I really like the new SAAB 2.0 L Turbo sedan. The SAAB Convertible is a great looking car.

When I decide to buy, I want to seriously look and drive the SAAB. It is a top choice.

According to an article in Kiplinger Magazine, (Oct 07) the SAAB automobile is one of the worse automobiles concerning repair and dependability. One person advised me that if I would purchase a SAAB, I should hire a full time mechanic to take care of it.

What is your opinion (Crystal Ball) on the SAAB?

Please advise me on this.

Thank you

Keith Miller

I live in IOWA.

No, SAABs are not the “worse” (or the worst) automobile in terms of reliability, but they are certainly not the best. You do not need to keep a mechanic on retainer in order to keep it running, despite what you were told.

SAABs, like VWs, are cars that are compatible with those who have a “spirited” driving style. If you are willing to accept a car that is many notches below Honda, Toyota, Subaru and perhaps Nissan in terms of reliability, then you will enjoy your SAAB’s performance. On the other hand, if you are looking for Japanese-style reliability in conjunction with SAAB performance, you will be sadly disappointed.

As the old saying goes, “you pays your money and you takes your choice” (sic).

Consumer Reports rates the reliability of the Saab 9-3 as " much worse than average," and the 9-5 as “average.” The 9-5 is “recommended,” which is pretty good for CR. Owning a Saab will cost more, initially and over the long haul, than owning a Honda or Toyota. This is true of any of the Euro-brand cars, but if that’s what you want, go for it.

I suggest you drive as many cars as possible before you decide. There are people who LOVE Saabs and won’t drive anything else. There are also people who have horror stories about their ownership experience with a Saab, and will never buy another.

If you deal with an independent mechanic, I suggest you ask him or her for an opinion. Personally, I wouldn’t touch a Saab with a ten foot pole, but that’s just me. If you simply MUST have one, consider leasing it, and then turn it in BEFORE the warranty period expires.

You won’t need to have a live-in mechanic, but finding a good Saab mechanic might be wise. It’s either that or pay the dealer (Ouch!).

Buy what you want and what you can afford. Never, ever lease a car, pay cash if at all possible. Maintain it like it was an aircraft, and keep it forever. Ignore the silly reliability ratings.

Craig56 has a good point. A Saab is a car you either like or don’t. A colleague of mine is a reliability engineer and consultant. He is a sporting type of person and loves his Saab. Since he knows every nut and bolt of the car, he practices "“proactive” maintenance, which means you don’t allow anything to fail. You just relace it when it starts to move up the “wear out curve”. That’s how expensive industrial equipment is maintained. This type of maintenance also resembles good health care. You don’t wait until you have an incurable desease; you get checkups and tests.

So ask the person who advised you to hire a full time mechanic just how many SAABs they’ve owned, or even driven.
Ignore any magazine articles, surveys, or anything else as there is just not enough information provided when rating a car.
A complaint on a car does not autoamtically mean the car is at fault, although many car owners don’t see it that way.

For what it’s worth, I’ve owned a SAAB in the past, currently own 2 SAABs, and have worked as a SAAB tech in the past. I’ve never had to do any transmission work on them and very few engine repairs. The few engine repairs that were needed were always owner inflicted; out of oil, driving it while overheated, or in the worst cases - tampering with the turbocharger waste gates.

As a SAAB tech I’ve had to put up with some cantankerous SAAB owners who will flog those cars in to the pavement until it breaks and then complain to the heavens that it’s not their fault even though the evidence says otherwise. How do you think those people will respond to any customer survey from Consumer Reports, J.D. Powers, etc.?
JMHO anyway for what it’s worth.

Absolutely correct! If the OP is willing to spend what it takes to fix whatever might go wrong (which you should do with ANY vehicle), he or she will be happy with a Saab. There is nothing wrong with a Saab (well, since GM bought them things have gone downhill, but that’s another topic). My point is that owning a Saab is a commitment. Not like owning a Honda or Toyota. You have to WANT to own and drive a Saab. Same with Volvo, BMW, Jaguar, and VW. I hope he or she is happy with a Saab, but, as I said, I wouldn’t touch one. My Subaru is bad enough.

A Saab and a turbo? It is a good way to look for trouble. Any turbo can be a problem. A Saab engine likes to blow head gaskets too. General Motors owns Saab now, so don’t expect great things from it. When people see you driving a Saab, they know you got no game.

“Likes to blow head gaskets”, huh. “Got no game”. Spare me this drivel unless you’ve owned/driven/repaired SAABs.
Guess you did not know that GM has owned a least a part of SAAB for 30 YEARS, Ford and Triumph built engines for SAAB under contract before that, and Borg-Warner handled the transmission end of things.

If you think I’m BSing about GM being involved with SAAB 30 years ago then raise the hood on say a late 70s SAAB 900 and take a look at the air compressor. You will see a lowly GM R4 sitting there.

Nonsense, I drove a 900 turbo for about 275K miles without a problem. How many have you owned?