supplies 210 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque. The SE Convertible houses the same 205 horsepower engine. The convertible and the Linear sedan come standard with a five-speed manual transmission, and the four-speed automatic is still optional on the SE. The Arc and Vector get a six-speed manual. All sedans are eligible for a new five-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy is estimated at 22/31 for the sedans and 22/32 mpg for the SE Convertible.
Unfortunately, according to owners, the total redesign did not address the 9-3's questionable reliability and poor ergonomics. Reviewers noted that the interior was significantly modernized, but the poorly designed dash-mounted cup holders remained. Drivers described them as useless, flimsy and poorly placed. Owners also warned about frequent maintenance. Common issues included excessive brake wear, radiator and transmission problems and a variety of nagging electrical issues. However, others have added that the 9-3 is quite powerful for a car that achieves 30+ mpg gas mileage, and despite some continued turbo lag, the 9-3 is regarded as fun to drive.
What's your take on the 2003 Saab 9-3?
Saab 9-3 Questions
9-3 Shuts Off While Driving
It shuts off with a loud relay sound at the ign switch, it starts right back up. It seems to be only with the lights on.
Saab Won't Stay Running Or Won't Stay Started While Running
Hi my name is jelani galloway and I live in toledo Ohio. I have a 2003 Saab 9-3 2.0 turbo. I have has the vehicle for about 3 months and have recently put a lot of money into it making sure it runs p...
Help: Shock / Strut And Lowering Springs That Will Work With My Se
This question regards what after market upgrade shocks / structs and lowering springs will work with my car. Issue is that I have looked at probably a dozen different online sites that sell these pr...
Some Debris Got Down Into The Key Turn Switch And It Is Starting To Not Tur...
sticky tiny little key chain fell down into the key turn on switch. It's going to turn in to a huge prob if I cant get them out. It's already sticking. Poor single mom w/no $$$ needs help. How can I...