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Old 05-15-2013, 05:49 PM   #1
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Should I buy another Saab?

For the last ten years, I've been driving a Lightning Blue Viggen 5-door. The car has been breathed on by Nick T. and makes quite a bit of power. The engine and trans were rebuilt 50 or 60 thousand miles back, but the rest of the car has over a quarter of a million miles and is beginning to have some reliability issues.

The practicality of a hatchback is important to me, so I always figured that when I was ready for a new daily driver, I would buy something like a Mazdaspeed 3. I've been watching for an MS3 on Autotrader. Just for grins, I searched for a 9-3 Aero Sportcombi, and it seems like I might be able to get one for 10% less than an MS3 of comparable age and mileage.

I think the Aero is probably a lot more car for the money, but the problem is that is would be a Saab, with all that entails.

So, what do you guys think? MS3 or Aero? Or something else? And why?

Thanks!

Dave
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Old 05-15-2013, 06:03 PM   #2
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Have you driven an MS3?

For DD duty, an 04-05 9-5 (aero or not) is the place I'd rather spend the time, and you could spend under 10k$. I'm not sure of the problems a SAAB entails, we drive a few with 200k or more and they are great, used and new parts plentiful, easy to fix etc.

If I lived in Texas, I would not drive a FWD SAAB or Mazda (or Subaru).

There is a company from Germany, Bavarian Motor Werkes, the make BMWs, you should check them out. They don't make a hatchback in the price range, but you could just buy a 2wd pickup too.
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Old 05-15-2013, 06:15 PM   #3
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I've just had a short MS3 test drive a couple years back. I liked it pretty well, but I would need to drive one again.

My daily drive is about 50 miles one way, almost all highway. For that kind of a drive, you think a 9-5 is a better choice than a 9-3?

And as far as living in Texas, I take it that you're saying that if you lived in a place with no snow, you would drive a RWD car?

I've heard of that Bavarian outfit. In fact, I used to drive a 528i years and years ago.
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Old 05-15-2013, 06:40 PM   #4
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I could not sit 100 miles a day in Mazda seats after being in a Viggen.

For a 50 mile commute one way I'd prefer any 9-5 (esp. 02- aero) to any 99-02 9-3, viggen or otherwise....

Now if you throw in 03-10 9-3 Sport Sedans, with 6 speed manuals and 36 mpg highway (yes mine did that!), well that gets a little more nuanced.

If I lived down South I'd be enjoying rust-free-RWD-mid-90's-BMW-motoring year round

Was just being cheeky about BMW, what year was your 528? I think I'd consider FWD audi's and VWs well over the MS3. Have you tried a mk5 GTI or Jetta GLI? Or how about a TDI?
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Old 05-15-2013, 06:57 PM   #5
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My 528 was a 1980. The big-block BMW six was nice and torquey, and the Getrag box shifted well. It just got to be expensive to maintain, though. I ended up selling it to buy an Integra that ended up with cams and exhaust from Jackson Racing. That was a nice car.

I've driven a TDI wagon. I like the torque of the diesel motor, not to mention the mileage. VW kind of has a reputation for poor reliability, though, which makes them look less desirable to me.
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Old 05-15-2013, 08:50 PM   #6
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Focus ST > MS3
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Old 05-15-2013, 10:35 PM   #7
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I'll probably go drive a Focus ST. But I won't be finding a 5-year-old used one.
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Old 05-16-2013, 03:43 AM   #8
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We looked at ms3's for a little whole, but after finding out the rods were bending in factory bottom ends we gave up. They're are band aids to fix the problem, but didn't want to be caught in a situation of a complete rebuild because of a rod failure.
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Old 05-16-2013, 06:43 AM   #9
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There's a 2007 328i wagon for sale locally for $18,000, with 70k miles.

There's a 2007 9-3 Aero Sportcombi with 80k miles for sale for $12,000, but it's not local to me.
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Old 05-16-2013, 05:39 PM   #10
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Price on that BMW is high. Price on that SAAB is better, but not a steal and for 100 miles a day I'd rather have the 2.0 then the 2.8 for fuel economy

We have a clean and fully serviced, all maintenance up to date, new brakes, 2 sets of tires 06 325xi auto w/ 85k on our lot for 15k (i think) and that's xi and retail price (not that xi adds value in texas... but just for comparison sake).

Prepurchase inspection on anything German is highly recommend. The e90's can be a real roll of the dice. Some come in needing major work at 60k (oil leaks, water pumps, power steering pump leaks), others come in with 100k and not an issue to be found.

Last edited by NickTurbo900; 05-16-2013 at 05:42 PM.
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Old 05-16-2013, 07:31 PM   #11
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How does the automatic trans work with the 2.0 engine? I just figured that coming from a big power Viggen, I'd probably want the more powerful 9-3. It would be nice to get better than the 25 mpg that the Viggen is giving me, though.
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Old 05-16-2013, 07:36 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Viggen Dave View Post
How does the automatic trans work with the 2.0 engine? I just figured that coming from a big power Viggen, I'd probably want the more powerful 9-3. It would be nice to get better than the 25 mpg that the Viggen is giving me, though.
The 5 speed auto trans is world class, you won't find fault with it.

The 2.0 is a no lag, but not much boost feel, a very smooth kind of power delivery. But no punch like a Viggen, at least stock tune.

I got a consistent 36 on the highway with an 03 arc 6 speed 45 mile commute one way, 95% highway back in Maine. Gentle driving, 70 mph.

Mini Coopers (Clubman is the one I'd want, too small otherwise) can return some impressive mpgs (40) while still being a joy to drive.
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Old 05-17-2013, 11:35 AM   #13
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There's a 2006 Aero for sale here in town for $10,000. It's a new listing that just went on Autotrader today.
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Old 05-17-2013, 04:27 PM   #14
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2.8 is a great engine, but not as fuel efficient as a 4, but similar or better to the BMW engines. Make sure the 2.8 AC comp is good and works, there have been some issues there.
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