Small Saab vs Volvo C30

The Volvo C30 is one the cars I’m most curious about and am yet to drive. I reckon it looks fantastically cool, but particularly un-Swedish with it’s lack of practicality. I’ll get around to driving a C30 one of these days.
One of our regulars, Till72, had some wheel time in the C30 recently and he used that opportunity to put some considered thoughts about a possible future small Saab on paper.
My thanks to Till for sending them through……

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While my 9-5 SC recieved a service and spring cleaning at my dealer I got a C30 as a loaner. It was quite interesting because I thought about getting one for my wife when we ended up with the Impreza some years ago. This was the first chance I had to drive one. While I had it for two days I took a bit of a closer look at the car with regard to what I’d expect from a future Saab 92.
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I got a pretty much base 1,6 D model. The engine is nice and the 109 hp are enough to move the car, even a bit sporty if you push it. No real turbo lag and though I didn’t find a consumption display the 5,7 litre/100 km Volvo lists for city driving seems feasible after re-filling the car. Saab, it might be good to have such a small diesel engine for the European market. It might even fit a 9-3.
First thing when I get a loaner is fitting my child seat. And right then I remembered that Isofix-joints are an option with Volvo. I have to admit that I find this a bit lame for a manufacturer who claims to build some of the safest cars in the world. Saab, please keep installing them as standard.
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Getting into a small car is always interesting for me as I’m quite tall (1,98 m). Seat position is too high, maybe sport seats would do a better job. And what I felt is that the driver space is extremely narrow and due to that, not too comfortable. (I won’t start talking about the usability of the back seat behind me.) The C30 really feels like a small car. Our Impreza (which is 15 cm longer but with a 2cm shorter wheelbase) had a much roomier feel. Saab, please make a small car usable for taller drivers, too. Well I think you will since Victor isn’t too small, either.
The button dash consists of lots of small buttons side by side with the climate control hidden behind the stick. Looks nice but hard to use (won’t even think about using them with gloves). Looks like Volvo got lost in design with that. Saab, I know you got better solutions. Bring’em on.
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One thing I like is that there are two seperate back seats. You wouldn’t want to sit three there (not even children) since it’s really narrow so I like that style. Saab, maybe waste a thought about that.
The trunk…the size is ok but the back door is so narrow that you have a hard time getting a baby buggy in, for example. It would fit, but you end up folding down the back seats just to navigate it in. The back looks nice but it’s far from being practical. Saab, please give the 92 a proper hatch.
Those two days reminded me why I chose Saab ten years ago when looking at the two Swedish brands. And it showed me that it was a good move to get the Impreza back when we needed a small car. And I’m really looking forward to Saabs interpretation of a small car.

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