Friday, November 28, 2008

The New Saab 9-3

It’s no secret that I’m no fan of GM’s mismanagement of the Saab brand, but I have to admit they “might” be on the path to turning things around with the latest iteration of the 9-3 Sedan. I was walking through Ballard yesterday (a hipster neighborhood of Seattle, they granted me a one day pass for the day), and passed by Carter Saab and was surprised by the styling of the new 9-3.

The 9-3 comes in a couple of variants most notably a 280 HP, AWD model that appears to be the bona-fide sport sedan many Saab fans have been waiting for. The dealership didn’t have the 280 HP model available so I was only able to test drive a 4-cyclinder 210 HP model, the model came with practically every feature except for Navigation and had a sticker price of around $35k.

In the past I’ve test driven Saab’s before and have been rather disappointed with the whole experience, it’s not that they’re bad cars per se it’s that you can easily purchase something better for a lot less and the cars in its actual price range are usually a lot better. So when I went on the test drive I wasn’t expecting much and was pleasantly surprised when I found myself thoroughly enjoying driving the car. Around on town and on some twisty roads the car handled like an actual sport sedan (for once), and despite being FWD it didn’t have that “heavy nose” feeling like a FWD Audi or the Infinity “G” cars.

Last weekend I was running errands in a 9-3 hatchback (the trunk of my BMW is tiny) and found myself sorely missing my BMW the entire time, if I were in this car last weekend I would’ve just driven it and enjoyed it for what it was: not my BMW but a lot of fun just the same .

Despite the improvements to the driving experience the interior still needs a lot of work before it’s up to the standard of its German competitors, however I’d rate its interior as better than the Infiniti G37 Sedan and Coupe whose interiors scream “Nissan ”.

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