2003 Saab 9-3 Overview


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Avg. Price: $4,751
74 national listings
SE Convertible
Avg. Price: $5,305
5 national listings

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Average User Score

4.45 stars

Based on 34 reviews

Saab 9-3 by Tyler
 — Remember these ratings are relative. For a poor, married, college student, this car is about as good as it gets. Solid performance. Not a burner in a straight line, but fast enough to have fun. Get t... Read More
Saab 9-3 Sports Sedan, Fun Turbo by Sam
 — Saabs in general have never been main stream, there is something to be said however, for having a stylish Swedish car. I've had 3 Saabs up til now, and this one by far has been my favorite. Handling i... Read More
It Was A Great Car. Too Bad I Couldnt Keep It by Kevin
 — This was a great car. It was very nice. I had a leather interior. The power was very nice. It was only a 4 cylinder but it had a turbo and it could move. I had it up to 130 mph once and it rode v... Read More

2003 Saab 9-3 Overview

Overall User Score

4.4 out of 5 stars4.4 out of 5 stars4.4 out of 5 stars4.4 out of 5 stars4.4 out of 5 stars4.45

Based on 34 reviews

2003 Saab 9-3

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.


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Looking for a Used 9-3 in your area?
CarGurus has 1,247 nationwide 9-3 listings starting at $1,495.

Saab 9-3 Questions


Saab Top Wont Unlock In Back

2003 93 convertible wont unlock in back

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Replaced Map sensor after replacing new radiator, yet car continues to die when attempting to place car into drive

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For a few months my ignition switch was giving me intermittent problems. Sometimes the key would not turn, other times the key would turn, but the car would not start. I'd wait a few mins then it woul...

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Saab 20013 9-3 Soft Top Failure

The "soft top failure" happened midway when the top was begin lowered. I "rebooted" (restarted) the car a few times but it would not reset or budget. I was finally able to coax the clam shell and th...

10 views with no answers yet
M David Longval

2003 93 Convertible With Noise From Driver Side Rear Area. I Muffler Was ...

2003 93 convertible with noise from driver side rear area. I muffler was replaced last winter but is none the less suspect. However, when I step on the brake the sound stops. Could a brake part...

7 views with 1 answer (last answer about a month ago)