The Saab 9-3 represents the company’s aim to compete through innovatively designed vehicles. Unlike its high end competitors such as the BMW, the Saab 9-3 has an understated elegance that adheres to the brand’s image and reputation. We see if its interior and exterior design elements work together to get ahead in the market.
There are several engine options for the Saab 9-3 saloon. First there’s the 1.8t-litre petrol engine at 150bhp that has a 9.0 seconds sprint time for 60mph. You can also opt for the 2.0-litre alternative at 175bhp that sprints to 60mph in just 7.4 seconds. We recommend getting the diesels over the petrol range: there’s the 1.9-litre engine at either 150bhp or 120bhp. Both are able to average a fuel economy at 50mpg. For the ultimate power, go for the 1.9TTiD that employs two turbochargers to run 180bhp.
Handling is commendable on all standard Saab 9-3. The vehicle rides smoothly over every type of road surface and assures passengers safety. If you want full features for the handling, go for the powerful Saab 9-3s that are able to achieve traction while accelerating on slippery road conditions. You can feel this difference as you turn the steering wheel.
Expect complete equipment on the original Vector, Linear, and Arc models. The Arc offers leather upholstery, headlamp washers, a CD stereo, 15-inch alloy wheels, and a leather steering wheel. The Linear offers headlamp washers and 15-inch alloy wheels, while the Vector offers supreme luxury in its colour-coded exterior body mouldings, leather/textile sports seats and sports steering wheel, plus a metal-look for its interior trim. The more recent Saab 9-3 range models are the Aero, Linear SE, Airflow, and Vector Sport trim levels. All these recent models feature the necessary airbags, a seven-speaker stereo system, front and rear electric windows, dual zone climate control, a complete information display, and an air conditioned glove box. For extra equipment, there’s the Vector Sport’s electronic stability programme, while the Aero has twin sports exhaust and heated front seats. Some Turbo models step up their game with a nine-speaker audio system that plays MP3s, cruise control, and dual-zone climate control.
The default engine is a 1.8-litre petrol but t’s rather sluggish next to the more advanced options. Another smarter option is the 2.8-litreV6 at 255bhp; its power impresses but fuel economy is unimpressive at 28mpg.
Although the 9-3’s handling is smooth, steering can be slow and the diesel engines tend to feel heavy when going into corners. Serious car enthusiasts will see the difference next to smoother performers; you could get the Sporty Aero variation for the firmer suspension and low profile tyres, but that’s added expense if you’re just after the entry level or basic version. Lower powered models do not share the same ability of models like the Aero in driving through rough surfaces along UK roads. Thankfully the lower powered models also feature an automatic gearbox.
Although the Saab 9-3 varies according to the trim or variation, each car is able to deliver where it matters. All you have to do is choose according to feature and the needs you’re after as a driver.
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