How reliable is an older Saab( 200,000 miles), well maintained ?
Any car with 200k miles is likely to have problems. Add Saab to that, and I would accept it as a gift, nothing more.
What is your definition of “reliable”? It will start and run fine as long as you are willing to pay some hefty repair bills. 200K miles, 11 years old means that stuff wears out and breaks occassionally. True of any 11 year old 200K car.
A Saab 9-3 compared to a Toyota Camry? I’d expect more problems with the 9-3 but if the Camry was trashed by previous owners and the 9-3 wasn’t then the advantage swings to the 9-3. Too many unknow variables to answer your question.
Particular issues with the 9-3 pertain to the turbo charger. Turbo’s run hot and can burn out, bearings go bad. A big repair bill if they do. Also the turbo needs a nice supply of clean synthetic oil to live a long life. If previous owners used conventional oil and didn’t change it frequently enough the turbo can be toast or on its way to the grave. Also the motor runs hot due to the turbo and can be prone to sludging if not given regular oil changes with synthetic oil. What do you know about “well maintained”? Is an important question with the 9-3.
If you get the 9-3 make sure you have a decent repair fund (ie $2,000) available to pay for repairs if needed.
If I were you, and really wanted to know, not just throw out random questions to get a thread going, I would do two things. One, a compression and bleed down test. Two, put a vacume gauge on it and run it to test for constant vacume. Those tests will tell you the basic condition of the rings, valves, cylinders and head gasket. If all that is still in reasonalby good shape, then I would buy and replace the water pump, alternator, fuel pump, fuel filter, plugs wires cap and arm (if it has them) and starter. Also check the brakes for needed repairs, the tires and alignment and shocks too. Then you would have a car that might be good for another 100k miles if you keep oil and coolant in it. But a lot of guys would dissagree with me I’m sure, however, if you do all the work yourself the money you spend on tools and a manual will be less than what you would spend on labor.
Being the owner of a 2001 Saab 9-3, be ready for a love-hate relationship. The 5-speed turbo is fun to drive, however I’ve had more mechanical problems with this 60,000 mile hand-me-down (from my non-mechanically inclined sister) than I’ve had with my 1983 Toyota Supra.
Still having regular MAF (mass air flow) sensor codes, even after replacing it with a rebuilt and then new MAF. The right rear electric window crank broke a year ago and I replaced it …only to have the left rear fail this past summer.
The DIC (direct ignition cassette…no plug wires) was a major international recall item. I learned that AFTER the car died on my 16-year old daughter in the school parking lot (smoke coming out from under hood). There was such a back-log on getting the needed part (free due to recall), the car sat idle for a ocuple months.
Anyway, if you are mechanically inclined and have a decent OBD II code reader, have fun!
Before you accept it as a gift make sure you can get a couple hundred dollars at the scrap yard for it.