It’s 00:49 and the clock has turned to monday, I got back home from Trollhättan about an hour ago after a nice weekend with a lovely car!
As for first impressions: I’d say that this car is a good continuation on what the 9-3 always has been: a nice, easy to drive, good quality, medium size, overall fun car.
Its a good base and at the moment: it serves as a very good ambassador for Saab. It feels up to date design wise with other cars on the market. Its a car that a driver can be proud of and I found that many people, especially Saab drivers looked at the car and right away realized that there was something different about this car.
The “Griffin” face lift which NEVS largely use in its first version of the 9-3 was a very good one, its subtile, distinctive, good looking and makes the somewhat old 9-3 look new.
Interior of this car is nice, I have to admit that I was, just like many others, skeptical towards the new seats when I first saw them in photos, but in real life they are very comfortable indeed. I found myself seated very well in this car and it didn’t take long for me to feel right at home in them. The other upgrades borrowed from the Griffin is the dashboard and its really good looking, its just what the 9-3 needed. Even so I’d like to get an even more upgraded interior with leather door handles and something to replace those boring silver painted plastic trim-parts on the doors and around the gear shifter. After discussing the issue with some others who drove the car, just a change in color would do, for example paint the parts in the piano black version which the 9-5 Griffin had.
Right now, the car is a bit of a technology-paradox, I feel that more technology is desirable. It has turning headlights, really nice new LED fog lights, nice new seats with electric controls but no memory?, a pretty good stereo and good speaker system but sadly no navigation option and limited connections to devices. There is space in the center console for a USB-port but right now only a plastic lid is found in there. Engine wise its good but if you want to be environmental friendly like NEVS is saying that they are, they need to do something that Saab is perhaps most known for in Sweden: offer a BioPower variant. It wont take a lot to bring this car from a compromise to a real front row competitor among Saab fans when they are looking for a new car. And Saab fans are looking for new cars to drive, this car is the one they want, but I think that most drivers still feel that its a compromise due to its lack of technology, and its a compromise they are not really comfortable with… yet…
NEVS states that the “Fun to drive, is back” and they are absolutely right about that, this car is a lot of fun to drive. This really is a great car and its a good starting point for NEVS, with just a few improvements, it can become so much more, the first thing NEVS should do in order to improve it: put on the beautiful rear spoiler on the trunk that the Griffin had! =)
In total we managed to squeeze in test-drives from 8 different people for this car this weekend and the reactions were mixed but overall positive. I’ve tried to sum up the things I heard from various people and included my own impressions into 6 grades:
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