Reader’s thoughts: driving the Saab 9-3 2.0T XWD

I got this one through via email and initially I was a bit concerned about publishing it as it’s not all positive (though mostly).

But this place is supposed to be one that shows neither fear nor favour, so here we are. I’m willing and hoping to believe the suggestion that the problems Stingray encountered were particular to the test vehicle he was given. If you’ve got a 2.0T with XWD then perhaps your thoughts as an owner would be worth committing to ‘paper’ and sending in for a fuller perspective.

Personally, I’d love to give one of these a try. The 2.0T is one of my favourite engines and the XWD system is, even by Stingray’s evaluation, a cracker.

So here were go. My thanks to Stingray for sending in the following…..


Driving thoughts, 2009 Saab Sport Combi 2.0 XWD.

A week ago I was in contact with the salesman who recently sold me my first Saab, a CPO 2006 SportCombi Aero… A car I enjoy “flying” very much. I was eager to try out another Saab they had on the lot, a 2008 TurboX! This could be my only chance to drive a TurboX so I was making arrangements to take it for a drive when he mentioned they had just got in a 2009 XWD Combi… I was shocked as I didn’t think they had hit the states just yet… so off to the Saab dealer I went. Keep in mind, I am a aircraft mechanic and a car enthusiast, in no way a professional driver or writer!


My first impression was mild as it was a creamy white color that seemed like it needed something… maybe more metallic, maybe more pearl effect… there was just a lot of white. It looked like any other Combi, except for the little XWD badge on the deck lid.

Sitting inside I felt at home in that Comfy Saab Seat that I just recently learned to appreciate… the dash arrangement was a little different from my 06, but still familiar. The brushed stainless look from my Aero was replaced with wood grain and the steering wheel had some perforated leather like material that I did not like.

I turned the car on and right away noticed the “buzzy” little 4 cylinder…. vibrations to the steering wheel…. Terrible. As I pulled out of the parking lot, right away I noticed “this is no V6”. The engine was peppy…. but not earth shattering. Still, it took my commands and responded with zest!

Driving the XWD was a dream, it took the 90 degree and “S” turns effortlessly….. it rode every bit as nice as my Aero… but I felt like I was riding higher….. I think the XWD is 30mm higher than the standard combi. Let me just say, this thing grips! The XWD grabbed hold of the road and would not let go.

On the open highway, the XWD got up to speed and cruised as if we were at 30,000 feet with no turbulence. I would imagine that this car would be great in the winter driving season here in the North Eastern United States. Overall a very nice car, but the engine at idle had a terrible vibration that transferred to the steering wheel, which shook like a bunch of drunk girls in a disco. I mentioned that the tech should take a look and see if something was amiss.

I wish I could see it with a V6 and some more aggressive looks for the XWD……like all the press photos from Geneva. If it had been a V6, and in Red, it would be in my driveway….. no.. it would be parked in my “hangar”, after all they are “Born from Jets”
74 Stingray

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