in 2011 Upscale Small Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $12,614 - $20,041
Original MSRP: $28,900 - $45,080
MPG: 21 City / 31 Hwy
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2011 Saab 9-3 Interior

This interior review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

The automotive press isn’t impressed with the 2011 Saab 9-3’s interior. The sedan and convertible designs create several blind spots, and the rear seats are cramped for adults. It also lacks standard features that shoppers want at this price point. For example, Bluetooth and satellite radio are optional. 

When reviewers look at the 9-3’s interior as a whole, they’re disappointed, and say its build quality and amenities can’t match what the competition offers. But, the 9-3 does excel in one area: available cargo space. 

  • "Interior materials are assembled with care, but the overall ambiance is more tasteful, sporty simplicity rather than luxurious. Not all cabin plastics have the texturing and tactile feel that match class pacesetters." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Subpar cabin materials and build quality." -- Edmunds
  • "Dull interior." -- Motor Trend


The 2011 9-3 comes with leather seats which is expected in this class, but if you’re after a comfortable sedan, look elsewhere. The Saab 9-3 does not have the most comfortable seats. Driver and front passenger comfort is good: The seats are supportive, and the tilt and telescopic steering wheel helps the driver find a comfortable position. However, the sedan has thick roof pillars that hamper rear visibility, and when the convertible top is up, there are several blind spots. You can remedy these blind spots by adding parking assist, which is a part of the Premium package, but it is only available on the Aero trim.

In the back seat, there’s plenty of head room, but adults won’t have much leg space.

  • "Supportive front seats." -- Edmunds
  • "Comfortable seats provide good all-around support. The tallest drivers will want the steering wheel to tilt higher and may wish for more rearward seat travel. The sedan has thick roof pillars, which obscure visibility. When raised, the convertible's top creates large blind spots." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "Backseat headroom and toe space are abundant, but legroom suffers if the front seat is adjusted rearward. The center occupant must endure a high, hard perch and straddle a tall floor hump." -- Cars.com

Interior Features

As a Swedish car, you probably expect the Saab 9-3 to have a high quality interior that matches its price tag. Test drivers say this isn’t the case. The 9-3’s level of fit and finish is subpar compared with the Audi A3 and Volkswagen GTI, and the 9-3’s interior features list lacks amenities the competition offers. For example, there is no iPod interface and Bluetooth is not standard.

The 2011 Saab 9-3 comes standard with steering-wheel mounted audio controls, Saab Infotainment – an AM/FM stereo with MP3 playback capabilities – wood trim, automatic climate control, a power adjustable driver’s seat and a leather steering wheel.

To get heated front seats, a power adjustable passenger’s seat, OnStar, Bluetooth, a Bose Surround stereo system, navigation or XM radio you have to upgrade to the Areo trim or add a package to the base model. For example, Bluetooth and OnStar are available on the base model for about $750. 

  • "Audio and climate controls are intuitive and easy to operate. All 9-3s have their ignition switch on the center console -- a Saab tradition we find unobjectionable. The available navigation system absorbs audio controls, complicating what should be simple adjustments." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Its interior is a significant step below its competitors, and it lacks many of the electronic features that have become de rigueur the past few years. There is no iPod interface, for instance, and Bluetooth is bundled with optional OnStar telematics. Despite standard leather upholstery and wood trim, the 9-3 simply doesn't feel like the luxury car its price implies." -- Edmunds


The automotive press appreciates the amount of cargo room available in this lineup. The sedan has 16.3 cubic feet of trunk space, and reviewers say the trunk is tall, which means you can pack more inside. Naturally, the convertible doesn’t have as much space as the sedan, but it offers a maximum of 12.4 cubic feet when the top is up, and 8.3 when the top is down.

  • "Sedans have a tall trunk with considerable volume. All have plenty of interior storage space. The convertible has a 12.4-cubic-foot trunk, which is among the largest of any ragtop; it shrinks to 8.3 cubic feet when the top is stowed." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "Cargo space is appealing." -- Cars.com