NG9-3 Hatchback Confirmed

Autoblog are at the 2011 Saab 9-4X launch event and they’ve been talking to Magnus Hillerborn, Saab’s Vehicle Validation Engineer. They are now reporting that a a five-door hatch is confirmed alongside the convertible.

The changes are so significant that Hillerborn says he imagines GM executives will be “very surprised” when they see the production car, which is tipped to take design cues from the PhoeniX concept car that debuted earlier this month at the Geneva Motor Show. Hillerborn says that the hatchback will likely be five-door only (presumably a SportCombi wagon variant will follow), though we imagine there are some three-door renderings knocking about in Trollhattan. Hillerborn promises a very sleek and unique hatchback, one that should appeal to traditional sedan buyers as well (read: not bulbous and overtly hatch-like, but more streamlined).

There’s no word on a 3 door hatch or a sedan at the moment, feel free to head over to Autoblog for a read:

With all this speculation, we’re curious as to what everyone here would be interested in purchasing. Sound off in the poll below.

What 9-3 variant would you like to buy most?
5-door hatchback
3-door hatchback
5-door 9-3x
3-door 9-3x
4-door Sedan
2-door Coupe


46 thoughts on “NG9-3 Hatchback Confirmed”

    • I do agree. Let the 9-5 be the big brother, while the 9-3 will be the more indivudal little sister that does loops around the competitors.. 😉

  1. I believe I’ve heard from some previous .leaks’ around the Geneva show that three body styles of the ng 9-3 has been signed off. One was a convertible, one was a hatch/ CombiCoupe and the third unknown. I guessed that the hatch/CombiCoupe was a three-door and that the unknown was a SportCombi type.But this story tells that the hatch is a five-door and to me it then doesn’t make much . sense to make a SportCombi. Wonder what they’re planning? Though I’m not a big fan of Sedans, I know these are the most preferred on many market so it may be a sedan, timewill tell.

    Anyhow, isn’t it fantastic to see the speed of development at Saab, just think about it…. The ng 9-3 hasn’t been on the sketch-board for a year yet (including a new platform, new engines, eXWD, transmissions, iqon etc) and in roughly a year we will see the result.

    With all respect to peoplehere who are eager to see things happening. Making all this within 2 – 2.5 years! I don’t think i’ve heard of any faster product development in the automotive world ever.

    • Fiat builds new cars in 18 months now, and most automakers target this lead time. The news is not the the lead time, but the limited resources and adversity Saab had to face, and the amount of all-new technology that goes into the car.

      • @ Bravada – Agreed 110%!

        On the subject of no sedan, I hope they offer one. The segment likes sedans and 5 door hatches. The Insignia, for example is not sold as a hatch in Portugal whle in Spain the hatch is quite popular. I hope SAAB makes the NG 9-3 in sedan, wagon and 5-door hatch variants. However (and sadly), I don’t think a 3-door hatch would sell that well.

  2. Surely there has to be a 3 door hatch, if you spend the money to develop tooling for a convertible, then you amortise these costs by reusing te doors etc on a 3 door hardtop. It is the thing I could never work out withthe current 9-3. GM cut their nose off to spite their face in not being cost effective. OK if they didn’t approve of a 5 door hatch because it wasn’t prestige enough, but to spend the dough on long doors etc for a convert and not make a 3 door was madness.

  3. The best car I ever had was my 3 door 900 se hatch…it was highly utilitarian yet retained a sporting character due to 3 door set up … I was so excited to trade in my aero ss for the new hatch, but 5 door is a non-starter…Ill stick with what I have if that turns out to be true. There are a ton of car makers picking up where Saab left of with new 3 door offerings, so hopefully this new re-emergent popularity will get through to someone in Trollhattan. If I wanted five doors Id go ahead and buy a 9-3 or 9-5 sportcombi. Deep breath! I need to remember these are just rumors at this point.

  4. I still hope the 9-3 3 door hatch happens too. It’s what I’m hanging out to replace my 99 3 door hatch (Monte Carlo) with. I personally think Saab would be better served to build the 5 door hatch as a “twin door” car that would satisfy both sedan and five door hatch buyers with one body style. Supposedly Saab devised the “twin door” concept but then abandoned it (probably a bit too ‘Saaby’ for conservative GM at the time?).

    Anyway, rather than merely build a 3 door hatch variant, the 3 door should version should be slightly more a sports coupe than has been in the past, but still highly practical. I’d be happy to sacrifice about 5-10% of the five doors carrying space for a bit of real coupe style.

    Saab definitely bring back the hatch, but please don’t forget us 3 door buyers. I’ve never owned a Saab with more than 3 doors and I really don’t plan to.

    • P.S. Saab if you you can make the new 3 door coupe available in yellow like my 1999 9-3 Monte Carlo, I’ll be really happy!

  5. I’m so excited to buy a NG9-3 (or whatever it’ll be named).

    And now for leaks of early drawings, photoshops, anything, I need my fix!! Gogogogo!

  6. I voted for the 3 door hatch, but a 3 door 9-3X would be interesting. Maybe the 9-3X crossover coupe idea could still live?

    • That’s why I put it on the list. No one’s mentioned it in a while, but seeing that Audi and BMW are rumored to be releasing a Q3/4 and X2/4 soon, I thought it might be interesting to judge its reception.

      • If there’s a market for something as crazy as a Nissan Juke, there MUST be a market for a 9-3x 3door coupe crossover. Right? People will by some silly combinations of cars (read: crossovers) these days!

  7. Why would there be a Combi in addition to a hatch model? That seems very unlikely to me.

    Hearing the rumored “900” name, it occurs to me that the old 900 was a “signature” model for Saab. It was a unique package, profile and did a unique job. If Saab repeats this, they can again have an auto segment all to themselves. The 1.6 liter powertrain suggests a very restrained but still stylish hatch vehicle that will have the best fuel economy of any midsize European car sold in the US. It could also have high style and comfort. Since the 80s-90s, the USA has come to love SUVs, then Crossovers, and now sedan-hatch is one further logical step. In any case, Saab owns that and has a strong heritage there.

  8. I hope there is a sedan, mainly because I think Saab needs a model that is in the exact same fight as a 3 series.

  9. I am not interested in small low class car. but if i pick one it would definitely 2 door coupe

  10. Saab needs volume, and I am sure a 5-door hatch will sell a lot better than a 3-door. 3-door is not a family car and feels a bit out-of-order these days. Especially if it will take time before a Combi arrive. Perhaps Saab will continue with the current 9-3 some time in parallell though…

    • I don’t think any of us that are promoting a 3 door coupe option are saying there shouldn’t be a 5 door car. If it was the case that Saab could only build one or the other body style, I guess the 5 door would have to win out as it will likely sell in a larger volume. Hopefully there won’t be that restriction, because many of us here would just like the choice again that Saab once gave us with the 99, C900, NG900 and the OG9-3.

  11. Personally I hope that there will be a 3 door. I have had a 99CC, an OG 900 and a NG 900 . All in 3 door hatchback-versions. The 3 doors-versions of those cars are way better looking then the 5-doors. At the same time the are lighter and stiffer.

  12. I had both an NG 900 and OG 9-3 3-door coupe. Nevertheless I vote for a 5 door hatchback, as it is more practical for the family. There are ways to make the 5 door look nice or like a 3 door. (Examples are the EU Honda Civic, Alfa 147 or Giuiletta etc.) If the body and doors look like the current 9-5, it would be fine.

    IMHO, a sport combi is not needed if the hatchback is well designed. (The OG 9-3 had more space for luggage than the current 9-3SC.)

    • I disagree with your last sentence Nils. The SC is bigger. Not by much, but significant I would say, especially if you consider the full height. I measured my fathers SC against mine side by side. This was one of the reasons why I traded my OG 9-3 for a NG 9-3 SC.

      • Well, according to the VDA measurement method, the OG 9-3 boot is 493 litres and the 9-3 SC 477. Seats down, the OG also wins. In practice, the OG 9-3 could swallow a lot of stuff, but there will be some cases when transporting boxy furniture where the SC shape is more suitable. Personally I prefer a hatchback, as it is more streamlined, looks nicer and the rear window does not get dirty.

        • Interesting. Do they really count the volume underneath the floor? Anyway, I know what I think 🙂 The OG swallows a lot of stuff but in my opinion less than the SC. And it’s not only when transporting boxy furniture that the extra full height is usable, especially if you have people in the backseat.

          Despite this, I personally think that a well designed hatch could be enough. I have read in AMS (true or not) that the new hatch will be steeper than the OG 9-3.

  13. I voted for the sportcombi – really like this concept which is positioned between hatch and combi. Personally I hope that they will develop four basic bodystyles – hatch, sportcombi and sedan plus the convertible. I also hope that even the hatch will be available as a somewhat sportier 3-door variant.

    The costs might be not that high after all. Maybe the bodyshapes of hatch and sedan will be more similar than we imagine now. Remember the old VW Passat where the sedan basically had the same bodyshape as the hatch. There are current examples for such a strategy too.

    And the convertible can be more closely based on either the sedan or the hatch. The OG 900 convertible was based on the sedan, as well as the NG 900 convertible was based on the hatch. It is only the NG 9-3 convertible that has a bodyshape very different from the other available bodyshapes.

    • How would you define a sportcombi? You refer to it as somewhere between a hatch and a combi. I thought a sportcombi was simply a combi, with the “sport” just an affectation, like in “sport sedan”? OK, maybe the “sport” tag requires a little better road-holding and the like than your average Toyota Prius, but I didn’t know that it went beyond that?

  14. JC has already confirmed (during one of the Q&A-videos from Geneva, which was linked to from SU) that there will be a hatch, but no sedan.

      In that video JC confirms there will be a hatchback and a convertible. And, as Peter said, NO sedan (JC quote: “there will NOT be a 9-3 sedan”). Not making the combi would be suicide in Sweden, so I’m counting on that. And as we understood the 5-door hatchback will be very sleek, to appeal to sedan-buyers as well. It won’t probably be as roomy as the classic 900, and hence the need for a combi. JC adds that he wants at least 2 more body styles. I suppose those could be a sporty “PhoeniX” type, or a 3-dor hatch, a crossover? IMHO ditching the sedan is the right way to go, if they succeed in making the hatchback sleek as for example the audi A5 hatch. Who would buy a similar sized sedan from Audi when the A5 hatch looks 10 times as good? Hopefully Saab pulls this off! 🙂

  15. I love my NG900SE 3-door and I think it’s the most practical car on the road still today. The best cars ever built were the OG900’s (my daily driver). As much as I like the sporty look of a 3-door, I need to stand by Saab’s needs for volume. They will sell more 5-doors than 3-doors. Someone mentioned them “making a convertible so why not a 3-door?” but I think there is a LOT of work involved in making a 3-door out of a convertible. Convertible’s have a ton of structural work that cars with roofs don’t need. It’s just not easy to piece together a 5-door and a convertible and make a 3-door (as much as I’d love one). Anyway, I think the market requires them to make a sedan and convertible, and I guess the 5-door hatch is the next one. Who knows, a 3-door may follow in the next year or two.

    I’ve been waiting for the day I buy my first brand new car since I was probably 12 years old. I think that day will be just a few years from now, and that car will be a brand new Saab hatchback. This is like a dream come true to me 🙂

  16. I’d be looking at the success of the Nissan Juke.

    $20K for a 1.6 Turbo AWD vehicle that is styled, well, different.

    Is there a market for a Juke + — a 30K, nice leather, slightly more adult turbo fun car.

    Yes, that is where SAAB used to be.

    • Saw a nissan juke on the way home today..only the rear looked ok. It really seemed like it was trying to be too many things… it really invoked that “what were they thinking” response but perhaps I needed a better look.

      • blech

        Juke fall into the same group as the Scion xB, Pontiac Aztek and Kia Soul….. blech

  17. Exciting news indeed. I would prefer a 3 door hatch (heart) since I too like the sporty look and long doors but Saab have to really offer the 5 door first to ramp up “everyman” sales before maybe adding in the 3 door details for the more descerning saabisi requiring the “pure breed” -if it makes the difference between profit and loss then I voted for the 5 door (head).

    The sedan? I really don’t care-it was never the space should have played in in my view how it became the only offering on the 9-3 for a while baffles me to this day.

    It is amazing the think a year ago they were near death and in a years time (I simply have to wait till then) I will be in line for my new 9-3 hatch and I will trade in my mint condition eleven year old 9-3 Aero that served me so well.Hell maybe I will keep her just becasue I can…

  18. I am betting there will be a 5-door hatchback that is midway between a sedan and a combi (wagon) in profile, a convertible, and a coupe-styled 2-door sedan that has all its body panels below the belt line in common with the convertible.

  19. Not being the party pooper here or anything, but i think some people here are really “living in the past”.
    The 900 was a great car, ok we get it already. But we shouldnt have comment after comment after comment of “i want it to be like my 1987 900 (enter trim designation here). That car died 30 years ago and trying to revive a classic, even in good spirit, would be a serious mistake.

    Of course others have done it, Volkswagen Beetle, Fiat 500, MINI Cooper…and the 900 was just as iconic as those…but to showcase new Saab tech in a car that will appeal to an entirely new generation of younger people is what Saab is (and should) be focusing on. Not trying to reach back into history and remake a classic car.

    Paying tribute in some select areas would be very nice in my opinion, but keep it progressive, modern, funky, new.

    just my 2 cent. and like i said, not trying to be the party pooper, just trying to let some people understand that the younger relatively recent college grad population is what Saab should be aiming for with this vehicle. people who want something different. people in their 20’s and 30’s and some 40’s thrown in for good measure. So my question is this: what do those people like? Hatches are in (3&5 door), Wagons for Euro, convertibles obviously, and for americans SEDANS. If you think Saab’s US sales will recover thanks to a 9-3 hatch, then you are SADLY mistaken. Sure, they will sell good, but not anywhere NEAR sedan levels.

    ive said it before in another post a while ago, compare 9-3 sales from 99-2002 to the 9-3 SS sales in the united states. enough said. This was one of the few decisions GM made correctly from a sales point of view. However leaving Saab with no hatch at all was their biggest mistake…its a fine line…

    Hopefully Saab makes the right decision and thinks on a global scale as well as what will work best in their BIGGEST MARKET.

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