The Four-Seasons Saab Convertible – Part 5

In one of the previous 4-seasons Convertible posts, the following was asked….

I am confused. Being new to the Saab world (bought a 2008 9-5 cpo ss) I am curious what the fuss is all about a 4 seasons saab converible? Couldn’t any convertible on the market with fwd and heated seats brave four seasons?

Theoretically, I suppose another FWD convertible with heated seats could actually provide adequate passage through a snowy winter. But there are a few things that Saab people love about Saab convertibles (even if they’re like me, and don’t own one but just like to know they’re there).

First – they’re not just adequate in snowy conditions. They’re designed in a country that designs everything to withstand and even flourish in a snowy winter. Saab convertibles are as liveable in winter as they are in summer.

Second – it’s not just the heated seats, it’s the whole toasty warm HVAC system. Most companies have good heating nowadays, but when the 900 Convertible came out back in the mid-80’s, there could be a huge disparity between the ability of different HVAC systems to heat a closed cabin, much less a convertible with the roof off.

Third – The great thing about the Saab convertible lineage is that it’s always been a true four-seasons and four-seater convertible. For a long time, the only convertibles you could drive in a mildly sporty way were two-seat roadsters with almost no luggage space (hello MG and later, the Mazda Miata/MX-5). The only 4-seat convertibles were big barges. When the Saab 900 Convertible came along, it was smart looking, stylish, comfortable for two and very manageable for four, great to drive and as safe as a roof-less car could get.

That lineage continues, which is why Saab Convertible owners today are still happy to drive their drop-tops in winter just like in any other season.


Some of the winter convertibles sent in over the last few days……

From Barry P…..

“This car truly is a car for all weather and climates! 🙂

Alexandros has a 2007 model convertible, which should really have had the top down in the glorious first photo 🙂

Alexandros’ car also saw some action in the Frankfurt Saab Support Convoy….

SVX92 has a very smart looking 9-3, along with a couple of very smart looking dogs (Aczar and Ayden).

A word for convertible owners, and for Saab….

anyone who doesn’t have a wind screen (i.e. at the rear of the front seats) needs to invest in one.

If they cant find a way to design one into the next 9-3 (a la Mercedes E-class) then I hope (are you listening, SAAB?) they design a false bottom in the floor of the trunk for the collapsed windscreen to rest without interfering in luggage space as presently is the case


More convertibles later in the week!

Thanks to everyone who’s sent in photos, thoughts and stories about their winter convertible experiences.

12 thoughts on “The Four-Seasons Saab Convertible – Part 5”

  1. Most companies have good heating nowadays

    Well, Swade – I politely disagree. OK, this is just an opinion, and I may get flamed for it. But I contend that Japanese cars still have not figured out how to make a HVAC that can keep the windshield defrosted and the compartment toasty under severe winter conditions.
    None of my previously owned Mazdas (could), Toyotas (could) or Subarus (can) match the system in my previous two Saab 900’s (1984 and 1985) or my 1999 9-3. And my Mazdas had heated seats! Even the 1979 626 (in Sweden)…
    By the time I can turn my Saab heater down to “half” and turn down the fan speed, the Subaru is still trying to keep up at “full”. Likewise in the Toyotas and Mazdas, it had to be a mild winter day for the heat to be on at less than “full”.

      • .. but I never left completely!
        The -99 9-3 is just barely broken in (@163k miles) and I have my eyes on a 9-5 wagon to add later this year. Then our daughter will take the 9-3, she’s already hooked on Saabs…

  2. The classic 900s had (have) the most amazing cabin heater. No car, before or since, has a cabin heater that got as hot as quickly. The cabin heat just felt *right* – it remains one of my favorite things about the c900.

    The classic 900 convertible shared the HVAC with its sedan and hatch siblings, of course. Truly awesome in the winter.

  3. I knew something was wrong with the heat in my 94 cv when I could drive all the way home from work with the heat on high. A new thermostat solved the problem, and now 4 minutes into the drive I am turning the heat knob down to 7 o’clock and enjoying the toasty warm cabin.

  4. Hi all
    I have a 09 1.9 Ttid diesel Aero convertible. apart from the cheap interior plastics and having had the sticking exhaust valves during DPF regeneration (now sorted under warranty) the major thing that bug’s me is that the diesels take ages to warm up to defrost and demist the car in the morning.
    Such a shame that the 1.9 diesels dont come with an engine pre heater like my friends old 2.2 Litre 9-3 coupe did.
    Other than that it’s a great car and the heater is very good when warm.

    • Paul, the Park Heater is still available (standard in some countries with the 1.9 TTiD). Shouldn’t cost “too much?” have it installed afterward at the Saab Dealer.

  5. “SVX92 has a very smart looking 9-3, along with a couple of very smart looking dogs (Aczar and Ayden).”

    made my day 🙂
    That’s such a nice picture!!

  6. It’s not just the HVAC, as good as it is. Saabs are also designed to handle well in less-than-perfect conditions, survive the occasional pothole and bumpy road, have enough ground clearance not to get beached on a snowdrift, and have a much higher level of corrosion resistance compared to almost all other convertibles.
    It’s a well known fact here in Canada that driving an MX-5 (Miata) through a single winter will halve its resale value. You just need to take a peek underneath to see that all of the body seams and fasteners are covered in corrosion, and every plastic below the bumper line is ripped to shreds.
    On top of that, losing the rear end at every corner gets real old real fast, never mind being unable to make it up the slightest incline, or to get going from a stop light.

  7. My Ovlov V50 adventure finally ended today and I’m back in my old trusty 9000.

    The Ovlov’s HVAC had good heating capability, but it was easily confused. After some hours it blew cold air in my face, and eventually it got a bit too cold, so I bumped the temperature up from 24 to 27. This only resulted in it blowing even MORE cold air into my face…

    That the Ovlov also failed to gain traction in 5 cm snow yesterday was just icing on the cake.

  8. I was driving from Portland, ME to Boston this morning and saw no less then 4 Saab cabriolets all 9-3’s on the highway and it was glorious…

  9. Thank you, Mellechmann. Ayden was mybirthday present in June. You should c both dogs crouching in the backseat under the wind defuser.
    As practical as my vert is, in late June we bought a 9-7x aero for my wife to haul the dogs w ease. We looked for a turbo x combi -no luck- and couldn’t pass up the price on the 9-7x …yes 90% GM parts bin and 10% SAAB And leave it to Denise to give me a gift that results in her getting to go shopping for herself! LoL

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