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Saab 9-3, Sedan
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#2434 of 3344 Re: Problems? [blockislandguy #2431]
May 17, 2004 (7:47 am)
Edmunds on the 9-3ss Linear stereo:
Full Test: 2003 Saab 9-3
By Erin Riches
Date posted: 11-26-2002
System Score: 5.0
Components: When we first flipped on the sound system in the new Saab 9-3, we were convinced that it couldn't be the completed factory system. After all, hadn't we been alerted by several Saab representatives that the vehicle we would be road testing was a "preproduction model," with all the ticks and faults that designation implies? "Surely," we said to ourselves, "Saab wouldn't put such a mediocre stereo system into a finished production vehicle — not Saab, a company renowned for the excellence of its sound systems. Certainly there must be some mistake. Saab wouldn't do this. Not Saab."
Imagine our surprise, then, when we contacted our local Saab factory rep and were assured that the stereo was, in fact, the finished system and that it would be debuting in the car across the nation. Here's the deal. The vehicle we reviewed, a Saab 9-3 Linear model, was optioned with the Linear Launch Package, which comes with a 150-watt, seven-speaker setup (Saab Entertainment 1) — without this package, the Linear has just a 70-watt amplifier. Those consumers wanting a better stereo should step up to the 9-3 Arc and Vector models, both of which contain a 300-watt, 13-speaker arrangement (Saab Entertainment 2). Our advice: Shell out for the better car and sound system. This one is a major disappointment.
A shame, too, since this system does have some nice features. The head unit, for instance, combines a wide topography with generous button spacing giving a great ergonomic feel. Pop-out dials for treble, bass, balance and fade provide further ease of use, plus a round, detented knob for volume is a snap to use. The system is rounded out with a six-disc, in-dash CD changer in the lower portion of the center stack, and steering wheel controls offer further ease of use with volume up-down and seek-scan.
All good so far. But the speakers won't win any awards. Although they are well positioned, with an array across the top of the dash that includes a centerfill midrange-tweet plus tweets in each corner, that's about all you get. A pair of 6.5-inch full-range drivers occupy the front doors, giving more midrange information to the listener, but scant little bass. Lastly, the world's worst and smallest full-range speakers, approximately three inches in diameter, are housed in the car's rear deck, firing upward into the cabin. Immediately adjacent to these little drivers are huge 6-by-9 cutouts with no speakers in them!
Performance: If you like midrange, you'll love this system. But if you like a little bass to go with your treble, you'll be sorely disappointed. This one sounded like a boom box on steroids — and not very good steroids, either. If the Saab engineers had gone just one step further and dropped a pair of 6-by-9 full-range drivers in the vacant cutouts in back, we'd probably be reporting a completely different story. As it is, this system will leave the consumer wanting more.
Best Feature: Ergonomic head unit.
Worst Feature: Extremely poor bass response.
Conclusion: If you listen to anything more than AM radio, you'll likely be disappointed in the sound system in the Saab 9-3 Linear. We strongly suggest you pay the extra money and get into an Arc or Vector model. Your ears will thank you, if not your pocketbook. — Scott Memmer
#2435 of 3344 Saab for all
May 17, 2004 (10:54 am)
I do feel very sorry for those posts from who has bad experiences with 9-3ss. And I always worry about if anyone come to here and watch these bad only bad infos about this car, might be scared away. So I would like to share some of my good side of expereinces. I have 2003 9-3ss since Nov 15 2002. So it seems like the car is the first generaltion. At the seond of ownership I had sort of big accident with Builk under estimate speed 50MPH. This car was not only survived from that car accident and only cost other driver 1200 to fix the minor part broken(other driver's fault). Hard to image if that day I was driving Honda or Toyota or even Lexus... And until now day afetr over 25k miles there is no any rattle and losing part. To me, this car really rock. I will admit it the stero is not that good or even say it's really bad. But most of time I listen to audio books. with this 6-disks feature really help me a lots without changing the cd. Mine has lounch package and I do really love them. After I study how they were going to design and plan for the fresh new factory. I just cou;dnt wait for Arc come out and got the Linear as soon as I test drove it. And until now I still fully happy about this. I dont really like the wood panel anyway. So it's not bother me at all. If someone ask me what will I get today. Even Accura come out some new cars. Afetr I review them in person. I still choose thie car Saab 9-3 iwthout any hestiate. special in this price.
#2437 of 3344 Re: Problems? [tomw #2433]
May 17, 2004 (1:37 pm)
Wish I monitored this site more often so my reply would be more timely...but none the less...What did you lease?The car that Sports
car International called "The best car to ever car to come out of
Trollhatten"or were you looking foe a boombox on wheels? Why didn't
you simply call a SAAB dealer as to Arc/Vector availability?Do you
honestly think you couldn't of pre-ordered the EXACT car you want.
I took delivery of my '03 Vector on 04/02/03 and I LOVE IT!You might
benefit by picking up a copy of this months "European Car"magazine where they wrap up a year-long extnded 24,000 mile test.You may find a slight difference of opinion from yours.Is the sound system as good
as it could/should be...No,it's not.It's also nowhere near as bad as
you describe.By the way...my credentials? 15 years as a professional
sound engineer(tours with Prince,Heart,Bob Seger,Doobie Bros.to name
a few)currently have $25k.plus invested in my home audio system.No
brag,just fact. I think overall your post could be shortened to"WAAAH,
they wrap up a year long
#2438 of 3344 Re: Problems? [lcp1 #2437]
May 17, 2004 (6:24 pm)
1) I didn't call a dealer about Ark availability out of concern that a dealer will promise availability just to make a sale -- it seemed (and still seems) to me that the authoritative source is the manufacturer / importer.
2) I didn't preorder because the early-out deal on my 2000 9-5 was premised on taking delivery out of stock, not on an ordered Arc.
3) With all due respect to your sound engineer status, I stand by my impression that the sound system is terrible -- as verified by Edmunds professional reviewer. I'm glad that you like your Vector, but note too that it has a much different sound system than the one I am complaining about. For instance, take out your rear speakers and replace them with the 3-inchers in my Linear and see what you think. (The last time I saw such small speakers was back in the 1970's - the mono radioninstallation kits for FIAT 128 sedans has similar speakers).
May 17, 2004 (7:45 pm)
tomw, leaving aside (and unaddressed) the main thrust of my post, I have a technical question. Just for discussion sake, I wonder how much it would cost at dealer wholesale (check the ads in the classified section of any issue of Autoweek) to buy the Arc or Vector speakers that you don't have?
Incidentally there is a good piece in one of the auto rags I scanned tonite at Barnes and Noble on upgrading the sound system in a BMW530i. Seems the stock system in this 63K MSRP sedan needs $4700 before it is any good. The contact is Speaker Works in Orange, CA 714.997.9880.
#2440 of 3344 Re: Speaker Upgrades [blockislandguy #2439]
May 18, 2004 (5:59 pm)
Thanks for the suggestion, I do appreciate your effort to help.
I'm just not inclined to spend any money improving a leased car -- if it was owned and/or if I intended to buy it out at the end of the lease it would be different.
I know you think I'm overreacting. I'm not being a pig -- I don't expect an "audiophile" level system -- just one commensurate with the car's price range. In fact, I'd be satisfied if they'd make the stereo in my 9-3ss sound like the one in the Chevy Cavalier the dealer gave me when they were installing the OnStar.
The system in the 9-3ss Linear really is terrible -- is it too much to ask the factory to "upgrade" the system to sound at least as good as one in a Chevy Cavalier?
May 18, 2004 (8:56 pm)
You know, I am totally agree that sound system in current 9-3 ss is not very bad set up. Don't know why they forgot to invole a good sound system into this re-design sport sedean which they bet all the hope and luck on it. Those engineers must have the same idea as my co-worker who think driving is an art. Need to put 100% mind on the driving. total enjoy the drive sence.
May 19, 2004 (6:37 pm)
We may be in the market for a imported sedan soon. As a guy who likes to buy low and hold, I just love the rotten resale on SAABS. What other brand lets you pay just 50% of MSRP two years down the road? (Admittedly, unlike BMW etc. only Olaf himself pays within 7K of MSRP on a SAAB.) A quick look at Edmunds TMV figures puts a 2002 9-5 AERO at 20K or so. What does the board think, which would be a better investment/fun to drive: a used 9-3 SS or a used 9-5? Do I wait six months and pick up a used '03 9-3 or a '02 used 9-5. I think that they will be equally priced (although I guess I'll have to throw in some speakers into the 9-3).
Living in New England, I fear the AERO 17" wheels and lowered stance. I don't really want to have to replace the wheels or buy new 17" tires at $200 a pop after every pothole. I like everything else about the AERO (both 9-3 and 9-5). Naturally, I'm going to have to ditch the 17" wheels come winter and put on a Tire Rack package of 16" wheels/tires. How tacky would it be to run 16" wheels year round over our potholes and frost heaves?
May 19, 2004 (6:49 pm)
I have the same situation on my 04 Arc. I was told that Saab is aware of the problem and that there is no fix, maybe in the future. I'll believe it when I see it. I believe it is a brake dust buildup problem because it does temporarily go away after a thorough car wash.