Saab 9-3

Saab 9-3 Parkers 2015-07-07

The Saab 9-3 was brought out in 1998 as a replacement for the 900, and built on its predecessor’s solid build quality and reliability.

  • Saab 9-3 Sportwagon (05-11)
  • Saab 9-3 Convertible (03-11)
  • Saab 9-3 Saloon (02-11)
  • Saab 9-3 Hatchback (98-02)

The Saab 9-3 was brought out in 1998 as a replacement for the 900, and built on its predecessor’s solid build quality and reliability.

It promised to add some excitement to that formula and was available in its first generation as a three and five door hatchback, as well as a convertible.

Marketed on Saab’s aircraft heritage, the 9-3 provided a stylish alternative to BMW and Audi offerings available at the time. Deep down the first generation 9-3 was largely based on its GM stable mate the Vauxhall Cavalier.

Pulse-racing performance came courtesy of the 9-3 Viggen (Swedish for thunderbolt) which had a 2.3-litre turbocharged engine capable of 225bhp, and later 230bhp.

In 2002 a replacement came along in the form of the second generation 9-3, this time sharing a platform with the Vauxhall Vectra. Unlike its predecessor it took the form of a saloon, rather than a hatchback.

Saab 9-3 Quick Links

Most Popular Model Reviews

Saab 9-3 Hatchback 1998 - 2002

3 out of 5
Saab 9-3 Hatchback 1998 - 2002

New price range:
£16,495 - £30,845

Used price range:
£200 - £2,827

Performance; interior design; comfort
Handling is not as sporty as some rivals

Saab 9-3 X 2009 - 2011

3.5 out of 5
Saab 9-3 X 2009 - 2011

New price range:
£26,385 - £28,575

Used price range:
£3,372 - £7,497

Extra security of all-wheel drive and off road ground clearance . . .
. . . is only available on the petrol model

Saab 9-3 Sportwagon 2005 - 2011

3.5 out of 5
Saab 9-3 Sportwagon 2005 - 2011

New price range:
£18,350 - £34,550

Used price range:
£501 - £7,018

Sharp styling on newer models, strong turbocharged engine performance, comfortable ride
Lack of rear space, feels dated inside, alternatives are better to drive, boot isn't particularly generous

Saab 9-3 Competitors

Volvo V40

Volvo V40

Audi A4

Audi A4

Alfa Romeo 159

Alfa Romeo 159