Saab 9-3x – road tested and praised

Excuse me if I ramble on a bit here, but I’ve just had a moment.
You know, one of those times when the hazy thing you’ve had in you sub-conscious gets viewed through a different prism and all of a sudden it crystallises into something you can see a little more clearly. I just had one of those. About Saab.
It’s nothing groundbreaking, mind you. In fact you’ll probably laugh, but anyway…..
I drove a Saab 9-3x in Sweden for 3 or 4 days back in September this year. I wrote about it here and if you’ve seen that report (I was particularly proud of the photos that Dave and I managed to get) then you’ll know that I absolutely loved it.
Saab 9-3x
I’ve been thinking off and on about why I loved it like I did and whilst I concluded in my previous report that the car just made sense dressed up in the tough gear. There’s a little more to it than that now, which is the point of my moment.
The thing that made the 9-3x stand out for me is that it has purpose. It looks and acts like it was made for something. A task. A lifestyle. An attitude.
Saabs of yesteryear were characterised by the fact that were designed so very differently from their contemporaries. The hatchbacks. The interior layouts. The turbo. Front wheel drive. All were points of differentiation when they first arrived on the scene.
Whilst Saabs of today are great quality cars and objectively better in every measurable way, they are in essence sedans and wagons, just like the rest of the automotive marketplace. They are safer, built better, painted better, better equipped, they’re quicker and they handle better. But as good as they are, they don’t quite have the same points of difference as a Saab used to have (which is perfectly understandable due to the march of time, which tends to push all vehicles closer to one another as firms improve and take best-practice cues from one another).
The Saab 9-3x is a 9-3 SportCombi at its core, but all the dressups and equipment give it a degree of purpose that’s distinct from most of the automotive market. Yes, there’s Subaru and several other companies that have similar models out there, but SUV-without-being-a-SUV market segment is still a pretty small one.
The 9-3 Viggen had purpose. The 9-5 Aero has purpose. And so does the 9-3x. That march of time makes it difficult to have so many points of difference with other manufacturers, but every Saab should have purpose. It should be very deliberate in its design and construction. It should only be generic in the parts that you don’t see or touch.
Anyway, that’s my moment.
There’s a road test of the Saab 9-3x here and the guy testing it gives the Saab 4 out of 5 stars over all, including the full five stars in three separate categories.
See, I told you it was good.

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