Premium midsize car; Built in Sweden
  • 2-door convertible
  • 2-door hatchback
  • 4-door sedan
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $1,000 – $3,200*


1991 Saab 900S 2-door convertible


1991 Saab 900 Turbo Special Edition 2-door convertible


1991 Saab 900 2-door convertible


1992 Saab 900 2-door convertible


1992 Saab 900 2-door convertible


1993 Saab 900 Turbo 2-door hatchback

Pros:
  • Acceleration (turbo)
  • Antilock brakes (optional)
  • Handling/roadholding
  • Passenger and cargo room
Cons:
  • Automatic-transmission performance
  • Manual-shift linkage
  • Ride (turbo)
  • Wind noise

All-in-all, the 900 of the early ’90s is a bit too trouble-prone and quirky for our tastes, but it makes an interesting choice for someone looking for a luxury car that defies the norm.

Overview

While the basic design for the 900 model of the early ’90s was 20 years old, these cars aged well. Taking a look at the model lineup, both the base 900 and 900S came in 2-door hatchback and 4-door notchback formats, powered by a standard 2.0-liter 4-cylinder. The 128-horsepower engine came paired with either a 5-speed manual or 3-speed automatic transmission. Next in line were the three Turbo models in 2-door hatchback, 4-door notchback, and 2-door convertible configurations, plus the top-end Turbo SPG 3-door. All featured a turbocharged version of Saab’s 2.0-liter 4-cylinder, also available with either a 5-speed manual or a 3-speed automatic gearbox. Features added in 1990 included antilock brakes, a driver-side airbag, and a new 18-gallon fuel tank.

Yearly Updates

1991 900/Turbo
For 1991, Saab enlarges the 900’s naturally aspirated engine and a drops the slow-selling 4-door Turbo model. The previous 2.0-liter engine is replaced with a 2.1-liter twin-cam unit, with horsepower increasing by 12, to 140. New front seats, similar to those in the more expensive Saab 9000 are added to both the 900 and 900S, as are rear-seat headrests.
1992 900/Turbo
Saab discontinues its top-line 900 Turbo SPG with its body flairs and rear spoiler. Otherwise, these premium sedans carry over with only subtle alterations.
1993 900/Turbo
Base hatchbacks and sedans shed last year’s 900 tag and pick up the 900S designation. An all-new 900 would be ready for the ’94 model year.

Engines

transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

In 1990, both the base 900 and uplevel 900S are powered by a standard 2.0-liter 4-cylinder. The engine provides 128 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 128 pound-feet at 3000 rpm. It comes paired with either a 5-speed manual or 3-speed automatic transmission. For 1991, Saab enlarges the 900’s naturally aspirated engine. The 2.0-liter engine is replaced with a 2.1-liter twin-cam unit, with horsepower increasing by 12, to 140 at 6000 rpm. Torque is up by 5 pound-feet, to 133 pound-feet at 2900 rpm. Next are the two turbocharged versions of the 2.0-liter 4-cylinder. The first powers three Turbo models and provides 160 horsepower at 5500 rpm and 188 pound-feet of torque at 3000 rpm. The top-end Turbo SPG 3-door, dropped for the ’92 model year, features the same engine, but a separate turbocharger. It delivers 175 horsepower at 5500 rpm and 195 pound-feet of torque at 3000 rpm.

dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.0/121
Engine HP 128
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 128
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
3-speed automatic
22/28
19/22
dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.1/129
Engine HP 140
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 133
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
3-speed automatic
20/26
18/21
20.1

Turbocharged dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.0/121
Engine HP 160
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 188
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
3-speed automatic
22/29
19/23
Turbocharged dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.0/121
Engine HP 175
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 195
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual

21/28

Road Test

Nonturbo versions are not able to match the acceleration of other cars in this price class. So the standard 5-speed manual is the transmission of choice for wringing what power there is out of both the 2.0-liter and 2.1-liter 4-cylinder engines. However, shift action can be notchy at times, as the lever balks going into gear.

Turbo models are much more spirited performers, but more costly as well. Their stiffer suspension delivers a rougher ride, and the performance tires produce noticeable thumping over rough pavement. We prefer the suspension on 900S models, which are wonderfully supple over bumps, yet firm at speed. Body lean is the rule in fast turns, but these cars stick to the pavement very well.

Saab 900’s chairlike seating positions and spacious interiors provide ample room for four adults, though three-abreast seating in back is not recommended. Gauges are simple and controls close at hand. However, Saab retains a piece of its quirky heritage by being the only production car with the ignition switch located on the floor between the front seats. On hatchbacks and sedans, luggage space varies from ample with the rear seats up to cavernous with it folded down.

Ratings

Model Tested: 1992 Saab 900S

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 4
40%
Fuel Economy - 6
60%
Ride Quality - 6
60%
Steering/Handling - 6
60%
Quietness - 5
50%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 4
40%
Room/Comfort Front - 4
40%
Room/Comfort Rear - 3
30%
Cargo Room - 4
40%

Other

Value - 3
30%

Total: 45

Specifications

2-door convertible
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
99.1 184.2 66.5 55.1
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
10.7 18.0 4
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
36.8 NA 41.7 NA
2-door hatchback
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
99.1 184.5 66.5 56.1
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
56.5 18.0 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
36.8 37.4 41.7 36.2
4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
99.1 184.3 66.5 56.1
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
53.0 18.0 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
36.8 37.4 41.7 36.2
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1993 900 2-door convertible

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Front Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision 181
Injury 74
Theft 182

Trouble Spots

Engine fan
Description: The battery may go dead because the cooling-fan relay, which allows the fan to run 10 minutes after the engine is turned off, keeps the fan on. (1990-93)
Hard starting
Description: The turbo bypass valve is secured with plastic clamps that break, causing hard starting and poor drivability. (all)
Poor drivability
Description: Stumble, stalling, or hesitation during the first minutes after startup is corrected by replacing the engine-control computer. (1990-93)
Power seat
Description: The rheostat for the heated driver’s seat on cars with velour upholstery gets damaged by static-electricity discharges. (1991-92)
Spark plugs
Description: The owner’s manual lists the wrong spark plugs. The correct plugs are NGK BCP5EV. (1992)
Tail/brake lights
Description: The brake-light switch tends to go out of adjustment which causes the brake lights to stay on and kill the battery. (1990-92)

Recall History

1993
Description: Front brakes are not adequately protected from road slush, salt, or water.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.