2001 Saab 9-3 Overview


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2001 Saab 9-3 Overview

The Saab 9-3 returns for 2001 with three body styles, but the Base Convertible has been dropped from the lineup. OnStar and traction control are now standard on all 9-3 models. A few new color options debut this year, and the sedans get new 15-inch alloy wheels.

All 9-3 variants are equipped with the basics: power windows, power locks, air conditioning and cruise control. The Convertible is available in SE and Viggen trims, while the Coupe is offered in Base and Viggen styles. The five-door sedans comes in all three levels: Base, SE, and Viggen.

All 9-3 engines are variations of a turbocharged inline four cylinder. The Base level 9-3s, regardless of body style, are powered by a 2.0 liter version, which generates 185 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. This engine is paired with a five-speed manual transmission, while a four-speed automatic is optional. The SE models also house the 2.0 liter mill, but the turbo is boosted here for 205 horsepower and 209 pound-feet of torque. The transmissions options are the same. The powerful Viggen is set apart by its 2.3 liter turbocharged four, which churns out 230 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Only a five-speed manual transmission is offered.

Owners of the SE and Viggen models have expressed satisfaction with the strong turbo acceleration, but expert reviewers warn of severe torque steer, which hampers the overall feeling of control. Many owners admit to buying the 9-3 for its unique styling, but a considerable number of those owners express disappointment with the car's reliability. Many report small but nagging problems, which are then complicated by expensive service and scarcity of parts.

Favorite features include OnStar, traction control, heated seats, and the interior flexibility of the five-door hatchback. The dash-mounted cup holders have been widely panned, or at least by those who dislike coffee all over their dashboard.


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