different in price, mpg, engines, safety, cargo capacity and other specs. For me, not great difference. Pretty similar to the Honda Accord 2020, but better handling, more pickup, and overall more comfortable.
Lots of body and safety upgrades on the 9-3 SE. The 1999 9-3 SE is still my favorite outright. It offers the additional safety in combination with the better engine...(stronger pistons, connecting rods, etc..). The later 9-3 SE...2000, 2001 and 2002 had weaker engine internals.