Saab versus Volvo - Comparing and buying - Rodders44

Hi I'm hoping that someone may be able to advise me on which car, either a Saab9-3 1.9tid vector or the Volvo S60 2.0t se. They are both 03 reg, both have best part of a years MOT and have mileage of around 140 000. Priced at £1500. I am guessing the Saab probably has better fuel economy, being diesel. But have heard all sorts of problems regarding limp mode and fly wheel problems. The volvo appears to have the most reliable reviews? Both of these cars have good service history. I have no idea which is likely to be the best buy?! So if someone has first hand experience good and bad of these types of cars, I would be delighted. Many thanks!!

Saab versus Volvo - Comparing and buying - RT

A 2003 Saab 9-3 shares all it's mechanical bits with the Vectra-C of the same age, including the Fiat diesel - which should make identifying all the common issues easier as well as making it easier to obtain parts, eg swirl pots, DMF flywheel and DPF.

A 2003 Volvo S60 is pre-Ford in terms of design and parts.

I can't comment on Volvo but our family Vectra-C is costing about £1,000 in repairs every couple of years - just had the swirl pots and DPF done - 2 years ago had the DMF and glkow plugs done.

Saab versus Volvo - Comparing and buying - Rodders44

Okay, thank you. I don't know how to decide between the two really. But if those common issues are easier to identify on the Saab, then that would help. I am hoping that someone would be able to say, that one is definitely more reliable than the other?! But I guess that really you pays your money and takes your chance?

Saab versus Volvo - Comparing and buying - Happy Blue!

Both cheap to buy but expensive to run. The Volvo is petrol so may be less expensive in terms of repairs and I am not aware of any specific issues with that engine.

Being blunt, not sure I would buy such cars with only £1,500 as a budget unless I had another £1,500 put aside for eventualities.

Saab versus Volvo - Comparing and buying - corax

Both cheap to buy but expensive to run. The Volvo is petrol so may be less expensive in terms of repairs and I am not aware of any specific issues with that engine.

The most common issue is failure of the ETM, made by Magneti Marelli. There are places that can repair the unit.

Volvo were charging around £600 for a replacement, I don't know what their prices are currently.

Apart from that they are good strong engines.

Saab versus Volvo - Comparing and buying - craig-pd130

With cars nearly 12 years old and over 100K miles, it's simply a gamble. My instinct says the Volvo as the light-pressure petrol turbo motors are pretty reliable, but that's based on nothing more than what I read on forums. So much depends on the previous owners and service history. Even the most reliable car in the world will be on its last legs if it's been abused for over a decade.

I would scrutinise the history of each car VERY closely. See which one has the most receipts for work like brake discs, suspension parts, a recent clutch replacement etc. Are they both from a dealer, or private vendors? If private, what do you think of the vendor? Do they look like someone that might actually look after a car?

Saab versus Volvo - Comparing and buying - gordonbennet

Good point from Craig, don't underestimate the importance of judging the seller as much as the car.

Not an easy choice, the Saab will be far more economical but a £500 saving on fuel costs can easily be written off if the Diesel starts to play up.

Of the two i'd probably go for the Volvo, but the second i got it home would remove the rear brake disc/drums and carefully examine the parking brake shoes, they fall apart easily, any doubt replace them, but you will need some new hold down springs that keep the shoes in place, the old ones will be probably be doing nothing other than sitting there rattling.

Might be worth keeping your eyes open for an S60 Diesel instead, my sons 185hp version absolutely flies, feels more like a 220/240 the way it pulls, and even the way he drives it averages 45mpg on his work commute.

My little secret in used car buying is to look at the tyres wheels and brakes and be prepared to walk on this alone, decent set of reasonable quality (not necessarily premium make) tyres in good condition, straight undamaged clean wheels, decent brake discs showing and calipers with some paint still on them...there's a fair chance the car has been looked after properly.

Conversely, mismatched scabby ditchfinder tyres worn down at the edges with battered sidewalls, kerbstriked wheels with the dirt from thousands of miles ingrained permanently, scabby pitted worn out discs and calipers with years of untouched rust and gunge built's a dead cert that the bits you can't see have been even more neglected.

Edited by gordonbennet on 28/12/2014 at 20:07

Saab versus Volvo - Comparing and buying - Rodders44

Thanks guys for your advice! I think the Volvo has best service history and has been part exchanged back to a prestige car dealer who sold it previously. So I guess he wouldn't be selling it for a second time if it was knackered. It's also had a £300 service by Volvo in November. The point that Gordon Bennet made is a good one, saving £500 on fuel costs could be lost if diesel goes wrong. I am hearing more good about the Volvo, so going that way! Thanks again for all your advice and am picking it up some time this week. Keep you posted!!

Saab versus Volvo - Comparing and buying - Rodders44

I also meant to add, I asked Honest John and he has steered me away from the 1.9 diesel. So that combined with your advice, the Volvo it is!! Cheers guys.


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